Ajax’s stock continues to rise, despite player losses

AJAX’s renaissance last season was always going to be short-lived as Europe’s big clubs were waiting in the wings for their chance to pounce on the best players. Those hung up on presentism expressed their surprise that a team from the Netherlands could compete with the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, even though the Dutch have provided more European champion clubs than Spain and … Continue reading Ajax’s stock continues to rise, despite player losses

Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

WHEN England crashed out of the 1974 World Cup in the qualifying tournament, considered a major shock at the time, Poland, their conquerors, were seen as also-rans, a relative minnow that had audaciously knocked-out the 1966 champions. Yet if the British media had been as informed as they thought they were, it would have realised that this game, which ended 1-1, was almost as significant … Continue reading Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

European attendances – symptomatic of a superficial age

FREE MOVEMENT of people is one of the basic rights across the European Union, allowing cross-border travel and employment opportunities. It has many benefits, some of which will become apparent to the United Kingdom’s population when the country does stumble uncomfortably out of the EU. While this has opened-up the world, or at least part of it, to young football fans and businesses, it has … Continue reading European attendances – symptomatic of a superficial age

Ruud Geels – tradesman of the penalty area

HE MAY have been blonde and an Ajax player, but Ruud Geels is rarely mentioned in conversations when the great Dutch masters are discussed. Could it be that he was prematurely balding in a time when long, flowing hair was de rigeur, or the fact he was overshadowed by more celebrated players. Or perhaps it was because he never moved out of the Benelux region. More likely … Continue reading Ruud Geels – tradesman of the penalty area

Great Reputations: Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

WHEN England crashed out of the 1974 World Cup in the qualifying tournament, considered a major shock at the time, Poland, their conquerors, were seen as also-rans, a relative minnow that had audaciously knocked-out the 1966 champions. Yet if the British media had been as informed as they thought they were, it would have realised that this game, which ended 1-1, was almost as significant … Continue reading Great Reputations: Poland 1972-1974 – the World Cup’s lost champions

Soccer City: Amsterdam – in need of a second club?

YOU take the 24 tram out of the city centre and head for the Olimpisch Stadion, an impressive structure that is partially out of sight due to building work. Circumnavigate the stadium that was the result of an architectural movement called the Amsterdamse School, and you’ll come across a statue. You have to be convinced that this fairly anaemic representation is in fact Johan Cruyff … Continue reading Soccer City: Amsterdam – in need of a second club?

The Rotterdam renaissance

  WHISPER IT QUIETLY, but Feyenoord could be ending an 18-year wait for the Dutch league title. A 2-1 win against PSV Eindhoven, champions for the past two years, has positioned them well to end one of the most barren spells in their history. Feyenoord are five points clear of second-placed Ajax – the two bitter rivals meet on April 2 in Amsterdam –  and … Continue reading The Rotterdam renaissance

Piet Keizer – until Cruyff, he was the man

IT IS always sad to hear of the passing of a football great and Piet Keizer’s death is a reminder that the heroes of a golden era are gradually leaving the playing field of life. Keizer didn’t really figure in World Cup 1974, having played in just one of the Netherlands’ seven games in West Germany, a goalless draw with Sweden in Dortmund. In fact, … Continue reading Piet Keizer – until Cruyff, he was the man

The Dutch case is compelling

OUTSIDE the so-called “big five” leagues (England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy), the Netherlands’ Eredivisie appears to be the most successful European domestic competition. The latest paper from Football Benchmark takes a look at four leagues from the next level of the European game: the Netherlands, Turkey, Portugal and Poland. Even in the glory days of Cruyff and co. Dutch football was watched by lower … Continue reading The Dutch case is compelling

Great Reputations: Feyenoord 1970, the overlooked Dutch masters

Feyenoord and Ajax fought out a dismal derby game a week or two ago and it served as a reminder that these two great names of European football have seen better days. Despite Dutch football’s decline over the past couple of decades, the memory of Total Football still sends a tingle of excitement down the spines of football historians. But while everyone remembers Ajax and … Continue reading Great Reputations: Feyenoord 1970, the overlooked Dutch masters

GOTP Country Special: The Netherlands

HERE AT GOTP Towers, we are big fans of the Dutch – Total Football, Cruyff, Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV. No surprise that we’ve written quite a few pieces on our friends from across the Channel. February 2015: Feyenoord – ‘cause Rotterdam is anywhere In the 1960s, a geography field trip (if you lived in Thurrock) was a trip to Tilbury docks to look at one … Continue reading GOTP Country Special: The Netherlands

Feyenoord: ‘Cause Rotterdam is anywhere

In the 1960s, a geography field trip (if you lived in Thurrock) was a trip to Tilbury docks to look at one of the biggest container ports in Europe. At the time, Tilbury was in competition with Rotterdam, which gave the Essex town a slightly continental element to it. But while Rotterdam was a city with a port, Tilbury was most definitely a dock with … Continue reading Feyenoord: ‘Cause Rotterdam is anywhere

PSV Eindhoven…still part of the family

The Netherlands has three globally recognisable teams: Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven. Popular opinion suggests that Ajax and Feyenoord dominated Dutch football for decades, but while it is certainly true that the Amsterdam-Rotterdam axis stood astride the Netherlands in the 1960s, the 1970s belonged to Ajax. The Cruyff-led side won 12 major prizes in that decade, with Feyenoord winning four and PSV six. And in … Continue reading PSV Eindhoven…still part of the family