Je maintiendrai- I will remain, when the season starts

Discussion in 'The Europa League' started by Cove, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Cove

    Cove Well-Known Member

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    Je maintiendrai, it's on the crest of the Dutch monarchy. And in English it means I will remain, or better: I will stand my ground. It is in French because Napoleon put it there. When the Kingdom of Holland was founded in 1806 they designed this crest and for some reason it stayed that way for over two centuries now.

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    Why the history lesson? It's because this creed ironically applies to the Eredivisie. Every year, at the end of the season, football fans in The Netherlands always fear the transfer period in the summer. For who will remain in their squad at the end of August? It is seldom that a team can stay intact over the three months when hunting season is open in the Dutch football. And for most of the clubs, it's a battlefield. When clubs from the big leagues come they usually leave a mess behind. And this year is no exception. Last week I wrote about the situation at PSV and how their team of last season was gone, completely vanished. But they weren't the only team that lies in tatters and have lost key players.

    Now today is the start of the Eredivisie. And as usual it starts with a game for the Dutch Supercup, the Johan Cruyff Shield. This year AZ Alkmaar will face Ajax Amsterdam. The winners of the league cup against the winners of the championship. Now today's game is more than winning a cup. These two clubs have undergone the transfer period in opposite ways. AZ Alkmaar lost key players Jozy Altidore to Sunderland, and Adam Maher to PSV Eindhoven. But they attracted new players such as defenders Gouweleeuw(SC Heerenveen) and Wuytens(NAC Breda) and midfielder Gudelj, also from NAC. The defenders were bought with the departure of talented defender Viergever in mind and because Reijnen was inept and not good enough for the Eredivisie. AZ have basically a new team, which hasn't been tested but today they will have to perform to win against Ajax. Not just for the prize, but to show the fans that they can look forward to the new season, to show the supporters what they can expect the coming season. That they will remain, even when the key players are gone.

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    At Ajax, it's quite the opposite. Ajax have sold none of their first eleven player... none. Eriksen, still at the club, same goes for De Jong, Vermeer and Alderweireld. All have turned down clubs from abroad to stay with Ajax. Eriksen snubbed Bayer Leverkusen, Alderweireld Norwich. Vermeer attracted a lot of attention but stayed put. And De Jong said that he doesn't feel like leaving the club any time soon. Even more Eriksen and Alderweireld both claimed they were willing to sing an extension to stay at Ajax. So Ajax has managed to hang on to their key players for the first time in decades. Today they will start the game with almost exactly the same squad as they finished the season with in May. A rarity in the Eredivisie.

    To give an example, last week was the kick off for Dutch teams in Europa. FC Utrecht entered the second qualification round for the Europa League and were drawn against Luxembourg side Differdange. A semi-pro team with a stadium that couldn't hold more than a thousand fans, so they had to reallocate the match to the capitol. FC Utrecht is in a similar position as PSV, but with less funds and lesser quality players. They lost defender Van der Hoorn to Ajax, Kali to Roda JC, Assare to AA Gent and Wuytens to AZ Alkmaar. All key players in the last season when they secured a fifth place in the Eredivisie. FC Utrecht was balancing on the brink of bankruptcy for the past couple of years but they managed. In Luxembourg they started with a new team with a lot of youth players. And it went horribly wrong. They lost 2-1 in Luxembourg and last Thursday they drew 3-3 to be knocked out by a bunch of semi-pros from a dwarf nation in football. The papers called them an embarrassment for Dutch football. The fans were extremely disappointed and can probably expect a poor season to come.

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    Now today will be a game of showing what you can do this season. Ajax can show if they can improve on last season. AZ has to show their fans that they will remain in the sub top of the Eredivisie. But there is a third party that has to show their abilities this evening: Fox. Last year Rupert Murdoch bought sports channel Eredivisie Live and tonight will be their first game that they broadcast in The Netherlands. Many sports channels failed in The Netherlands in the past. And Eredivisie Live was in the red figures as well. Fox signed a billion euro contract with the clubs for the broadcast rights till 2023. So instead of losing money, the Eredivisie clubs will now receive 60 to 80 million every season, giving it the boost that it desperately needs.

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    So in tonight's game everybody has something to win, but more so, something to prove. Can AZ stand their ground? Can Ajax show that they remain the best team in the Eredivisie? Tonight at 7, the game will kick off this season and hopefully answers these questions.
     
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  2. (Conor)

    (Conor) Well-Known Member

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    Very nice post <ok>

    One question. Has there been much fallout from this week about Utrecht being put out of the Europa League by Differdange of Luxembourg 5-4 on aggregate? On paper, it sounds like an absolutely shocking result for them.
     
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  3. AberdeenSaint

    AberdeenSaint Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Cove. Aberdeen beat Twente last night. Twente had the best of the first half, and should have gone ahead - Aberdeen better in the second half, and scored twice. How good are Twente in relation to rest of the Dutch league, Cove ?
     
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  4. pass the football

    pass the football Well-Known Member

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    That question is answered in the original post:

     
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  5. (Conor)

    (Conor) Well-Known Member

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    Doh, my bad <doh>
     
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  6. Cove

    Cove Well-Known Member

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    Twente has been sub top last two seasons. After winning the league in 2010 they've dropped back a bit. This summer's sale of Fer and Chadli will only make it worse for the team. They've let go defender Douglas and Bulgarian goalie Mihaylov, which is simply madness as he was one of the best goalkeepers in the Eredivisie. He is still under contract with Twente but the club is ready to sell him cheap. So personally, I'd think they will drop back some more this season.
     
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  7. Cove

    Cove Well-Known Member

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