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Offline Han

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The Changing Face of the Dutch Ground Scene Part Two
« Gepost op: apr 18, 2008, 00:15:17 »



The Last Era in Division One

At lower level Heracles from Almelo, very close to Enschede’s FC Twente, relocated in 1999 from the 14,000 Bornsestraat, which had been their home since the foundation in 1903, to their new 6,443 Polman Stadion. The ground is equipped with an artificial pitch as part of an UEFA pilot scheme, also including Russia's Torpedo Moscow, Austria Salzburg, Sweden's Orebrosk and Turkey's Denizlispor. Heracles’ magnificent all-wooden main stand from their previous Bornsestraat has been saved for posterity and now serves for local amateur side AVC.

It is worthy of note that northerly Cambuur from the province of Friesland’s capital Leeuwarden also equipped their ground with a brandnew artificial pitch in the summer of 2003, at the cost of £ 300,000. The club came into being in 1964 after their predecessors VV Leeuwarden returned to amateur status. The Cambuur Stadion originates from 1936. Its refurbishment was marked with an opening fixture against Barcelona in 1995 with a capacity crowd of 10,000 attending.

De Graafschap from Doetinchem in the eastern regions of the country, founded in 1954, relegated from the top flight only last season. De Vijverberg has been their spiritual home from the beginnings, in an area where lakes (vijvers) were once filled to create more living space around the town. Apparently, the sand heaps stood out like little mountains (bergen), thus the name. The ground’s transformation from a neat yet outdated venue started in 1998 and it the result is a magnificent and intimate stronghold, holding 11,000 seats. This lovely ground with its steep one-tiered stands almost touching the sidelines, including dug-outs cutting in to the main stand, conjures up visions of Loftus Road.

Rotterdam’s Excelsior’s tiny 3,533 all-seater Stadion Stad Rotterdam Verzekeringen , at the same location as their previous modest 6,000 Woudenstein ground, was ready in time for the return of its hosts to the top flight in 2002 but unfortunately saw a drop back to the first division at the first attempt. Excelsior are one of the oldest football clubs in Holland, originating from 1902. Earlier three-sided Woudenstein with a terrace opposite main rising six steps only had seen top flight football on various occasions in surroundings that can only be described as pitiful.

In 1968 Fortuna’54 from Geleen and Sittardia merged to become Fortuna SC from Sittard. In fact, Fortuna ’54 were Holland’s first football club with a professional status, residing in the very heart of the country’s then flourishing coalmining industry. FSC took up residence in De Baandert. Set in an excavated pit, its steep covered terraces agonisingly close the pitch, made for brilliant acoustics and a genuine English atmosphere during the club finest era from the mid-Seventies until the mid-Eighties. Alas, at the turn of the millennium Fortuna left their once impressive yet dilapidating 22,000 De Baandert for the unimaginative Wagner & Partners Stadion with room for 12,500 spectators. Glanford Park revisited.

Nearby MVV, founded in 1903 as a merger between MVC and MVV to become MFC, and re-baptized MVV a little later, are from Maastricht, the burgundy capital of the southern province of Limburg. The red shirts with the town’s white star grazed the De Geusselt pitch since 1961. This horrifying oval bowl with its quaint undulated-roofed main stand was once packed to the rafters with 30,000 present. During the Nineties the club rotated the pitch to make room for a very successful lego attempt, this version holding 10,000.

Sparta from Rotterdam, the oldest club in the Dutch league, were founded in 1888 and moved to Het Kasteel (The Castle) in 1916. Het Kasteel in its prime time was not a ground, not a stadium, but an aristocratic building, its striking wooden main stand with open paddock more British than any stand from Simon Inglis’ books, an open terrace equivalent to Notts County’s Meadow Lane ‘s Spion Kop end and an entrance on par with Villa’s Trinity Road Stand façade. The completion of de gigantic Schie Tribune opposite main stand in the Sixties in an ambitious attempt to keep up with the club’s grandeur almost brought Sparta to its knees. However, the red and white stripes from Sparta can still be cheered on at Het Kasteel, its pitch rotated 90 degrees to create an 11,000 all-seater with the famous castle itself incorporated in four elevated stands.

When SC Drenthe from Klazienaveen fell victim to the major football league reconstruction in 1971 it left the entire province of Drenthe without a senior club. By 1985 the Dutch FA’s desire to bring back senior football to the province materialized. Emmen from 1925, a big amateur force in the heart of the once infamous and poor peat-digging area, were elected to the league in 1985. Their Univé Stadion, previously known as Sportpark Meerdijk, replaced their humble surroundings ready for the 2001/2 campaign, its 8,500 capacity reflecting the friendly club’s ambitions.

FC Den Bosch started life in 1965 after forerunners BVV, founded as NOAD in 1906, left the professional scene that same year. The club only recently finished the filling in of four corners of its 8,500 FC Den Bosch Stadion with office buildings to complete a dramatic redesign that had started in 1996, including a 45 degree pitch rotation,. It means there is no longer a trace left from the dreaded oval 30,000 capacity De Vliert from 1951 on the same location.

Lowly FC Dordrecht, live a relatively anonymous life in the shadows of Rotterdam’s three professional football clubs Feyenoord, Sparta and Excelsior. Chairmen come and go, sacrifying colours and club names to their own liking. FC Dordrecht began as DFC from 1883, became DFC/FC Dordrecht in 1972 an dropped the DFC prefix a year later. 1979 saw yet another name change, this time to DS’79 in attempt to cater for a bigger catchment’s area. A merger with SVV from Schiedam produced SVV/Dordrecht’90 in 1990, with SVV dropped from the name in 1992. Today the club have reinstalled their FC Dordrecht identity from 1973. They play at the 4,100 capacity GN Bouw Stadion from 1998, exemplary for the ordinary new ground, once called De Krommedijk, exemplary for the ordinary old ground. One interesting aspect though is a new covered end stand, perched on and straddled by the old terracing.

With no room to extend, lack of ambition, councils obstructing planning permission or cash deficit southerly Helmond Sport, who entered the football scene in 1967 by taking over Helmondia 55’s licence playing at  Sportpork De Braak,  neighbours FC Eindhoven, founded as EVV in 1909  residing at the Jan Louwers Stadion, previously known as De Aalsterweg and TOP from Oss from 1928 at their TOP Oss Stadion, all from the same southerly county of Brabant, share the unfavourable prospect of tiny, yet modernized three-sided grounds for years to come, their capacities ranging from 4,100 to 4,662. TOP from Oss however are currently in the process of gaining permission to develop the remaining shallow open terrace on one end, which would bring the capacity at 5,500.

Veendam’s predecessors were Look Out from 1894 and the club are Holland’s epitome for Hartlepool on a wet Tuesday night in November. Situated on an outpost in the northern province of Groningen the club play at the revamped 6,300 capacity De Langeleegte. The shallow open end terraces and the shed opposite main stand have been transformed into proper, yet simple covered stands, de Noordtribune remarkably resembling Hartlepool United’s Mill House stand.

The Dutch division one ground that best kept its character, regardless of major alterations finished in July 2003, is southerly VVV Venlo’s De Koel, best translated as ‘The Pit’. Founded in 1903 the club moved from De Kraal to the adjacent De Koel in 1971, packed to the rafters in 1976 for the visit of Ajax, with 24,500 crammed in. De Koel now holds 5,829 seats, its unique feature being grassy banks, carefully cultivated and delicately sweeping around two sides of the ground, separating the top tiers from the lower tiers.

Very few clubs have been (re)-elected from the amateur ranks to the league since the aforementioned reconstruction in 1971, namely RBC in 1983, RKC in 1984, Emmen in 1985, Vlissingen in 1990 and TOP Oss in 1991. Latest in these series are AGOVV from Apeldoorn, founded in 1913, having featured in earlier Groundtastic issues to pay homage to their lovely Berg en Bos ground, romantically set in a forest, only a stone throw away from the town centre. The ground has been updated in the summer of 2003 to meet league standards.

Thankfully, its quaint wooden main stand from 1925, including a paddock with wooden benches, and its adjacent pavilion, the sole survivor of its kind in Holland, have been saved for posterity due to their status as listed buildings. Sadly though, plastic seats have been bolted on the benches for the comfort of sponsors and guests. Two of the ground’s three grassy banks have been transformed into very shallow covered stands with blue and white seats, bringing the overall Berg en Bos capacity to a staggering 2,500.

This Era
Barring the odd old-fashioned theatre of dreams, few Dutch league grounds have escaped modernization. The following decade is likely to see the ultimate evasion of earlier 20th century Dutch ground architecture.

At lower league level the Jan Gijzenkade from Haarlem, founded in 1889 and Sportpark Schoonenberg in Velsen, home to Telstar, who merged with Stormvogels in 2001 to become Stormvogels Telstar still feature the distinctive sight of proper, now sadly unused, open end terracing, a covered stand running the entire length of the pitch and a good-sized main stand. These two grounds are separated only a few miles as a bird flies, and were once both capable of holding 20,000plus crowds.

Telstar’s all wooden main stand, including uncomfortable benches, still stands out to commemorate the Sixties. It’s heartbreaking to see both survivors of yesteryear capacities reduced to a mere 3,442 and 3,000 respectively.

n August 2003 Haarlem’s sponsors, IMCA Vastgoed, have, for the unforeseeable future, been given the council’s permission to develop the Oostpoort multi-purpose complex on the outskirts of the town, holding a 10,000 all-seater stadium, with under soil parking, penthouses on the stand roofs, hotels, a theatre, office buildings, shops and healthcare facilities. At Telstar the board envisage the demolition of Schoonenberg’s wooden main stand to make way for the new West Stand in 2004 as part of a redevelopment scheme, eventually resulting in a 4,500 capacity ground.

The Netherland’s third city in size, ‘s-Gravenhage, Den Haag for short, not only houses the Dutch Parliament and the Royal Family, but also ADO from 1905. ADO merged with Holland Sport from nearby unpronounceable Scheveningen  to become FC Den Haag following the major clean-up in 1971. ADO continued as a non-league club but joined FC Den Haag in 1996. However, the prefix ADO wasn’t added to the club’s name until 2001.

Zuiderpark, set in a municipal park, has been the club’s home since 1925 and saw the loss of its antiquated main stand in 1982. The ground, its 28,872 record attendance established in 1971 now holds 10,500. ADO Den Haag, recently promoted to the Dutch top flight envisage the 15,000 ForePark development. Of interesting note are recent environmental studies obstructing the development of the proposed site. Due to ForePark’s proximity to Holland’s equivalent to Birmingham’s spaghetti-junction the pollution rate at the scene is alleged to affect player’s and spectator’s health.

AZ from Alkmaar, now playing at the idyllically set 8,258 capacity authentic Alkmaarderhout  are bound to relocate. Work went underway in August 2003 to prepare the building site for AZ’s KooimeerPlaza ground on the outskirts of the town. Actual construction work is scheduled for November 2003, eventually resulting in a multi-purpose 13,500 capacity complex including shopping malls, leisure and beauty centres for what is envisaged as a ‘lifetime family experience’, ready for the 2004/2005 season.

Fine remaining examples of Dutch ground architecture with British grandeur can be found in downtown working-class neighbourhoods in Groningen and Deventer. FC Groningen are set to leave their intimidating 12,400 Oosterpark town centre ground, originating from 1933 and once capable of holding 22,000, for the 2005/6 season at Euroborg, a town in itself with an impressive 20,000 multi-purpose theatre, including office buildings, apartments, supermarkets, cinemas, leisure facilities, schools, etc.

Go Ahead, founded as Be Quick in 1902 have been at their Vetkampstraat since 1920. The ground was renamed Adelaarshorst (Eagles Nest) when Go Ahead added the suffix Eagles to their name in 1971 at the instigation of the then English manager Barry Hughes. De Vetkampstraat’s initial 24,000 capacity has been drastically reduced to a humble 4,800 as a prelude for other drastic changes to come.  The Eagles are bound to leave for a 10,000 all-seater, shaped like an Adelaarsoog (Eagles’ Eye), by the end of 2006. It would see the sad demise of their magnificent English-styled town centre home.

Finally, FC Zwolle from Zwolle, the capital of the province of Overijssel and the author’s birthplace and love of life, will redevelop its 6,865 Oosterenk Stadion, its main stand named after legend Johan Cruyff, into a 10,500 home by 2006, including the unevitable office and leisure facilities. FC Zwolle’s forerunners are EDN (Do Not Despair) from 1904 and PH (Prince Henry) from 1906 who merged to become PEC in 1910. The club took residence at Theehuis Thijssen and moved to De Vrolijkheid in 1933, only to relocate again, this time to the Gemeentelijk Sportpark in 1970, locally known as the Ceintuurbaan. The suffix Zwolle was added to the club’s name one year later. The club went into administration and from its nucleus arose PEC Zwolle ’82, the suffix being dropped in 1990. Since the proposed two-tiered main stand would literally take the wind from the wings of a nearby listed mill, still in operation, FC Zwolle will be forced to move their pitch from its original setting.

Eventually, this decade will mark the loss of the heritage of earlier Dutch ground architecture, barring surviving relics from the pre1970 days at places such as Wageningen, Hilversum, Leiden, Delft, Breda, Den Haag and Schiedam.
Strangely Devoted or Mentally Disturbed

Offline Rinus A.

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Re: The Changing Face of the Dutch Ground Scene Part Two
« Reactie #1 Gepost op: apr 19, 2008, 15:45:14 »
De wensen mbt 2004 van Telstar kunnen vervangen worden door het jaartal 2009..