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“He’s one of Holland’s brightest managerial prospects�


Spav

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Thursday 19th July 2001:

I adjusted my tie and quickly checked my appearance in the reflection of a glass door in the hallway. Everything looked fine from the outside and hopefully no-one would be able to sense the mass of butterflies that seemed to be churning in my stomach. The three men ahead of me had been through this before and they were much calmer about the upcoming proceedings. I followed Herman Wessels, Freek van Beusekom and Theo Vonk down the corridor and through the door at the end. The room on the other side was brightly light – so bright in fact that I momentarily stopped and put my hand up to my eyes whilst they adjusted to the light. I watched where the other three men walked and saw that there was a long table with four chairs along one side. They faced out onto a crowd of about twenty-five people. The brightness came from half a dozen spotlights mounted on television cameras. I took a deep breath, then swallowed and walked over to my allocated seat at the long table. It was time for my first press conference.

The three gentlemen that I was accompanying sat either side of me. On my left was Freek van Beusekom – Managing Director. On my right was Herman Wessels – Chairman and to his right was Theo Vonk – Director of Football. Each had a small sign in front of him announcing his name and position. I too had a small sign in front of me. Herman Wessels cleared his throat and looked out at the members of the media assembled in front of him.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for your attendance. We are here today to make an announcement regarding the manager’s position – a post that has had many people in discussion over the past three weeks since the departure of Rini Coolen and his team. We are pleased to announce that the board and senior leadership have made a selection and it is one that we are all unanimous upon. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the new manager of FC Twente Enschede, Peter Buissink.

Herman rose to his feet and held out his hand to me. I also stood and took his hand, giving it a firm shake. Cameras clicked and flashed as the photographers got their shots of the welcoming moment. We kept the pose for around five seconds and then we both sat down together. Herman then picked up a piece of paper and again looked out upon the crowd.

As you all know, Peter Buissink is one of the Holland’s brightest managerial prospects. His playing career began right here at FC Twente where he played 66 games for the club over two seasons. We were unfortunately not able to hold onto a player of his talent and he moved on to PSV Eindhoven where he played 112 games over three seasons. In that time he won the first of his 58 international caps for Holland. A big money move to England followed that and he spent the next eight seasons at Chelsea where he appeared 422 times and won most of England and Europe’s footballing honours. Of course two years ago he returned to Holland as player-manager of First Division FC Eindhoven and he completed his playing career with 72 appearances for that club. During those two seasons he consolidated the club in Division One and then had the heartbreak of seeing them lose out on promotion in last season’s play-offs. With Peter’s decision to retire from playing, we felt that he was now in a position to turn his talents to a club in the Premier Division. I am pleased to say that we beat off several clubs in obtaining Peter’s services and we have confirmed a four-year contract with him as a sign of our confidence in his abilities. So ladies and gentlemen, without further ado I’ll throw the microphone over to Peter and let you ask him about his thoughts on his new position and our prospects for the upcoming season.

I took the microphone from Herman and looked out upon the faces of the media. Already there were several hands raised to ask me my first question. Time to get on with my new job then, I thought. I pointed to a reporter in the front row and prepared myself for the interrogation that I knew was going to follow.

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Thursday 19th July 2001:

I adjusted my tie and quickly checked my appearance in the reflection of a glass door in the hallway. Everything looked fine from the outside and hopefully no-one would be able to sense the mass of butterflies that seemed to be churning in my stomach. The three men ahead of me had been through this before and they were much calmer about the upcoming proceedings. I followed Herman Wessels, Freek van Beusekom and Theo Vonk down the corridor and through the door at the end. The room on the other side was brightly light – so bright in fact that I momentarily stopped and put my hand up to my eyes whilst they adjusted to the light. I watched where the other three men walked and saw that there was a long table with four chairs along one side. They faced out onto a crowd of about twenty-five people. The brightness came from half a dozen spotlights mounted on television cameras. I took a deep breath, then swallowed and walked over to my allocated seat at the long table. It was time for my first press conference.

The three gentlemen that I was accompanying sat either side of me. On my left was Freek van Beusekom – Managing Director. On my right was Herman Wessels – Chairman and to his right was Theo Vonk – Director of Football. Each had a small sign in front of him announcing his name and position. I too had a small sign in front of me. Herman Wessels cleared his throat and looked out at the members of the media assembled in front of him.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for your attendance. We are here today to make an announcement regarding the manager’s position – a post that has had many people in discussion over the past three weeks since the departure of Rini Coolen and his team. We are pleased to announce that the board and senior leadership have made a selection and it is one that we are all unanimous upon. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the new manager of FC Twente Enschede, Peter Buissink.

Herman rose to his feet and held out his hand to me. I also stood and took his hand, giving it a firm shake. Cameras clicked and flashed as the photographers got their shots of the welcoming moment. We kept the pose for around five seconds and then we both sat down together. Herman then picked up a piece of paper and again looked out upon the crowd.

As you all know, Peter Buissink is one of the Holland’s brightest managerial prospects. His playing career began right here at FC Twente where he played 66 games for the club over two seasons. We were unfortunately not able to hold onto a player of his talent and he moved on to PSV Eindhoven where he played 112 games over three seasons. In that time he won the first of his 58 international caps for Holland. A big money move to England followed that and he spent the next eight seasons at Chelsea where he appeared 422 times and won most of England and Europe’s footballing honours. Of course two years ago he returned to Holland as player-manager of First Division FC Eindhoven and he completed his playing career with 72 appearances for that club. During those two seasons he consolidated the club in Division One and then had the heartbreak of seeing them lose out on promotion in last season’s play-offs. With Peter’s decision to retire from playing, we felt that he was now in a position to turn his talents to a club in the Premier Division. I am pleased to say that we beat off several clubs in obtaining Peter’s services and we have confirmed a four-year contract with him as a sign of our confidence in his abilities. So ladies and gentlemen, without further ado I’ll throw the microphone over to Peter and let you ask him about his thoughts on his new position and our prospects for the upcoming season.

I took the microphone from Herman and looked out upon the faces of the media. Already there were several hands raised to ask me my first question. Time to get on with my new job then, I thought. I pointed to a reporter in the front row and prepared myself for the interrogation that I knew was going to follow.

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FC Twente – A Short History:

The city of Enschede is located in the east of Holland, just 5 kilometres from the border with Germany and 130 kilometres east of the main city of Amsterdam.

FC Twente’s home ground is the Arke Stadion, a 13,500 all-seater stadium.

FC Twente came into existence on 14th April 1965 with the merger of Sportclub Enschede and its local rivals Enschedese Boys. As Sportclub Enschede they had won the old Dutch championship way back in 1926. Most of FC Twente’s honours have come back in the 1970’s when their star was much brighter in Dutch football. Their best finish in the Premier Division was achieved in 1973/74 where they were runners-up to that year’s champions Feyenoord. Indeed they only lost the title on the final day of the season when the two teams met each other for the right to claim the title. A 3-2 victory to Feyenoord in Rotterdam meant that FC Twente had to settle for the runners-up position. That runners-up placing saw the club contest the UEFA Cup in 1975 and they reached the final after a superb two-legged victory over Italy’s Juventus. Their opponents in the Final were Germany’s Borussia Monchengladbach and the first leg finished 0-0 in Germany. However FC Twente choked in the home leg, losing 5-1 and only receiving loser’s medals for all their efforts.

The club has won the Dutch Cup twice, firstly in 1977 when they defeated Zwolle in the final and secondly in 2001 when they beat PSV 4-3 on penalties after a 0-0 draw. They also had two losing final finishes with losses to Den Haag in 1975 and Ajax in 1979. Relegation from the Premier League occurred in 1982 and was followed by a season in the First Division in 1982/83. A runners-up place saw FC Twente return to the Premier Division for the 1983/84 season – a place which they have held until this very day.

For all Dutch readers or those with greater knowledge of Dutch football than myself, feel free to point out any errors or misconceptions that I make. However please remember I am sitting here in Australia and I only have a day-trip to Amsterdam way back in 1986 with which to remember your lovely country.

Save game information: CM01/02 3.9.68 with latest Sawczuk update and the major leagues of Holland, England, Scotland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain all running.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Spav:

However please remember I am sitting here in Australia and I only have a day-trip to Amsterdam ...... with which to remember your lovely country.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nice start, looking forward to this after the great Polish tale but...

...anyne else thinking 'that was one hell of a day trip'? icon_biggrin.gif

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flipsix3 - Well spotted. icon_rolleyes.gif It was, of course, part of my 3 month backpacking trip around Europe in 1986. I was running out of time near the end and had to rush through Holland on my way back to England.

Raptor - If I hadn't done my research on FC Twente, I'd think you might have been swearing at me in Dutch. icon_biggrin.gifDe Tukkers are the FC Twente fans, so I am lead to believe.

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Friday 20th July 2001:

The office staff were obviously very efficient here at the Arke Stadion. I reached the door to my office and a new sign saying “Peter Buissink – Manager†was already in place. I smiled, thinking how the person that made name plates for the doors of football managers must be someone who is in constant demand. I went through my newly updated door and took a seat at the desk. Already the secretary had placed the information that I had requested yesterday onto my desk. The first and most important piece of paper listed the players that I had at my disposal for the upcoming season. I ran my eye down the list, taking in the established players that I already knew of and trying to recall some of the lesser-known names that I came to.

Goalkeepers:

Sander Boschker (Holland) 33 GK

Cees Paauwe (Holland) 27 GK

Remko Pasveer (Holland) 21 GK

Defenders:

Daniel Majstorovic (Sweden) 27 SW/D C

Karim Touzani (Holland) 23 D C

Jordy Koster (Holland) 19 D C

Ramon Zomer (Holland) 20 D C

Timothy Kok (Holland) 19 D RC

Resit Schuurman (Holland) 25 D/DM R

Rahim (Burkina Faso 10 caps/1 goal) D/DM R/L

Jeroen Heubach (Holland) 29 D L

Midfielders:

Bas Sibum (Holland) 21 M C

Niels Wellenberg (Holland) 21 M C

Johan Plageman (Holland) 20 M C

Peter Niemeyer (Germany) 21 M RC

Goncalves (Germany) 21 M LC

Karim El Ahmadi (Holland) 18 M RL

Dmitri Shoukov (Russia) 28 M L

Simon Cziommer (Germany) 24 AM C

Elbekay Bouchiba (Holland) 25 AM R/L

Raymond Fafiani (Holland) 21 AM L

Jeffrey de Visscher (Holland) 23 AM/F R (On loan at Heracles)

Forwards:

Jason Culina (Australia 1 cap) 23 F RC

Tim Velten (Holland) 18 F RC

Guilherme Afonso (Switzerland) 19 S C

Kim Christensen (Denmark) 24 S C

Blaise N’Kufo (Switzerland 7 caps/2 goals) S C

Apart from a couple of key players I had inherited a fairly young team. There didn’t appear to be any need to worry about immediately replacing an aging first team regular, although I wasn’t convinced that I had a squad of great depth with which to do my job. The most obvious shortfall in the playing staff appeared to be the lack of a quality forward to work with N’Kufo and Afonso or to play if one of those two were injured.

In respect of the above, I already had a lead. A contact who’d kept an eye on some young talent in Italy for me over the previous two seasons (when I’d been in charge of FC Eindhoven) had phoned me just two days ago. I’d been right in the middle of my contract negotiations with Herman Wessels at the time but I was confident that I would get the job, so I asked my contact to go ahead and make some enquiries. The player I had in mind was the 21 year old Colombian forward Johnnier Montano. He’d arrived in Italy from Argentina’s Quilmes with a big reputation, but his time at Parma had not gone according to plan. The Serie A club was prepared to cut their losses and release him and I felt that he could be a major asset to a Dutch club where he wouldn’t be under as much pressure as he had been in Italy. I’d call my contact in Italy shortly and see how he had got on chasing down Montano’s agent.

The other major shortfall that I had was that of an assistant manager. I’d already got approval from Herman Wessels to make a selection of my own choice and I already knew who I wanted for the position. Jeffrey Kooistra was a former player who’d gone into coaching in his late 20‘s when injury had prematurely ended his career. He coached under me in my first season at FC Eindhoven and his skills had been invaluable in getting me started on the right foot in my first managerial position. At the start of my second year he’d been tempted down to the amateur leagues with the offer of his first managerial role. I had kept in touch with him and I knew that things had gone sour at the end of last season and he had been forced out despite taking his club to a mid-table finish. It had been three weeks since I had last spoken to Jeffrey and I hoped that he hadn’t made any new commitments in the meantime. I picked up the phone and I dialled Jeffrey’s mobile phone number.

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Sunday 22nd July 2001:

I sat back into my favourite armchair and took a mouthful of the cup of coffee I’d just made. It was still a little bit too hot, so I laid it to the side and picked up the list of transfer targets that I was pursuing instead. Theo Vonk and I had been making calls left, right and centre trying to track down the availability of the players that I always kept in my up-to-date shortlist. I’d made Johnnier Montano my number one target, but there were over a dozen other players that I was keen on making offers to.

Marc Geerts (Holland) 21 SW/D/DM C

John Barclay (Scotland) 20 D RC

Roeland Geraerts (Belgium) 21 D C

Kenny Tawse (Scotland) 18 D LC

David Bell (Ireland) 19 M L

Greg Sharland (Australia) 21 M L

Darren Martin (Scotland) 19 AM R

Massimilliano Nerattini (Italy) 21 M LC

Danny Szetala (American/Polish) 17 AM C

Johnnier Montano (Colombia) 21 FC

Marco Arena (Italy) 20 S C

Joseph Cole (Nigeria) 19 S C

Vincenzo Folino (Italy) 21 S C

Anders Mathisen (Norway) 21 S C

Hopefully I’d have some responses tomorrow, although I’d have to let Theo field the calls as I was heading off to Scotland. That was another piece of previous manager’s workmanship that I had inherited – a half arranged tour of Scotland. Premier Division side Livingston were locked into a friendly with us on Tuesday, but the proposals to play Second Division side Stranraer and First Division side Queen of the South had fallen through when Rini Coolen had left. I’d decided to go with the Livingston match as we needed the game and the fact that we were travelling so early in my managership would challenge some of the players. I was keen to see who took to the challenge and who sat back and went along for the ride.

My coffee had cooled enough for me to drink it now. I picked it up and sipped it as I went through the fixture list for the upcoming season. After the Livingston friendly we had three qualifying group matches in the Amstel Cup. They would follow on immediately after the team’s return from Scotland. Sandwiched in between the second and third matches was the opening Premier Division match of the season – a tricky away fixture against de Graafschap. That was the first of thirty-four league matches that FC Twente would contest over the 2001/02 season. I didn’t fancy looking too far ahead. I’m sure that the games would be upon us quicker than I’d like, but in the style of the true managerial cliché we’d take them on day at a time.

Monday 23rd July 2001:

We’d arrived in Scotland without any hassle and made our way to our accommodation. After a short break the entire group made its way down to Livingston’s youth training ground where we were allotted some time for training. Whilst the first team coaches Eddy Pasveer, Erik ten Hag and Johan Inia took the players for a skills session, I caught up with Theo Vonk by phone and found out about the progress on our proposed transfer targets.

The best news was that Johnnier Montano and his agent had appeared very receptive to the offer that we’d made. Montano would arrive in Enschede on Wednesday afternoon and we would give him a brief trial and a medical on Thursday. Marc Geerts and Greg Sharland had also welcomed our overtures and they would both be arriving on Wednesday as well. Most of the other players that we had contacted were already being wooed by other clubs and their representatives wouldn’t make any commitments until those offers had been fielded.

Danny Szetala, the young American of Polish birth, was another player that was showing some interest in our offer. However the word was out that several of the big English and Scottish clubs were chasing him. With Bolton, Leeds, Millwall, Portsmouth, Rangers and Kilmarnock all in the frame I figured that he wasn’t going to make our offer his highest prospect. As a result I told Theo to tell his agent to call us if he wanted to talk seriously, but otherwise we wouldn’t chase Szetala any further.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Spav:

_flipsix3_ - Well spotted. icon_rolleyes.gif It was, of course, part of my 3 month backpacking trip around Europe in 1986. I was running out of time near the end and had to rush through Holland on my way back to England.

_Raptor_ - If I hadn't done my research on FC Twente, I'd think you might have been swearing at me in Dutch. icon_biggrin.gif _De Tukkers_ are the FC Twente fans, so I am lead to believe. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Tukkers are people from Twente (which is the easternmost part of the province of Overijssel). They don't get along too well with Groningen fans icon_wink.gif

Singing die die Tukker Tukker die icon_cool.gif

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Thanks OMDave, PM7 and WLKRAS. icon_smile.gif

I'm hoping that this will be an in-depth manager story that goes on for quite a while. Once the football side of the story settles in I've got a few sub-plots in mind to try and keep things interesting.

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Tuesday 24th July 2001:

From a personal point of view I had no previous match form to go on, so I stuck with what I had seen of the players with my own two eyes. Of course, most of the previous manager’s first team regulars were fairly obvious. There were also the new signings that had been made prior to my appointment and several of these had already impressed me.

With the Livingston match being my only friendly I had to really go with my first choice eleven so that I could see them play at least 45 minutes together. It was my intention to play a 4-3-1-2 formation with an advanced midfielder pushing up to support the strikers. Sander Boschker was the obvious starting goalkeeper, just as he had been for the past 7 seasons. Karim Touzani and Daniel Majstorovic were clearly the best and most experienced centre-half pairing whilst Resit Schuurman and Jeroen Heubach had the inside running on the full-back positions. Midfield wasn’t quite as clear to me yet, but Bas Sibum looked to the man to play the anchor role in the centre of the park. On the left of midfield Dmitri Shoukov had the first chance to impress, although Goncalves, Elbekay Bouchiba and Raymond Fafiani were all in contention. Peter Niemeyer was similarly getting the first chance on the right side of the midfield, although Simon Cziommer and Karim El Ahmadi both had designs on that position. Jason Culina looked tailor-made for the attacking midfielder’s role whilst Blaise N’Kufo and Guilherme Afonso were the obvious strikers until any possible signings were made.

So I had selected my first starting line-up as FC Twente manager, now I would see how they could perform after just five days of training under my control.

Friendly:

Livingston (Scotland) (A)

Boschker, Schuurman, Touzani, Majstorovic, Heubach, Niemeyer, Sibum, Shoukov, Culina, N’Kufo, Afonso.

Subs: 65-Christensen, 65-Cziommer, 65-Goncalves, 65-Rahim, 79-Bouchiba, 79-Fafiani, 79-Wellenberg, 79-Zomer.

I had barely settled into my seat on the bench before the boys had scored the first goal of my short reign. In the 3rd minute Shoukov’s cross from the left was headed clear by Easton, but only as far as Sibum. He chipped a pass out to the right for the overlapping Schuurman and his cross was perfectly placed for Afonso to head home from six yards out. Afonso was causing Livingston plenty of trouble and he turned provider in the 18th minute when he set up Niemeyer for a volley which Meldrum tipped over for a corner. Meldrum did even better in the 23rd minute when he pulled off a fine double save, first blocking Afonso’s 15 yard effort and then reacting quick enough to parry Culina’s follow-up shot away for a corner. That only lessened our pressure for a moment though and when Shoukov curled in the resulting corner Afonso leapt high above Stanic to head us 2-0 in front. We had been controlling the game for the first half hour, but we let Livingston back into the contest in the 33rd minute when left-winger Dair wormed his way past Schuurman and sent over a near post cross which Lovell just reached just ahead of Touzani to nod it past Boschker. A couple of chances followed to both sides, but we held our 2-1 lead until the break.

The second half was a lot quieter than the first. Neither side fashioned any worthwhile chances and both myself and the Livingston manager took the chance to make a swathe of substitutions around the hour mark. Christensen was one of the players who came on and it may have been his newness to the game that prompted a glaring miss in the 63rd minute. He was probably surprised when Afonso’s left wing cross actually made its way right across the Livingston penalty area and his last moment lunge at the ball saw it crash into the side netting when the goalmouth was gaping. We paid for that miss in the 70th minute when O’Brien picked up a loose ball on our left flank and drove a low ball across our penalty area. Keen had got himself free of Majstorovic and he crashed the ball past Boschker from 10 yards out to make it 2-2. Livingston drew themselves back at this point, happy to settle for a draw against a higher ranked opponent. With the FC Twente players starting to tire I made further changes, but by this time the game was petering out and in the end we settled for a 2-2 draw.

Livingston 2 Lovell 33, Keen 70

FC Twente 2 Afonso 3, 24

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Wednesday 25th July 2001:

I was at the stadium early after our return from Scotland last night. Spot on 9.00am as agreed Jeffrey Kooistra arrived at my office. It was good to see my friend again. It had been over six months since we had last caught up with each other, back in January during the winter break last season. We sat in a couple of armchairs that were in front of the window that overlooked the exterior of the stadium. We spent ten minutes going through the pleasantries of discussing family and friends and old times, then we got down to business. We had both worked together in this manager / assistant manager relationship, so there was no need to go through any great details on what I expected Jeffrey to do. I told him that we could offer him a £2,500 a week contract over the next four years and this would run in conjunction with my contract at FC Twente. If I went out the door, then Jeffrey would almost certainly follow me straight afterwards. He held out his hand and said, The money isn’t a problem, I’d work with you for peanuts if we could just make this team a success. I called in Freek van Beusekom and he put the contract that had been prepared earlier in front of Jeffrey. He didn’t even bother to read it and signed it at the places that Freek indicated. We shook hands over the deal and Freek laughed out loud. I’m in charge of a football nursery here – I’ve just signed a 35 year old assistant to work with our 32 year old manager. The pair of you will be Holland’s youngest managerial team.

Jeffrey and I headed down to the training ground to do an introduction to all the players. We arrived just in time to see Daniel Majstorovic being helped to the treatment room after injuring his toe. I’d have to check on his situation in a moment, but in the meantime I gathered the squad around and introduced Jeffrey to the team and the other coaching staff. Jeffrey had a few words to say himself, indicating that would ease himself into the assistant manager’s position over the next few days, but that he would just be observing the next couple of sessions.

We nipped into the treatment room and found Harry Drost, the senior physio, had just finished working on Daniel Majstorovic. He informed us that there’d been a dislocation of the big toe. It was a very painful injury, but not nearly as painful as when Harry had corrected it through manipulation. Apparently Majstorovic had nearly passed out, mainly due to a misunderstanding over what Harry was going to do as the pair tried to negotiate the Swedish / Dutch / English language barrier. Majstorovic was likely to be out for two to three weeks with the injury.

The other reason for the visit to the training ground was for the appraisal of the two new players that I was considering. The Australian Greg Sharland showed up just a couple of minutes ahead of Marc Geerts. Harry Drost had finished with his work on Majstorovic and along with coach Johan Inia he put Sharland and Geerts through a series of exercises and tests. Both of them were then given a solid physical workout for around an hour and then retested. Harry seemed happy with the results, but he needed to review some of the data. I thanked Greg and Marc for attending and told them I would see them in the office at the Arke Stadion at 11.00am tomorrow to advise them of our final decision.

Thursday 26th July 2001:

The medicals performed on Greg Sharland and Marc Geerts were both passed with flying colours. Sharland, the 21 year old Australian who played on the left of midfield, was the first to sign as he joined FC Twente on a 4 year contract. Geerts, a versatile central defender / defensive midfielder, was also 21 years of age and he too signed on a 4 year contract. Neither of them were on high wages and both had been informed that they would have to work hard to gain a starting place in the first team.

The same couldn’t be said of Johnnier Montano, the 21 year old Colombian forward who arrived at the training ground for his medical at 2.00pm. I had high hopes that Montano would be a key figure for FC Twente this season and I had promised him a guaranteed first team spot and a basic wage of £13,000 per year if he passed his test and agreed to sign for us. That would make him the third highest wage-earner at the club. Harry Drost and Johan Inia put Montano through the same tests as Sharland and Geerts had done yesterday. I watched his face and body language as he did what was asked of him and I was pleased to note that he appeared to be giving each exercise his utmost effort.

As Jeffrey Kooistra and I looked on Montano’s Italian agent Lorenzo Ciprianni informed us that America de Cali back in Montano’s home country of Colombia were also keen to lure the youngster back home to make him part of a challenge that they were preparing for the upcoming Copa Libertadores competition. Negotiations were also ongoing with that club and his client was seriously considering returning home, so our offer may need to be upgraded if we were to secure Montano’s signature. I thanked Ciprianni for being so open, then called Jeffrey aside. We discussed what we’d just been told and decided that it was just a ploy to try and get a bigger deal. Montano wouldn’t go back to Colombia if he was trying to make a name for himself here in Europe, I told Jeffrey. He agreed with me. As Montano’s medical came to an end I told Ciprianni that our offer stood as it was. If his client passed the medical, he would be offered a contract as discussed. If he wished to sign that contract, then he could present himself at the Arke Stadion office at 11.00am tomorrow and the formalities would be completed. I didn’t shake Ciprianni’s hand as we left, but I did go over to Montano to shake his hand and thank him, hoping he’d get it clear that we really wanted him at FC Twente for the next four years.

Friday 27th July 2001:

As I’d expected Johnnier Montano’s agent Lorenzo Ciprianni had been bluffing when he suggested that there were other serious irons in the fire. Come 11.00am the next day and Montano was sitting in the boardroom signing on as a FC Twente player for the next four years. I’d been confident that Montano would sign and I’d had Freek organise a media photo-call to announce our new signing. I also used it as an opportunity to formally announce that Jeffrey Kooistra was the new assistant manager at the club. We all went down to the pitch of the Arke Stadion and posed for a series of photographs. Johnnier was presented with the prestigious number 10 shirt for the upcoming season and he looked genuinely happy to be here in Enschede and playing for us. Of course he knew that one good season with FC Twente was all it would take for the Italian and Spanish clubs to come calling again and his career could relaunch back into the big time where it had previously seemed destined to heading.

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Monday 30th July 2001:

The other position that I had been considering along with the FC Twente job was that of manager at de Graafschap. It was never really my first choice, but I’d kept them hanging on as long as possible until it was clear that I was going to get the job here in Enschede instead. Today they announced that Rob Witschge had moved from amateurs ADO’20 to be their new manager. It made for a good contest on the opening day of the season as the two rookie managers in the Premier Division would be leading their teams against each other.

Tuesday 31st July 2001:

Daniel Majstorovic was given the okay to resume light training today and he should be available for selection in around ten days time. He was the only player currently on the injured list, so that left me with 24 players from which to select a squad of 18 for the opening Amstel Cup match against Achilles 94.

Wednesday 1st August 2001:

My first official match with FC Twente was to be an Amstel Cup tie. We had been drawn with amateur sides Achilles 94 and UNA as well as First Division club Emmen in Group 19 of the qualifying rounds. Jeffrey Kooistra and I were both advocates of attacking football and we preferred an attacking 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 style of play. The only change to the starting eleven from the team that began the friendly against Livingston was the inclusion of Ramon Zomer at centre-half in place of the injured Daniel Majstorovic. I decided not to rush Johnnier Montano into the starting line-up and named him as one of the seven substitutes that I was allowed. I had named Resit Schuurman as captain with Sander Boschker and Karim Touzani as his deputies.

To be honest I didn’t know a lot about our opponents Achilles 94, but I decided that they were the ones who needed to worry about us more than we needed to worry about them. If we couldn’t get a win in the opening match, then we deserved to be on the back foot in this three game qualifying group. There would be chances to rectify our position, but I really didn’t believe that there was a possibility of a defeat against Achilles 94.

Amstel Cup Group 19:

Achilles 94 (A)

Boschker, Schuurman, Touzani, Zomer, Heubach, Niemeyer, Sibum, Shoukov, Culina, N’Kufo, Afonso.

Subs: 62-Montano.

The team wasted no time getting onto the front foot and pinning the Achilles defenders back in their own half. Shoukov looked to have a good call for a penalty in only the 3rd minute as he was bundled to the floor by Beers, but the referee hardly gave it a second glance. N’Kufo fired in a rising effort which went about three feet too high, but too many of our final passes were failing to find their intended target. Sibum picked up the season’s first yellow card when he came through the back of van der Linden in the 19th minute. Achilles had strung five defenders across the backline and had parked their four midfielders just in front of that, so they weren’t planning to make it easy for us. They also strung together a decent attack in the 31st minute and Cremers hit a shot against the outside of the post when Boschker was unsighted by Touzani and Schuurman. We responded to that with some intense pressure on the Achilles goal. Headers by N’Kufo and Culina were well saved by keeper Migchelsen who then also had to deny Sibum and Shoukov when their shots were goal-bound.

Having denied us for the first 45 minutes we caught Achilles cold straight from the kick-off. Niemeyer released Shoukov on the left and he intelligently rolled the ball back for Sibum 25 yards from goal. Sibum took a touch to get past van Raalte and moved into the box before driving a low shot wide of Migchelsen from 14 yards out. We looked good after that and weren’t too troubled. After 62 minutes I decided to send Montano on for his debut in place of N’Kufo. At first he looked a little bit ragged but he slowly got into the pace of the game. The evidence of Montano’s potential came in the 80th minute when pulled down Heubach’s long clearance, nutmegged Roelofsen with a deft flick and then hit a 25 yard curler which clipped the join of the cross bar and post before going over. The Achilles keeper Migchelsen never moved and could only pray that the shot didn’t dip in. Despite the final 1-0 score-line against amateur opposition I felt comfortable with our performance in my first official match.

Achilles 94 0

FC Twente 1 Sibum 46

In the other match in our group First Division Emmen had drawn 1-1 at home to the amateurs UNA in a result that they were probably not too happy about.

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Monday 6th August 2001:

Thankfully we have not been getting too many injuries at the start of the season, but what injuries we had received all appeared to be happening to our defenders. Karim Touzani was the latest to suffer a setback in training when he put himself out for three weeks with a shoulder injury. Thankfully young Ramon Zomer had proved quite capable when he had been deputising for the injured Daniel Majstorovic. But with Touzani now also injured, it meant that reserves centre-half Jordy Koster would have to step up and partner Zomer on Wednesday evening’s Amstel Cup match against Emmen.

Wednesday 8th August 2001:

Tonight’s game against Emmen would be our biggest test of the season so far. Emmen had drawn their opening match in Group 19 of the Amstel Cup with a 1-1 home draw against UNA. Their side had given me two difficult matches in the First Division last season when I had been with FC Eindhoven, so I had a fair idea of what to expect from them. They would probably play a defensive 5-3-2 and I would need to have someone keep an eye on promising youngster Franck Karreman and former Sparta player Yurtcan Kayis in their midfield.

There were three changes to last week’s winning team against Achilles 94. Jordy Koster came into the centre of defence in place of the injured Karim Touzani and he would join Ramon Zomer who was still deputising for the previously injured Daniel Majstorovic. Rahim would start at left-back in place of Jeroen Heubach who was suffering from a cold. Blaise N’Kufo dropped down to the bench to allow Johnnier Montano to start his first FC Twente match. Fellow new signings Greg Sharland and Marc Geerts would appear on the bench for the first time this season.

Amstel Cup Group 19:

Emmen (H)

Boschker, Schuurman, Koster, Zomer, Rahim, Niemeyer, Sibum, Shoukov, Montano, Culina, Afonso.

Subs: 4-Geerts, 78-Sharland, 78-N’Kufo.

It was another good start for us as Niemeyer surged through the static Emmen defence in the 2nd minute before laying the ball off to Afonso. His firm left-footed shot was well parried by Peek, but Sibum was on hand to tap the ball in for a simple goal against his former club. But my selection plans came unstuck as early as the 4th minute when Rahim took a blow to his thigh and had to go off. With no recognised left-sided defender on the bench I was forced into a reshuffle. Schuurman moved to the left and young Geerts came on for his debut at right-back even though he was normally a central defender-cum-midfielder. Thankfully Koster and Zomer were both having very good starts and they covered a couple of nervous moments that the youngster had. Mind you, it needed the post to save us in the 24th minute when Feijer curled a free-kick around our wall and Boschker was left diving at thin air. Binken then blasted the rebound wide. Our keeper was on the job in the 37th minute though as he made a fine double save, firstly parrying van der Padt’s vicious snap-shot, then secondly rising to palm away Dijkhuizen’s volley from the rebound. The were two good chances that Emmen wasted and we made them pay when we broke away following the corner and Niemeyer hammered a shot from 18 yards which Peek could only push away. Montano raced in to crash home the rebound to make it 2-0 and then wheeled away in delight as he celebrated his first goal with de Tukkers. There was still time for the Colombian to sting Peek’s fingertips with a scorching shot seconds before the break.

The second half provided a little less goalmouth action, but I was pleased with the way that we took the game up to Emmen and generally kept them on the back foot. I was trying to instigate a pressing style of play when we didn’t have possession of the ball and the players took it upon themselves to work hard at it. I wanted intelligent pressing though, not just playing haring around and running at their opponents in a vain attempt to put them off their pass or header. I felt that we achieved around 60% efficiency on what we did today. A perfect example of what I wanted occurred in the 64th minute when Culina worked the Emmen central defenders hard whilst Afonso and Montano kept an eye on the full-backs. A shoddy pass was the result and Sibum picked it off, surged forward and then laid it off for Culina who was extremely unlucky when his shot from 14 yards hit the underside of the cross bar and bounced back into play. Koster then picked up an unneeded yellow card for arguing with the referee after he clearly fouled van der Padt, but then he had his header from Shoukov’s corner cleared off the line a few minutes later as we stayed in control. In the 78th minute I decided to freshen up the attack as N’Kufo replaced Culina whilst Sharland came on for his debut as he substituted for Shoukov. With the clock showing 86 minutes young Geerts was finally undone on the right, allowing Ossey to get past him rather too easily. The Emmen substitute took his time and picked out a precise cross which van der Padt headed past Boschker with little difficulty. It left us with a nasty final five minutes to negotiate, but we managed it without further difficulties and took the match 2-1.

FC Twente 2 Sibum 2, Montano 38

Emmen 1 van der Padt 86

Later on I got the news that UNA had defeated Achilles 94 by 2-0 and had therefore given themselves a good chance of qualifying from Group 19 into the main First Round draw.

There was also the news that Holland’s representation in Europe had started off well tonight as Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Mark van Bommel and DaMarcus Beasley all scored in PSV’s 3-0 home win over Cypriots APOEL Nicosia in the Champions Cup 3rd Qualifying Round.

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Thursday 9th August 2001:

I saw Harry Drost, the senior physio, first thing this morning. He had some good news and some bad news for me. Firstly it was the good news that Daniel Majstorovic had been given the all-clear to resume full training after his toe injury. That means he should be okay to start in the opening league match on Sunday in place of the injured Karim Touzani. However I would still have to decide whether Ramon Zomer or Jordy Koster stayed in the team, but at least the return of Majstorovic gave the defence a more solid look. Secondly the bad news was that Rahim had suffered a deep seated bruise to his thigh or a “corked leg†as it was commonly known. He would be unavailable for five to seven days as he underwent treatment. At least Rahim’s injury would not upset the team’s balance as much as Touzani’s absence.

Having got through today’s training session I was actually hoping to head off early to do a bit of reading and research. But as I walked down the corridor I was approached by the Managing Director Freek van Beusekom. He called me into his office and advised me that he’d had a call from Feyenoord requesting that we release our scout Issy ten Donkelaar to them. ten Donkelaar was a close friend of the previous manager Rini Coolen. He’d probably rang Feyenoord himself offering his services as he wasn’t keen to stay at the Arke Stadion under my management. Freek and I discussed the matter and we decided to let ten Donkelaar go as his heart was no longer in the job. Play hard-ball with Feyenoord though, I advised him. I don’t want people thinking we’re an easy touch. Get some sort of compensation from them, I instructed Freek. I left it with him, knowing that he’d work some sort of deal that we would get something from the Rotterdammers.

Friday 10th August 2001:

Jeffrey Kooistra and I spent the evening watching the reserves play their opening match of the season. The team drew 0-0 at home with de Graafschap and I was hoping to see some promising form from the new signings Greg Sharland and Marc Geerts. However it was a very poor match littered with poor passing and a general lack of teamwork on both sides. Sharland showed a couple of good touches, but he was obviously still settling into his new surroundings and his uncertainty showed. Geerts was largely anonymous, but he did the defensive part of his duties quite well. A little bit more confidence and he might be more of an offensive force in the midfield. Still, it was early days for both players and they would need time to adjust. On a side note I was please to see that our third-string keeper Remko Pasveer looked like he was a very capable young man and he performed decently in goal for the reserves.

Saturday 11th August 2001:

The Premier Division kicked off today with a shock result as champions Ajax went down 2-1 to RBC. Danish striker Jesper Hakansson, on loan from Heerenveen, did the damage with two goals after Ajax’s new Argentinean winger Mauro Rosales had open the scoring. Favourites PSV had to work hard to beat Heerenveen 2-1 in the Philips Stadion after the Finnish midfielder Mika Vayrynen had given the visitors the lead. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink equalised and new United States signing DaMarcus Beasley hit the winner.

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Sunday 12th August 2001:

We could have had a lot more difficult opponents than de Graafschap away on the opening day of the Premier Division, but I wasn’t going to complain. I didn’t know a lot about what sort of tactics their new manager Rob Witschge would employ, but a couple of quick phone calls to his old club ADO’20 confirmed that he’d played a basic 4-4-2 style in his time there. de Graafschap had revamped their line-up during the off-season and there were a couple of new signings that warranted close attention. The Dutch Under-21 striker Jhon van Beukering had been persuaded to move from Vitesse after his career went off the rails there and he had already opened his goalscoring account in the Amstel Cup. Former NEC striker Patrick Ax was likely to partner van Beukering up front and he was hoping to resurrect his career in Doetinchem as well. On the left wing the dangerous Belgian Garry De Graef had joined from RKC and Resit Schuurman would need to keep a close eye on him.

However, of more interest to me was my own team, of course. Daniel Majstorovic was back in the centre of defence after injury and Ramon Zomer would keep his place at centre-half as well. Jordy Koster would drop down to be the substitute central defender on the bench. Jeroen Heubach returned at left-back after recovering from his cold and we needed him there as Rahim was out with his dead leg that he suffered against Emmen. I decided that Johnnier Montano was up to starting a league match after his goalscoring performance against Emmen in the Amstel Cup. This wouldn’t please Blaise N’Kufo at all, but I hoped it would make the Swiss striker hungry enough that he would fight his way back into contention. I had the option of dropping Montano into the attacking midfielder’s spot and playing N‘Kufo, but they would mean dropping the Australian Jason Culina and that was something that his current form did not warrant. Culina had been playing excellently so far and he was proving a vital link between the midfield and the attack.

Premier Division:

de Graafschap (A)

Boschker, Schuurman, Majstorovic, Zomer, Heubach, Niemeyer, Sibum, Shoukov, Montano, Culina, Afonso.

Subs: 16-Goncalves, 69-Cziommer, 69-N’Kufo.

We jumped out of the blocks at top pace today, catching de Graafschap unprepared and we could have been two up inside the first 5 minutes. Firstly in the 3rd minute Sibum feed Culina who fired in a low shot which deflected off Karnebeek’s shin and into our opponent’s net. We were all celebrating when the referee ruled it out, saying that Montano was offside and interfering with play. It must say that in all honesty it was a very harsh decision, although perhaps strictly within the letter of the law. Just two minutes later Culina whipped in a deft free-kick from the left and Montano arrived at the far post to crash a volley against the cross bar with the keeper well beaten. After 16 minutes Shoukov signalled that he had hurt his calf muscle, so I sent on Goncalves to replace him on the left of midfield. The German almost immediately announced his presence with a fine pass inside the right-back for Afonso to run into the box and thrash a shot which van Dijk beat away. The ball dropped back at his feet though and Afonso prodded it home to put us 1-0 in front with his first ever goal for the club. It was the start that we deserved, but de Graafschap pulled level in the 31st min when Karnebeek overlapped and sent over a low cross which van Leerdam met at the near post just ahead of Zomer. He stuck out his right boot and diverted the ball inside the near post despite the best efforts of Boschker. Culina and Goncalves had chances to restore our lead before we conceded a goal at just the wrong moment in first half injury-time. Koojiman and Ax did the set-up work for Reynders to drive a low ball across the penalty area and van Beukering darted in to sidefoot it first time past Boschker from 10 yards out to put us 2-1 down.

There was nothing of note in the first fifteen minutes of the second half except for Culina and Reynders exchanging wild shots which flew high into the crowd. Then we stepped it up a notch again as Heubach raided down the left wind and sent a cross to the edge of the box where Sibum caught it sweetly on the volley. In fact it was such a perfect connection that it flew directly at van Dijk. Montano then set up Afonso for a shot, but our Swiss forward was left holding his head in his hands as the shot smacked against the post from 15 yards out. Despite our chances it was de Graafschap who netted the next goal in the 67th minute. Heubach fouled Valeev and the Bosnian defender Kalezic stepped up to curl a fabulous free-kick around the wall and into the corner of Boschker’s net to make it 3-1. I needed to try something new, so N’Kufo was bought on for the tiring Culina and Cziommer replaced Niemeyer with a brief to play further forward in the midfield. de Graafschap were happy to defend their two goal lead and it took until the 85th minute for us to work a decent chance. The substitutes played their part as N’Kufo found Cziommer in the box and he cleverly flicked the ball back for Afonso to knock it home from 8 yards out. de Graafschap had already conceded the initiative to us earlier, so they could do nothing but try to ride out the pressure whilst we vainly looked for an equaliser. Cziommer and Montano both fired in efforts which just flew wide of the post, but in the end we couldn’t get the equaliser that our 60% match possession warranted.

de Graafschap 3 van Leerdam 31, van Beukering 45, Kalezic 67

FC Twente 2 Afonso 19, 85

Afterwards I caught up with the rest of the results from the opening round. Den Bosch had beaten Roda 3-0 with goals from Jorge Beekmans, Mounir Biyadat and Jorge Bajana after Wout van Steenveldt had been sent off in the 15th minute for kicking out at Thijs van der Meulen. It was a nasty piece of work and I expect that van Steenveldt will get himself a hefty fine and a lengthy suspension. RKC beat NAC 3-2 with new free transfer signing Jordi Cruyff opening the scoring. Rick Hoogendorp added two more with Yuri Cornelisse and Mark Schenning replying for NAC. Den Haag surprised Utrecht with a 3-1 away win with former Celtic forward Jamie Smith scoring on his debut. Tom van der Leegte and Roy Stroeve added to Smith’s goal and Sander Keller got a consolation goal for the home team. A powerful second half display saw Feyenoord win 3-0 at Vitesse with Dirk Kujit, Danko Lazovic and Patrick Paauwe all finding the net. The comeback of the round belonged to NEC who came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Willem II. Erik de Kruyk opened the scoring and a double from Raymond Victoria had the Tilburg side 3-0 in front at the half-time break. However NEC rallied and Bjorn van der Doelen pulled one back before two goals in the final 10 minutes from substitute Frank Demouge tied things up. Finally the most amazing game was in Groningen where the home side lead 3-2 early in the second half against the visitors AZ, but ended up losing 5-3. Glenn Salmon, Kurt Elshot and Kasim Bizimana had scored for Groningen, cancelling out goals to Barry van Galen and Stein Huysegems, but AZ then turned on the style and Ali Elkhattabi, Denny Landzaat and a second for Huysegems took them to victory.

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Monday 13th August 2001:

There was now a calf strain to add to the list of injuries as Dmitri Shoukov was ruled out for three weeks with the injury that he suffered yesterday against de Graafschap. At least we had a reasonable amount of cover for the left side of midfield and Goncalves had certainly made a favourable impression with his performance when he had replaced Shoukov. With the Amstel Cup coming up in midweek Goncalves would get the chance to start and we would see if he could make the left-sided midfielder’s position his own.

Tuesday 14th August 2001:

Rahim joined in full training with the first team squad today. His thigh injury gave him no trouble in the series of exercises and sprints that Harry Drost put him though and Jeffrey Kooistra gave him the final okay to play.

As I caught up on some paperwork later in the day Freek van Beusekom stuck his head in though my office door and informed me that he’d let our scout Issy ten Donkelaar break his FC Twente contract and sign for Feyenoord in return for a £70K compensation package. It had been some good work by our Managing Director and it sent the right message out to anyone who wanted to deal with us.

Wednesday 15th August 2001:

With two wins from two games we were in reality already through to the next round of the Amstel Cup, but I didn’t want the players to let up at all. UNA would be keen to avert a heavy defeat as they had done well to get themselves into second place behind us on the Group 19 table. A defeat today, combined with an Emmen win over Achilles 94, would be enough to knock tonight’s opponents out of the competition. I expected that UNA would employ the same 5-3-2 or 5-4-1 defensive tactic that both Emmen and Achilles 94 had used against us.

I was going to make a couple of changes for this match – one enforced and one by choice. With Dmitri Shoukov out with a calf strain Goncalves would start on the left of midfield. I also rested Peter Niemeyer from the right of midfield and gave Simon Cziommer a start after his excellent cameo performance as a substitute against de Graafschap. I called wingers Karim El Ahmadi and Elbekay Bouchiba onto the bench with the intention of giving them a run-out in the second half if things were going well. I was tempted to give Blaise N’Kufo a start, but there seemed to be the sign of a partnership between Guilherme Afonso and Johnnier Montano starting up and I wanted to encourage it.

Amstel Cup Group 19:

UNA (H)

Boschker, Schuurman, Majstorovic, Zomer, Heubach, Cziommer, Sibum, Goncalves, Culina, Afonso, Montano.

Subs: 83-Rahim.

UNA were another amateur team who flooded their defence and midfield with the sole intention of denying us any playing room. Our lead up play was showing that we had a better temperament today. The players passed the ball around well and didn’t try to go for the killer ball with every second pass. We could have had the opening goal as early as the 9th minute if Majstorovic’s lay off from Culina’s free-kick had fallen to a striker instead of the rookie centre-half Zomer who blasted it high over the cross bar. Schuurman got himself in a shoving match with Schilder and picked up a yellow card in the 13th minute. The pair of them then had a running battle for the next twenty minutes. While that was happening we took the lead in the 17th minute as Goncalves fed Montano who in turn ripped in a blistering shot from 16 yards. UNA keeper Coolen managed to block it with his legs, but Culina was hovering and he rammed home the loose ball for his first FC Twente goal. Schuurman and Schilder’s little war reached a climax in the 36th minute when our right-back produced a two-footed lunge at the UNA striker. There was an immediate melee and when the referee managed to calm things down, he pulled out the red card and sent Schuurman off. I gave our skipper a withering look as he went past me on the way to the rooms and then set about trying to patch up the damage. I pushed the versatile Sibum into the right-back slot and pulled Montano back into the centre of midfield. Afonso would have to operate up front on his own with limited support from Culina and Montano. That took the sting out of the game and left us leading 1-0 at the half-time interval.

UNA looked a little more ambitious as the second half started. They’d obviously had a talk about their chance now that we had gone down to ten men and they’d decided they might have the chance of creating an upset. In retrospect it was a good chance for my team to work hard at their defensive duties, as well as the zonal marking and pressing style that I was trying to instil in them. Afonso was still looking dangerous up front, even though he was operating with limited support. Culina and Goncalves set Afonso up for a great chance in the 65th minute, but Coolen managed to block it with his legs. We limited UNA to a couple of long range efforts throughout the second half and then sprung a classic three-on-two breakaway in the 83rd minute. Sibum was suddenly advanced on the right wing with Afonso and Goncalves in support. We did everything perfectly as Sibum committed the left-back Adema to a challenge which gave him room to lay off a pass to Afonso. He advanced and drew the central defender Lourens before sipping it square to Goncalves. With the keeper still to the right of his net and the goalmouth gaping Goncalves choose to hit it first time instead of taking a controlling touch and he managed to screw it wide. The groans from the crowd could have been heard in Amsterdam. Credit to Goncalves though, he shook off that glaring miss and produced a lovely bit of skill a minute later as he ghosted past Adema and pulled back a low ball for Cziommer whose finishing was of a higher degree as he lashed it home from 12 yards. That made it safe at 2-0 and it was the German’s first goal for the club. There was still time for UNA to create their best chance of the match in the 89th minute when de Wit met van de Rijt’s free-kick with a diving header, but Boschker was still alert and he palmed it away with an acrobatic dive which confirmed our 2-0 victory.

FC Twente 2 Culina 17, Cziommer 84

UNA 0

As we prepared to leave the rooms after the match Jeffrey advised me that he just heard the result of the other match in our group. Achilles 94 had beaten Emmen 2-1 and knocked the First Division side out of the competition. Despite their 2-0 loss to us tonight the amateurs UNA would go through with us into the First Round draw.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

Dutch Cup - Wednesday 15th August 2001

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================================================================================================

2001/2 Tables

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Group 19

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

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1st Q Twente 3 2 0 0 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 9

2nd Q UNA 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 1 1 3 4

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3rd Achilles 94 3 1 0 1 2 2 0 0 1 0 2 3

4th Emmen 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 2 2 4 1

</pre>

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Thursday 16th August 2001:

Resit Schuurman’s sending off yesterday would have the immediate effect of a one match suspension. As first team captain I was very annoyed with the stupid way that he got himself involved in the feud with Schilder and I reprimanded him in private. If the first piece of public disciplinary action that I had to take was take was against the skipper it may have caused a few ripples within the squad. Instead I made a general reference to discipline at training today and made sure that everyone noticed that I was looking at Schuurman when I said it. I told Rahim that he would be starting at right-back against Vitesse on Sunday and he looked very keen to show me that he could hold onto the position, even after Schuurman’s suspension had completed.

Just as training was finishing Jeffrey Kooistra came over and informed the lads that we’d just been drawn at home against the amateurs Scheveningen in the Amstel Cup First Round to be played in five weeks time. That would push our league match versus AZ that had been scheduled on that particular Saturday out to a midweek fixture sometime in late October.

Friday 17th August 2001:

Jeffrey Kooistra called me just as I was about to leave the office. He’d taken the reserves to Arnhem to play Vitesse and he informed me that they picked up a 1-0 win thanks to a goal by the youth team forward Richard Noorlander. I asked him about the performances of Marc Geerts, Jordy Koster and Greg Sharland in particular. He said that Sharland was very good and was a clear man of the match. His range of his passing had been the feature of an otherwise rather drab game. Geerts had settled well into the central midfield holding role, but Koster had made had few basic errors and was not on form at all today. We also lost forward Tim Velten who’d picked up a broken toe and would be out for two weeks.

Later at home I watched the highlights of tonight’s Premier Division match and saw Gerald Sibon score the only goal of the game for PSV in their 1-0 win away at Roda. It wasn’t a vintage PSV performance, but it gave them two wins from their opening two matches and things would only most likely improve. Skipper Mark van Bommel was in superb form for PSV on the night.

There was also a follow-up story on the disciplinary hearing for Roda’s Wout van Steenveldt who had been sent off for kicking Den Bosch’s Thijs van der Meulen in last weekend’s opening round. The viciousness of van Steenveldt’s action was matched by the severity of his suspension and he was banned for ten Dutch matches on top of his automatic one match suspension for a red card offence.

Saturday 18th August 2001:

I dropped into my office before today’s early training session and went through my in-tray to see what items of information my secretary had left for me. The national squads had been selected for the upcoming round of internationals and four of the squad had received call-ups. Guilherme Afonso and Blaise N’Kufo had been called up to the Swiss team for their match against Hungary. I made a note to see if I could ascertain from the Swiss management what the chances were of either of the players getting a game that weekend. N’Kufo in particular could use a run-out as he had already started to slip behind Montano and Afonso in the pecking order here at FC Twente.

I was pleased to see that Ramon Zomer had received a call-up to Dutch Under-21 squad. That would do the youngster’s confidence no end of good. I ran my eye over remainder of the Under-21 squad – there were some new faces in there from what I recalled had been the previous squad last April. The usual swag of Ajax youngsters – five this time – had been selected along with a good mix of players from various Premier Division clubs. Indeed, only Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, Hertha Berlin’s Nando Rafael and Zwolle’s Hermen Hogenkamp were from clubs outside of Holland’s top flight.

Finally there was a call-up for Peter Niemeyer to the German Under-21 team and that was a good reward for the hard-working midfielder.

I felt like I had been working for years since I had taken over the FC Twente managerial position, but it was actually just one month. I celebrated at home on my own tonight with half a dozen Heinekens and my feet up in front of the television. Of course, being a manager is a full time job and it wasn’t long before I had the TV on the football round-up to catch up on today’s Premier Division results. Den Haag had posted their second win with a 2-1 win over RKC. Roy Stroeve and Cedric van der Gun had cancelled out Rick Hoogendorp’s opener for the visitors. RBC had followed up their first round win over Ajax with a 3-0 victory over our conquerors de Graafschap. It was a Danish feast for RBC as Sammy Youssouf (2) and Jesper Hakansson scored the goals for the team from Roosendaal.

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Sunday 19th August 2001:

Vitesse’s first match of the season has been a 3-0 home loss to Feyenoord and they were obviously smarting from that defeat. I was sure that they would be fired up to get something from their trip to Enschede. They’d employed a 3-5-2 formation on their last start and I didn’t expect my counterpart Edward Sturing would change things too early in the season. There were a number of players in their side that would bear careful watching by their direct opponents today. Thankfully their most dangerous striker Matthew Amoah was out with a groin strain, but midfielder Theo Janssen and winger Nick Hofs would both be dangerous. In defence the impressive young Ruud Knol would give Afonso and Montano a hard fight.

My general preference as a manager was to find my best eleven and stick with them. I wasn’t a real fan of the squad rotation system. However injuries and suspensions are a part of football and changes would be required, but not too frequently I hoped. Rahim was the only change to the team that UNA 2-0 in the previous match as he came in for the suspended Resit Schuurman at right-back.

Premier Division:

Vitesse (H)

Boschker, Rahim, Majstorovic, Zomer, Heubach, Cziommer, Sibum, Goncalves, Culina, Afonso, Montano.

Subs: 74-N’Kufo.

There was a healthy crowd of around 12,000 fans in the Arke Stadion for our opening league match of the season. Cziommer was relishing his starting role and he set up Sibum and Montano in the first five minutes for chances which neither player could finish. The clearest opening came in the 13th minute when the overlapping Rahim ran onto Sibum’s fine pass and sent a low ball into the box for Afonso to hit it first time from 14 yards out. Vitesse’s Jevric did well to beat it away and van den Berg completed the save by hacking it upfield. Montano continued to show glimpses of his tremendous skills when he picked up Culina’s header and cheekily tried to chip Jevric from 25 yards, only to see the ball drop onto the roof of the net. Montano was also frightening the Vitesse defence with his sublime dribbling skills and he caused panic when he ran at the heart of the visitor’s defence in the 24th minute. Only a desperate lunge by Vreven stopped Montano breaking into the box. However the ball broke to Sibum and he sent a lovely chip to the far post where Afonso was able to stretch out and toe-poke the ball past Jevric via the post to put us 1-0 up. Such was our dominance that Vitesse hadn’t managed a shot on our goal in the opening 30 minutes. Their manager Edward Sturing was forced into a tactical reshuffle, taking off young midfielder Dors and bringing on left-back Jansen as he changed from a 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 formation. That curbed our dominance a bit and allowed Vitesse to create their first chance in the 42nd minute when Knopper fired in a 20 yard effort which Boschker needed to fist away.

All our efforts still only had us 1-0 up as the second half started and Vitesse seemed to step up a gear as the game resumed. Right-winger Hofs was looking dangerous and he was proving a handful for Heubach. Twice he got to the bye-line and sent over menacing crosses. Firstly Atanasov headed just over the cross bar in the 51st minute and then secondly Rojer made a much better contact in the 56th minute only to see Boschker turn it away with a diving save. We responded well to the pressure and Majstorovic saw his header from Cziommer’s corner cleared off the line in the 67th minute. Cziommer himself then had a great chance as Goncalves drove a low ball across the box in the 73rd minute and the German caught his half-volley with precision, then watched as Jevric somehow got a hand to it to deflect it away. Despite scoring the only goal so far Afonso had not done much else and I decided to bring him off and send on N’Kufo in the 74th minute. It proved to be one of those decisive substitutions that just seem to come off perfectly every now and then. N’Kufo had been on the pitch barely three minutes when he ran onto Cziommer’s flicked header and launched a thumping shot past Jevric from 16 yards to make it 2-0. That knocked the stuffing out of Vitesse’s challenge and we capped off the day with a third goal when N’Kufo scored his second in the 87th minute, firing home the rebound after Jevric could only parry Culina’s low shot. It was a great cameo performance from the Swiss striker and it would give me plenty to think about when it came to the team selection for the next match.

FC Twente 3 Afonso 24, N’Kufo 77, 87

Vitesse 0

As the players celebrated our first win in the bar at the stadium afterwards, I took the chance to slip into the boardroom and turn the television on to see the early summary of today’s matches. Ajax had got a win over NAC, although they’d had to struggle for their 3-2 victory. Zdenek Grygera had opened the scoring before Anaour Diba equalised for NAC. Free transfer signing Michael Mols then made it 2-1 before NAC equalised again through Yuri Cornelisse. Mols had the final word with his second goal in the 87th minute to win the match. It was good to see the champions struggling early in the season. Feyenoord had beaten Groningen 1-0 with the South Korean defender Song Jong-Kook scoring the only goal whilst Heerenveen had a similar 1-0 win over Utrecht thanks to the Swede Stefan Selakovic. Finally Den Bosch were the surprise league leaders after they won 4-2 at NEC. Frank Demouge and Jaromir Simr scored for NEC whilst Brayton Biekman, Jorge Bajana and a late double by Dennis Schulp were the replies by Den Bosch.

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Monday 20th August 2001:

I took the first team squad for a light training session today, mainly just to run the kinks and knocks out after our good 3-0 win over Vitesse yesterday. I was quite noticeable that the general morale was high after our win. The players joked and fooled around and I didn’t discourage it as I feel that it is generally good to have things relaxed and easy where possible. Of course there are times when it is better to have the players all fired up, but that usually occurs in the build-up to a big match.

The physios also had some good news for me when the allowed defender Karim Touzani to join in the training session as he recovered from his shoulder injury. Touzani definitely won’t be fit to play at Groningen next Sunday, but with a week’s break coming up for international fixtures he should be fine to return to the first team against RBC on Sunday 9th September.

Wednesday 22nd August 2001:

The past few days had been relatively quiet in terms of domestic football news. The team was already starting to fall into place and Jeffrey and I were getting a good feel for the quality of the talent that we had at our disposal. However there was European football tonight as PSV completed their Champions Cup group stage qualification as they won 2-0 in Cyprus against APOEL Nicosia. Gerald Sibon had scored twice for the Eindhoven side and they recorded a 5-0 aggregate win. That would put them into the Phase 1 group draw alongside Ajax who had been seeded in the competition.

Thursday 23rd August 2001:

The draw for the Champions Cup Phase 1 groups was made in Zurich today. PSV got a tough draw when they were paired with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Panathinaikos whilst Ajax got a slightly more favourable draw when they were placed with Inter Milan, Lyon and PAOK Salonika.

Ajax’s fixtures required that two league matches be shifted and we were one of the teams affected when our home match in Enschede on Wednesday 12th September was moved to Wednesday 12th December to accommodate a Champions Cup tie.

Friday 24th August 2001:

The draw for the First Round of the UEFA Cup was made in Zurich today. Holland has four teams – AZ, Feyenoord, Heerenveen and Utrecht – in the competition and they have all been seeded for the opening rounds.

Again the European fixtures necessitated that one of our games be shifted and our away game with Feyenoord in Rotterdam which was to have been played on Wednesday 26th September has now been pushed back to Wednesday 31st October instead.

Harry Drost had further good news for me today as Dmitri Shoukov began light training following his calf strain. Just like Touzani he should be fit to resume after the international break. It was just these two players who were making use of the treatment room at the moment and I hoped that I’d be able to have a clean bill of health in the first team squad when they had fully recovered from their injuries.

Having got the first team squad into some sort of shape, it was time to look at the remainder of the club’s resources. I asked Jeffrey Kooistra to go over all the players in the reserve and youth teams. He was to sort out who should stay and who should go and to then set up a solid nucleus of players in the reserve team. Hopefully several of these players would go on to become future first team stars. With 23 players currently in my first team squad, I would need to do some trimming myself. Only 18 players could be selected in a match day squad and I didn’t want anyone losing any more match time than was possible. A couple of the current first team squad would have to drop down to the reserves on a more regular basis and await their chance for a run in the senior team

I order to see just what Jeffrey had to do I accompanied him to the reserves home match with Groningen tonight. I must say that if I had been an independent observer, then I would have found the match very entertaining. The reserves beat Groningen 4-3 and I was pleased to see the solid performances of Greg Sharland, Marc Geerts and Jordy Koster, all of whom I had already used in the first team this season. 17 year old forward Peter van Putten caught my eye with his good technique and fine crossing, then he impressed me even more with a brave diving header to score a goal right on half-time. Wim de Wit, a 16 year old right-sided wing-back, seemed to have some potential as did another 16 year old in forward Gerald Postma who came on for the final 30 minutes of the game. There seemed to be a bit of talent for Jeffrey to work with and mull over and I left him after the match as he was still chatting to the youngsters in the team.

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Saturday 25th August 2001:

There were two games in the Premier Division today. Surprise leaders Den Bosch kept up their fine form with a very good 3-1 over AZ. After Koen van der Laak opened the scoring for Den Bosch, it was Robin Nelisse who equalised almost straight away for AZ. In the second half the impressive young Ecuadorian forward Jorge Bajana scored twice to seal Den Bosch’s victory. PSV were held 0-0 at home by NEC, a result made all the more admirable by the fact that NEC played with ten men from the 50th minute. The sending-off occurred when NEC’s Polish striker Andrzej Niedzielan retaliated to a foul committed by PSV’s Andre Ooijer and lashed out with his boot at the defender who was lying on the ground at the time.

Sunday 26th August 2001:

Today’s opponents Groningen had lost both of their opening matches in the Premier Division. A high-scoring 5-3 home defeat by AZ had been followed up with a 1-0 loss at Feyenoord. Already things weren’t looking good for manager Ron Jans and his team. Ron was a bread-and-butter 4-4-2 man and I didn’t expect to get anything else but that when the team he selected made its way out onto the park. Our defence would need to keep an eye on the South African striker Glenn Salmon who had just joined Groningen this year after several prolific seasons with NAC. Another player who would be pumped up to play us was the former FC Twente forward Chris De Witte who had left us in the off-season.

I had no reason to change our winning side from last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Vitesse. Two changes were considered, but ultimately rejected. Resit Schuurman was available after his one match suspension for his red card, but Rahim had performed very well in the right-back spot against Vitesse, so I felt that he deserved to hold his place. Schuurman was not pleased when I told him that he would only be on the bench, but previous reputations carried nothing with me. It was what a player did from day one under my control. Schuurman had stupidly got himself sent off in the Amstel Cup and now he was paying the price for it. The other possible change was the re-introduction of Blaise N’Kufo to forward line after his goalscoring double as a substitute in the previous match. However as much as I would have liked to fit him in, the question was who to take out if I did so. Afonso was scoring freely, so he couldn’t be dropped. Montano had one goal to his name so far, but he was improving every week and his dribbling and off-the-ball movement created havoc with opposing defences. In the end, as much as I wanted to find a place for N’Kufo, I just couldn’t. He would have to remain on the bench again this week.

Premier Division:

Groningen (A)

Boschker, Rahim, Majstorovic, Zomer, Heubach, Cziommer, Sibum, Goncalves, Culina, Afonso, Montano.

Subs: 73-N’Kufo.

It was a pleasing start to the match for the team as we got on top of Groningen early in the vital midfield department. Sibum, Cziommer and Culina were all prominent in the first 15 minutes and the Groningen keeper Roorda was already starting to earn his wages. Montano had the first clear chance after 5 minutes as he headed Rahim’s free-kick towards the top corner, only to see Roorda claw it away. A few minutes later and it was Culina who was frustrated as his header was tipped over for a corner. Groningen’s best chance was a free-kick by Hugo, but our defensive wall did its job perfectly and blocked the shot. The first goal of the match was deservedly ours and it arrived in the 18th minute. Goncalves again showed his eye for a precision pass as he sent Afonso galloping away. Elshot managed to track back with him and got in a tackle just as Afonso was about to shoot, but the ball ricocheted across the edge of the box. With the defence all at sea, it was Cziommer who picked up the loose ball and fired a rising shot past Roorda from 14 yards out. To give credit to Groningen at this point, they responded with several attacks that put us under strong pressure. Boschker was now the busiest keeper as he denied Salmon by holding his powerful header and then foiled Krstev by diving to his left to parry the Macedonian’s scorching 20 yarder. By the time that the first half came to an end, the possession had been evenly shared, but we had the only goal of the match so far.

The second half was a tighter, closer affair as Groningen started to get more into the match in the middle of the park. We still conjured up a couple of decent chances which Roorda resolutely denied us from finishing. Firstly he tipped over Culina’s curling free-kick in the 57th minute and then he made an ever better diving save as Sibum marauded through the middle and rifled in a dipping 20 yard effort in the 72nd minute. It was at this point that I decided to make the same substitution as last week. Afonso was called off and his fellow Swiss striker N’Kufo was sent on in his place. N’Kufo immediately set about finding a goal for himself, firstly shooting wide from Cziommer’s pass, then heading Heubach’s cross inches over the cross bar. Although we only had a 1-0 lead I just felt that we were going to have no trouble holding on for the victory. It just seemed that Groningen weren’t doing enough to notch a goal for themselves. Bizimana had their final chance in the 84th minute when the ball fell kindly to him for a volley at goal, but Majstorovic bravely lunged at him, making him strike it early and it flew over the cross bar. There was still time for Goncalves to come close to doubling our lead in injury-time when he rifled in a half-volley from 18 yards, but Roorda tipped it over with a nonchalant flick of his right hand.

Groningen 0

FC Twente 1 Cziommer 18

In the remaining fixtures of this weekend’s round of matches De Haag maintained their 100% record and second place behind Den Bosch with a 2-0 win against NAC. Roy Stroeve and Spira Grujic had scored the goals. Jochem Janssen and Alfred Schreuder (2) had found the net for RKC as they beat Heerenveen 3-2 with Victor Sikora and Yuri Rose replying for the visitors. Utrecht and Roda had shared four goals in a 2-2 draw with Jean-Paul de Jong and Richal Leitoe scoring for Utrecht and Gregor van Dijk and Edrissa Sonko scoring for Roda. Another British player who was doing well in the Dutch league was Northern Ireland’s James Quinn and he scored a 70th minute winner for Willem II against Feyenoord in a 2-1 victory. Earlier Frank van Mosselveld had opened the scoring for Willem II, but that had been equalised by Feyenoord’s Danko Lazovic. Ajax continued to win as they took all three points in a 3-0 win at de Graafschap. Michael Mols, Yannis Anastasiou and Rafael van der Vaart scored for the Amsterdam club whilst Dick Kooijman‘s early penalty miss for de Graafschap didn’t help their cause at all. The game of the round was at the Gelredome in Arnhem where the home side got their first win of the season in a high scoring encounter against RBC. There were seven first half goals as Vitesse lead 4-3 at the break and went on the record a 6-3 victory. Sammy Youssouf’s first half hat-trick for RBC was matched by Theo Janssen and Matthew Amoah (2) before an Igor Gluscevic penalty put Vitesse in front. Ruud Knol and Peter van den Berg then extended the lead in the second half in this nine-goal thriller.

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Monday 27th August 2001:

In the post Rini Coolen era it seems that all of the previous staff were fair game as far as the other clubs were concerned. Managing Director Freek van Beusekom told me today that there had been an offer for another of the scouts that Coolen had employed in his time at FC Twente. Bennie Brinkman was man who was wanted by FC Utrecht. It was no use fighting a move like this. If the guy didn’t want to stay with us, then the quality of his work just dropped and he became useless. I told Freek to sort out the same kind of deal as he had done with ten Donkelaar and Feyenoord a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday 29th August 2001:

Now we have a bidding war for a scout. Apparently Bennie Brinkman’s services are that well respected that an offer from AZ Alkmaar had been lodged as well. Freek indicated that he would play the two bidding clubs off against each other and let Brinkman go to the one that offered the best compensation package. I think that Freek was actually enjoying this sort of stuff, but to a hard-nosed businessman like him, it was also all in a day’s work.

Of more enjoyment to someone in the position of being a football manager was the news that one of his key defenders was fit again after injury. Karim Touzani was allowed to resume full training today and he should be back in peak condition by the time that our next league match is due in eleven days time.

Thursday 30th August 2001:

I knew that it was too good to be true. Just as we got a clean bill of health on all the players from the medical staff, we go and pick up a new injury. The unfortunate recipient was centre-half Jordy Koster who received a nasty gash in his head at training today. Koster didn’t seem too concerned with the problem and wanted to continue training, but the blood just poured from wound no matter how much he tried to staunch it. Eventually Harry Drost got him into the rooms and cleared it up, then announced it would need a visit to the hospital and at least ten stitches to close it up. Harry reckoned that Koster would miss around ten days, but at least it happened when we don’t have another match for roughly the same period of time.

Another ten match ban was handed out by the disciplinary tribunal tonight as NEC’s Polish striker Andrzej Niedzielan was suspended for his nasty foul on PSV’s Andre Ooijer in last weekend’s round of matches. The powers-that-be are obviously looking to stamp out all traces of serious foul play in the Dutch game and they must feel that a series of harsh suspensions will show the way.

Friday 31st August 2001:

There was an official club function on this evening and Jeffrey and I, plus all of the players, were required to attend. The chairman was hosting a dinner for all of the club’s sponsors. It was a chance for the people who put their names on the cheques that helped keep this club running to rub shoulders with the players and mingle with management and coaching staff.

I’d been to many of these types of events over my playing career and I found that there tended to be two types of people who were in attendance. The first sort was those who were genuinely interested in football and the club and these people were generally quite pleasant to talk to. The second sort was the people who were involved purely for the publicity and glamour of associating with the “football starsâ€. These people tended to annoy the hell out of me. I had been stuck talking to one of the second types for five minutes – a young advertising company executive – who was keen to tell me how FC Twente needed to have several more players with a higher media identity to raise the profile of the club. I was rapidly losing my temper with him and I suddenly snapped, What about the standard of the player’s skills? This is a football club, not a ****ing modelling agency! I turned and walked away, leaving the idiot standing there with his jaw dropped to the floor. I headed out the back of the function room, suddenly having time to think about what had happened and hoping I hadn’t caused a problem with one of the club’s major sponsors.

I walked into the boardroom to have a break and saw that the television was on and there was a figure sitting in front of it. It was the chairman Herman Wessels and he was watching the football round-up. He looked around when he heard me come in and motioned me over with a wave of his hand. I can’t stand too many of these functions myself, he told me. I nodded in agreement, then he said I’m just catching up on the Under-21 internationals; I wanted to see how young Zomer went in his first match. We watched for a couple of minutes and then the highlights of Holland’s Under-21 match in Rotterdam against Spain came on. Ramon Zomer had been named on the bench, but he had come on in the 55th minute to play in the centre of defence. However it appears that his team had gone down 1-0 to Spain courtesy of a 39th minute penalty by Marques. The post match review gave Zomer 7 out of 10 for his performance. We then watched as the other match highlights were shown. We caught a glimpse of Peter Niemeyer as he played in Germany’s 2-1 win over England in Manchester. Niemeyer was also rated 7 out of 10 for his performance in the post match review.

Later on that night I sat at home and took stock of things after the first month of matches. We were sitting in 6th place on the Premier Division table and we had progressed through to the First Round of the Amstel Cup. The only blight on proceedings had been the 3-2 loss at de Graafschap on the opening day of the season. With the international break on this weekend I planned to give the players a bit more of a physical workout to compensate for the lack of a game. There were several players who were still nowhere near the top of their fitness and I didn’t want us getting caught out by fitter teams in the upcoming weeks.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

Dutch Premier Division - Friday 31st August 2001

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

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1st Den Bosch 3 2 0 0 6 1 1 0 0 4 2 9

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2nd Den Haag 3 1 0 0 2 1 2 0 0 5 1 9

3rd PSV 3 1 1 0 2 1 1 0 0 1 0 7

4th Ajax 3 1 0 0 3 2 1 0 1 4 2 6

5th Twente 3 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 1 3 3 6

6th Feyenoord 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 4 2 6

7th RBC 3 2 0 0 5 1 0 0 1 3 6 6

8th RKC 3 2 0 0 6 4 0 0 1 1 2 6

9th Willem II 2 1 1 0 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 4

10th AZ 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 6 3

11th Heerenveen 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 3 5 3

12th Vitesse 3 1 0 1 6 6 0 0 1 0 3 3

13th de Graafschap 3 1 0 1 3 5 0 0 1 0 3 3

14th NEC 3 0 0 1 2 4 0 2 0 3 3 2

15th Utrecht 3 0 1 1 3 5 0 0 1 0 1 1

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Roda 3 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 2 5 1

17th NAC 3 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 2 4 6 0

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18th Groningen 3 0 0 2 3 6 0 0 1 0 1 0

</pre>

There was always something new popping up to keep a football manager on his toes. It was never as easy as those armchair critics would have you believe. So far I had had a fairly trouble-free ride at FC Twente. There’d been no fights in nightclubs, no newspaper exposés on any of the players and their private lives and there had been no in-fighting at the club that I knew of. I was hopeful that it would stay that way, but you could never tell what was just around the corner in this game of football.

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Thanks Bob. I'm trying to make this my main story for 2005 and I want to get into the day-to-day world of the manager, not just the team results. I just have to make sure that I don't make it too boring or repetitive. icon_smile.gif

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Saturday 1st September 2001:

As a former international I was always keen to see how the fortunes of the national team fared. Holland had a friendly against Spain at the Amsterdam Arena today and it marked the first match in charge for new manager Marco van Basten. Unfortunately for the former Ajax and AC Milan great it was not a winning start as his team fell 3-2 to the Spaniards. van Basten played a 3-5-2 formation and the contest was closely fought in the first half as Holland slightly shaded the Spaniards in terms of possession and shots on goal. The first half ended tied at 0-0 at the break. Both sides made four changes at half-time and Holland struck first in the 52nd minute when Davids long range shot flew past a leaden-footed Canizares in the Spanish goal. But then the Dutch defence backed off the hard-running Salva and he advanced to fire past Westerveld to make it 1-1 in the 61st minute. Holland retook the lead in the 67th minute when Melchiot headed in van Bronckhorst’s free-kick, but again the advantage was short-lived as Raul equalised at 2-2 when he tapped home the rebound after Westerveld could only parry Salva’s header. A draw may have been a fair result at this stage, but Salva had other ideas and his speculative long range effort in the 81st minute deflected off de Zeeuw to wrong-foot Westerveld and give Spain a 3-2 win.

Holland 2 Davids 52, Melchiot 67

Spain 3 Salva 61, 81, Raul 73

van der Sar, Melchiot, Paauwe, Hofland, Oude Kamphuis, Boateng, Davids, van Bronckhorst, Seedorf, van Nistelrooy, Robben.

Subs: 46-Westerveld, 46-Boulahrouz, 46-De Zeeuw, 46-Hasselbaink, 90-Makaay.

In other international action, both our Swiss stars Blaise N’Kufo and Guilherme Afonso played in Switzerland’s 3-2 loss in Hungary. N’Kufo started the match but was substituted in the 51st minute, whilst Afonso made his international debut as a 73rd minute substitute. Neither player was able to get on the scoresheet.

Monday 3rd September 2001:

The injured players list shrunk down to one today after midfielder Dmitri Shoukov and reserves forward Tim Velten were both declared fit to resume full training.

Another deal has been done by Managing Director Freek van Beusekom as he completed a deal that saw FC Twente receive £45K in a compensation package from AZ Alkmaar in return for the services of scout Bennie Brinkman. I’m using a couple of contacts in a non-contracted scouting role at the moment, but I think that I may have to tie up a few official deals regarding scouts in the next few weeks.

Thursday 6th September 2001:

Jeffrey Kooistra’s review of the reserve and youth ranks had its first official results today. It was decided that 17 year old forward Peter van Putten should be awarded a senior contract and the youngster signed a three year deal with the club. van Putten was very pleased to sign his new contract under the watchful eye of his proud father who was a lifelong FC Twente fan. A player who will be heading the other way soon is central midfielder Johan Plageman. Jeffrey feels that the 20 year old will not make the grade and he has been placed on the transfer list. If no offers are received by the winter break then we will most likely release him from his contract.

Friday 7th September 2001:

In the traditional Friday night Premier Division fixture Willem II won 1-0 at Roda to leave the Kerkrade side winless with only one point from their four matches. Skipper Michel Kreek scored the only goal for Willem II in the 67th minute after Roda went down to ten men with the 25th minute dismissal of Edrissa Sonko for pushing Kreek over during a first half melee.

Saturday 8th September 2001:

It appears that if you want to see goals, then go and watch AZ play. There was yet another high-scoring Premier Division match involving the team from Alkmaar during today’s round of matches. AZ beat Vitesse 4-3 after finding themselves 0-3 down at half-time. Igor Gluscevic (2) and Ruud Knol had Vitesse in front, but AZ roared back in the second half through Tarik Sektioui, Robin Nelisse (2) and a winner from captain Denny Landzaat. Den Haag took over the league leadership with an excellent 2-1 win over PSV with all goals coming in a 12 minute spell midway through the second half. Cedric van der Gun, on loan from Ajax, opened the scoring for Den Haag before Wilfried Bouma equalised for PSV. Geert den Ouden then headed a winner for the team from the capital. Former league leaders Den Bosch dropped to second place after being held 2-2 at Heerenveen. Brayton Biekman had opened the scoring for Den Bosch, but Mika Vayrynan levelled things and Arnold Bruggink scored his first for Heerenveen after his return from Spain. It looked as if Heerenveen would take the win until substitute Berry Powel fired in a superb 88th minute equaliser for Den Bosch. In the final of the day’s matches NAC and Utrecht also fought out a 2-2 draw. NAC picked up their first point of the season with goals from Anthony Lurling and Pieter Collen, but they should have had all three points as Utrecht left it late to score twice in the final ten minutes through young striker Prince Rajcomar.

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Sunday 9th September 2001:

Today’s opponents were RBC from Roosendaal and their manager Jan van Dijk had them playing an attacking 3-5-2 formation. It had given them two wins and a loss in their three matches and fans at those matches had witnessed an 8-7 goal tally in favour of RBC. It was two Danish players that were leading the way for RBC so far this season and they would need close attention during the match. Striker Sammy Youssouf had already found the net five times in three matches, including a hat-trick in the 3-6 loss to Vitesse last week. Attacking midfielder Jesper Hakansson was on loan from Heerenveen, but he had made a dominating start to the season in the RBC midfield. He was also capable of finding the net on a regular basis.

I had decided on two changes for this week’s match. Karim Touzani returned to the centre-half position and Ramon Zomer dropped down to the bench. Up front Johnnier Montano had been afflicted with a slight chest cold and I decided to move him to the bench and give Blaise N’Kufo the start that he had earned. It was a luxury to have Montano available if I needed to use him later in the match. The fit-again Dmitri Shoukov found himself on the bench now that Goncalves had taken possession of the left midfield spot with his recent fine performances.

Premier Division:

RBC (H)

Boschker, Rahim, Majstorovic, Touzani, Heubach, Cziommer, Sibum, Goncalves, Culina, Afonso, N’Kufo.

Subs: 72-Montano, 72-Shoukov.

Within minutes of the start Sibum was the dominant figure. He seemed to be everywhere in the opening quarter of an hour. One moment he was putting in a saving tackle in defence, the next he was threatening the RBC goal. It was Sibum who created the clearest opening for the first goal in the 11th minute as he found some room on the right and chipped a pass to Cziommer on the edge of the penalty area. Cziommer volleyed it first time and it rattled against the cross bar with RBC keeper Aerts well beaten. In the 17th minute Heubach made a good run from deep on the left. He beat his opposing full-back de Graaf and sent over an enticing cross which Afonso met with a powerful header to give us a 1-0 lead. N’Kufo wasn’t as accurate with a similar chance that he received in the 23rd minute, then Afonso saw Aerts save his half-volley from 15 yards out in the 27th minute. It was one-way football and only desperate defending by Hesp stopped us going 2-0 up in the 30th minute. N’Kufo did brilliantly on the right wing, beating Van de Ven and Hellemons and then chipping the ball over the advancing keeper Aerts. It was directed straight at Culina, but the height of the cross meant that he had to stand and wait for it to arrive before heading it home and in that time Hesp bravely raced back to dive and just deflect it away before Culina could score. With all the pressure that we were exerting, a second goal had to come soon. Sibum was the instigator, powering through from the midfield to fire in a 20 yard effort which Aerts could only block and leaving Cziommer with a simple tap-in from six yards. At half-time we lead 2-0 and Boschker had not had a serious save to make.

A slow start to the second half by our team didn’t impress me, but at least RBC was also kept quiet. RBC fashioned their first serious chance in the 60th minute when the Danish attacking midfielder Hakansson, scorer of three goals in three games so far this season, ran onto Oliseh’s pass and volleyed just wide from the edge of the box. As RBC prepared to take a free-kick I decided that my team needed pepping up and so I sent on Montano for Afonso and Shoukov for Goncalves. I had forgotten the old adage not to make a substitution on a defensive free-kick or before defending a corner. There didn’t appear to be anything wrong with the marking, but Youssouf leapt well to head in Smolders free-kick and it was 2-1 in the 72nd minute. Sibum was still dictating play in the middle of the park and in the 80th minute he sent over a cross which Montano headed well, only to see Aerts push it away for a corner. Cziommer took the corner and N’Kufo out-jumped Oliseh to head home and restore our two-goal lead at 3-1. There was time in the last ten minutes for RBC to win their first corner of the match when Boschker tipped over de Graaf’s 20 yard effort, but Cziommer almost gave us a bigger winning margin when his close range volley hit the outside of the post in injury time. It was another excellent win and Sibum was a deserving MOM.

FC Twente 3 Afonso 17, Cziommer 38, N’Kufo 80

RBC 1 Youssouf 72

In the other matches Ajax skipper Rafael van der Vaart scored twice as his side beat RKC 2-0. Fellow giants Feyenoord also won 2-0 as Dirk Kujit and Shinji Ono netted against de Graafschap. NEC beat Groningen 3-1 in Nijmegen, but not before Glenn Salmon gave the visitors the lead. The prolific Frank Demouge scored twice and Romano Denneboom added a third as NEC completed their comeback.

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Tuesday 11th September 2001:

I spent the afternoon with Jeffrey as he worked with some of the young players at the club. He had been sifting through the youth team and the reserves for nearly three weeks now and he had a fairly good idea of what sort of talent we had on our books. We watched together as the players went through some five-a-side games, working on their close control and first touch skills. I pointed out a young blonde lad, who despite his boyish face, was already quite well-built in the upper body and thighs. That’s Rene Lord, Jeffrey told me. He’s not on our books, but we’ve got him here on trial. He’s very impressive. He plays in the midfield and if he can keep his weight under control, then there’s a good chance that he would make an excellent midfield enforcer or holding player. I nodded in agreement at Jeffrey’s appraisal. The youngster certainly stood out from the other 16 year olds that he was training with. We’ve got another young lad on trial that’s even better than Lord, Jeffrey continued. He’s only 15, but coming up to his 16th birthday. He plays left midfield or up front and has magical ball skills, but he’s not here today. I’d certainly like you to take a look at him, Peter. Do you think you could make it for Thursday afternoon’s session when the lad is here? Jeffrey sounded very keen on this youngster, so I agreed to come to the next youth team training session in two days time.

There was an evening match in the Premier Division tonight as the surprise league leaders Den Haag visited second placed Den Bosch. Centre-half Joost Volmer opened the scoring for Den Bosch midway through the first half, but Roy Stroeve equalised early in the second half for Den Haag. The tight contest was finally broken in Den Bosch’s favour with an 80th minute strike by Belgian substitute Vincent Euvrard which registered a 2-1 and sent Den Bosch to the top of the table.

The Phase 1 Group stage of the Champions Cup also started tonight and PSV had a poor start as they crashed 2-0 at home to Bayern Munich who scored through Ballack and Ze Roberto in the second half.

Wednesday 12th September 2001:

With the first team sitting in 4th place and morale amongst the senior players at a high level, it made for an easy training session with the players this morning. In my mind I had already settled on around six players who were my first choice, although I hadn’t communicated those thoughts to the team. Boschker in goal, Majstorovic and Touzani at centre-half, Sibum and Cziommer in the midfield and Culina in the advanced midfielder/forward role were all fairly certain of being on the team-sheet for each match if their form continued and they steered clear of injury. However there was still quite a deal of competition for the other places between the players that suited each of those positions. To keep things at an upbeat pitch I told the players that I would use the upcoming Amstel Cup match against Scheveningen in ten days time as a trial match. This would give some of those players who hadn’t seen much activity so far a chance to show me what they were capable of. In particular Wellenberg, El Ahmadi, Bouchiba, Fafiani and Christensen would all be hoping to get the chance to show me that they were deserving of a run in the first team.

In the afternoon I made myself available in the boardroom as a further two youngsters signed their first senior contracts with FC Twente. Gerald Postma was the first to sign and the 16 year old forward joined for the next three years. The second player was 16 year old Wim de Wit, a right-sided wing-back and he also signed a three year deal. Both lads would move from the youth academy and take up a permanent role in the reserves as we worked on their skills to see whether they had what it took to be a professional footballer.

Two games were contested in the Premier Division tonight. Vitesse had a 4th minute strike from Igor Gluscevic to thank for their 1-0 win over NEC. The game in Groningen between the home side and visitors Roda got of to an explosive start with a two goals and a sending off in the opening 20 minutes. Jeremy Overbeek-Bloem started off proceedings with the open for Roda, but Groningen hit back almost immediately with an equaliser by Chris De Witte. Roda’s Brazilian forward Christiano then lost the plot and punched Groningen’s Glenn Salmon, earning himself an instant red card. Ten man Roda held out until the final minute of the match when Hungarian defender Boldizsar Bodor was adjudged to have fouled Brazilian midfielder Hugo in the box. Groningen’s Macedonian midfielder Mile Krstev then scored from the penalty spot to give his team a 2-1 victory.

Holland’s other representative in the Champions Cup was Ajax and they began their Phase 1 Group stage with a 2-2 home draw against POAK Salonika. Michael Mols scored twice in the first half, but those goals were cancelled out by Egomitis and Salpiggidis for the Greeks in the second half.

Thursday 13th September 2001:

I quietly wandered over to the reserve team training session that Jeffrey was conducting in combination with the youth team and their coach. They had a full-scale match in progress at the moment and the reserve and youth players had been evenly spread about between the two teams. I watched for around ten minutes and there was one boy who was quite obviously technically superior to all the other players on the pitch. He was dark-skinned, possibly of Surinamese extract originally. He was playing in an advanced left-sided role and his ball-skills and eye for a pass were of a high quality. If this lad was currently unattached, then FC Twente should certainly snap him up straight away. I’d make sure of it by handling the negotiations personally if necessary. The more I watched the lad play, the more he began to remind me of someone. An image nagged at my memory, but I couldn’t place who it was that the lad was similar to.

Jeffrey had been over on the far side of the pitch talking to the youth team coach, but he had finally spotted me and he made his way around to where I was. Don’t worry, I can already tell who your little prodigy is, I said as he wandered over. Jeffrey nodded at my comment and then said Yes, he’s a quality youngster alright. He tells me that we won’t have any competition from any other clubs for his signature as he doesn’t want to play for anyone else except FC Twente. I laughed softly. A right little Tukker, is he? What’s his name? Jeffrey smiled at my comment and answered Martin Hofstede. My heart jumped a beat when I heard that surname. Jeffrey continued He tells me that he wants to follow in his brother’s footsteps. Apparently his brother played for FC Twente about 14 years ago. The image that I had been trying to remember earlier was coming back to me now. Did he tell you what was his brother’s name was? I asked Jeffrey. He scratched his head for a moment as he thought. Jordy, yes that’s right, Jordy Hofstede.

My mind suddenly swirled back into the past. My God, Jordy Hofstede.

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Thursday 13th September 2001:

It was taking me an inordinate amount of time to make my way through the undergrowth. It didn’t help that it was a dark, moonless night and my vision was limited to just a few feet in front of me. The branches of the small bushes and low trees seemed to clutch at my legs and slow me down. The long grass that I was walking though felt like it was wrapping itself around my feet and ankles, further slowing my progress. I knew that I needed to be at home, but I just couldn’t seem to get there with any speed.

Finally the forest thinned and I could see an embankment ahead. There was about a ten foot drop down on the railway tracks that made their way through the cutting which the embankment was part of. I sat on the edge of the embankment and slowly slithered down on the wet grass that lined its wall. I reached the bottom and stood up. All I had to do now was cross the tracks and make my way across the park on the other side and I would be at home.

As soon as I stepped on the first rail with my right foot, it was as if I was frozen. A momentary panic flickered through my system, but I willed my left leg to step forward and follow my right leg. Slowly I managed to make the next step. It was as though I was wading through quicksand. I took another slow motion step and now I was fully between the two rails. My ability to move forward slowed even more. Now I really was panicking. That panic level shot up even higher when I suddenly heard the shrill blast of a train’s whistle. I looked to my right and I could see a headlight starting to sweep around the bend in the tracks about 200 yards from me.

Move. Move you stupid bastard, my mind told me. I surged forward, pulling at my right leg. It slowly lifted and came down on the second rail. Sweat was pouring down my face with the strain that I was making. I looked to my right and the train that was approaching was now 100 yards away. This was ****ing stupid, I thought. I should just be able to step off these tracks easily, but something was holding me back. With mounting panic and fright I struggled to lift my left leg. Slowly it swung forward and came down on the other side of the second rail. I now had only to lift my right foot off the second rail and move forward a couple of feet and the approaching freight train would not strike me. The noise of the train was now extremely loud and another blast on the whistle sounded through the night. I took the chance to look to my right again. The train was only 30 yards away and closing on me fast. I just couldn’t seem to move at all – I was frozen on the second rail and I was going to die.

I turned to face the train as it bore down on me. I prepared myself for the impact of the metal monster on my flimsy body. The train closed in and I screamed in terror. Jordy………

I flung myself to the side and came crashing down on the floor as I fell out of bed. Slowly I sat up and leant back against the side of my bed. My body was covered in sweat. I ran my right hand across my forehead, wiping away some of the film of sweat that covered my face. Gradually I got control of my breathing. The effects of the nightmare were slowly letting go of my nervous system, but the memory of it still remained fresh in my mind. As the train had hit me I had screamed for Jordy. That particular Jordy was Jordy Hofstede, the dead brother of the young lad that I had watched at training today.

I shook my head to clear the last of the effects of the dream. It had been several years since I had been afflicted by that particular nightmare.

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Friday 14th September 2001:

I felt a bit shaky first thing today as I got up and prepared myself for work. The nightmare of the train running me down had disturbed my usually solid sleep pattern and I had only dozed lightly on and off for several hours after falling out of bed. I knew that meeting young Martin Hofstede had triggered the return of the nightmare, but if the kid was going to be a fixture around the club when we signed him, then I had better get used to it. I had gotten over the death of Jordy Hofstede the first time when it had been quite a shock to me and I was sure that I could handle this reminder and get on with my life now as well. There was no time for much further thought on the matter this morning anyway – I had a football team to manage and I wasn’t going to let the return of some old nightmare make a difference to my new job.

As I had turned in early last night I hadn’t caught up on the results of the UEFA Cup 1st Round matches which were played on Thursday evening. AZ had gone to Sweden to play Elfsborg and they returned with a 2-0 win courtesy of goals by Tim de Cler and Robin Nelisse. Heerenveen had hosted Dinamo Tirana of Albania and had suffered a shock 3-1 defeat. Bakalli and Asllani had Dinamo 2-0 up before Youssouf Hersi pulled back a late goal to give Heerenveen some hope. However in injury-time Asllani scored his second goal and made the final score 3-1. Feyenoord also had a bad defeat as they lost 1-0 to Olumets goal for Lev Tallinn of Estonia. It was Utrecht who had the poorest result of the night for Holland when they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 at home by German 2nd Division Aachen. All three goals came in the first half from Petrovic and Plaßherich (2).

After training this afternoon I went to the Arke Stadion in the evening and watched as the reserves beat NEC 4-1. As well as being there to look at the youngsters, I also had instructed Jeffrey Kooistra to play Karim El Ahmadi, Raymond Fafiani and Kim Christensen. The fringe first team players all had good performances with Christensen scoring a goal, but reserve striker Tim Velten used the opportunity to remind me that he was waiting in the wings as he scored a fine hat-trick. Youngsters Gerald Postma and Peter van Putten celebrated their new contracts with fine performances as well.

After the reserves match I watched on as 16 year old Rene Lord signed a four year deal with FC Twente. With a bit of spit and polish from the coaching staff, plus Jeffrey and me, young Lord may well turn into a quality player for the club.

In the other game tonight Den Haag returned to the top of the Premier Division as they recorded a 3-1 victory over Vitesse. Roy Stroeve, Geert den Ouden and Jamie Smith all scored for Den Haag whilst Kwame Cruden got the solitary reply for Vitesse.

Saturday 15th September 2001:

The first of the matches between the big three – PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord – was played today as PSV visited Amsterdam to play Ajax. Two first half goals by American international DaMarcus Beasley had PSV in front and they looked comfortable until South Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung was sent off for two yellow card offences midway through the second half. Ajax attempted to fight back, but PSV hung on for a 2-0 win. The other game of the day saw a highly entertaining 3-3 draw between Roda and RBC. Edrissa Sonko opened the scoring for Roda, but a double to Fouad Makhout and a third to Jesper Hakansson put RBC 3-1 up midway through the second half. That was a sign for a Roda fight-back and Diego Jongen and a second for Sonko bought the final score to 3-3.

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Sunday 16th September 2001:

Our visit to Nijmegen to play NEC saw us venturing to a ground where the home team had one win and two losses in their three matches. Coupled with their poor away form, that saw NEC lying in 12th place as they prepared to face us today. However NEC had a wily manager in former great Johan Neeskens and he would operate a standard 4-4-2 system in all likelihood. The players that we would need to pay special attention to were midfielder/forward Romano Denneboom and the young striker Frank Demouge who was already in prolific form with 5 goals in just 4 games.

I decided to stick with the same team that had defeated RBC 3-1 last week. Blaise N’Kufo and Guilherme Afonso had both found the net, so I couldn’t justify splitting them up to fit the now healthy Johnnier Montano back into the team. Resit Schuurman would have to cool his heels on the bench for another week as Rahim held onto his place at right-back. The rest of the team was picking itself based on the form that those players were displaying. Simon Cziommer and Daniel Majstorovic were in particularly scintillating form and Bas Sibum wasn’t far behind the pair of them.

Premier Division:

NEC (A)

Boschker, Rahim, Majstorovic, Touzani, Heubach, Cziommer, Sibum, Goncalves, Culina, Afonso, N’Kufo.

Subs: 68-Montano.

NEC had a lot of the ball as the match started, but they didn’t really do much with it. Boschker had a couple of back-passes to deal with, but we weren’t really tested in any way. Culina fired in a 20 yarder which NEC keeper Gentenaar held easily, but then our first serious attacking move led to the opening goal. 19 minutes had passed when Heubach and Goncalves continued their good understanding on the left side of the park as they worked some space for Goncalves to cross low towards the near post. Cziommer went to meet the ball and a clumsy challenge by Pothuizen saw him barge the German in the back. Cziommer’s fall was slightly theatrical, but the referee correctly awarded us a penalty. N’Kufo stepped up as previously arranged and sent Gentenaar the wrong way to put us 1-0 up. Both keepers then pulled off fine saves as Gentenaar foiled Afonso and Boschker saved excellently from Barreto. However we were gradually increasing the pressure and only some inspired goalkeeping by Gentenaar was stopping us from increasing our lead. From consecutive corners the NEC keeper defied Majstorovic and Touzani when they both connected with powerful headers. He then blocked N’Kufo’s low shot with his legs as our Swiss striker burst through the middle. Half-time was approaching and I felt that we were deserving of second goal. Instead on a rare breakaway Leiwakabessy broke down the left beyond Rahim and whipped in a cross which favoured Can. Heubach fouled Can in attempting to reach around him and NEC were awarded a penalty of their own. Centre-half Wisgerhof came forward and wasted no time in blasting his spot-kick high into the net despite Boschker getting a hand to it. It was now 1-1 after 40 minutes and that is how it stayed until the break.

In the first 20 minutes of the second half Gentenaar proved that he was having one of those brilliant days for goalkeepers where every dive he made produced a superb save just as it looked likely that we would score. Afonso’s15 yard half-volley, Culina’s curling free-kick from 20 yards and Cziommer’s dipping 18 yard volley were all brilliantly saved by the NEC keeper and the home crowd were lapping up his display. Although the players were doing nothing wrong, I decided that a change of personnel might bring something new to the team and having Montano on the bench meant that I had just the right player to bring some flamboyance into the team. At 68 minutes I called Afonso off and sent the Colombian on his place. Montano had been champing at the bit to get on and he immediately pepped up the forward line. Culina soon worked himself some space on the right and chipped a delicate pass into Montano who volleyed it inches over the cross bar with an effort that Gentenaar probably wouldn’t have saved had it been on target. As the final ten minutes approached it seemed that NEC had decided that a point was good enough for them and they started to play deeper in their own half. Their defence was tiring, but Montano was still fresh and he ran them ragged. In the 82nd minute N’Kufo prodded the ball through for Montano and he surged into the penalty area. Wisgerhof stuck out a hopeful leg and Montano went tumbling over it. The call for a penalty was immediate and the referee considered it for several seconds before waving play on. I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t given it and neither could the players. Sibum, Cziommer and Montano all surrounded the referee to complain, but he waved them away. In the 86th minute Culina produced an almost identical chipped pass for Montano as he had when the Colombian had first come on. However this time Montano kept his volley a few inches lower and from 14 yards it rocketed into the roof of the NEC net to put us 2-1 in front. Despite his earlier heroics Gentenaar couldn’t deny Montano and our efforts had deservedly been rewarded with what looked like a winning goal. There was even time for Cziommer to hit the outside of the post with a close-range effort which might have increased our winning margin.

NEC 1 Wisgerhof 40 pen

FC Twente 2 N’Kufo 19 pen, Montano 84

As was my usual habit, I slipped out the post-match celebrations to check on the other results from today’s round of Premier Division matches. AZ had hosted Feyenoord and AZ’s Stein Huysegems and Feyenoord’s Danko Lazovic had traded two goals each in an entertaining first half. Kenneth Perez then scored a second half goal to win the match 3-2 for AZ. Rene Bot had put de Graafschap in front at Heerenveen, but Arnold Bruggink had equalised in a 1-1 draw. Mile Krstev scored his second winner in four days for Groningen as they won 1-0 at NAC. On-loan midfielder Alfred Schreuder scored the only goal as RKC beat Willem II 1-0 whilst Den Bosch went back to the top of the table with a 3-0 win at Utrecht. Dennis Schulp opened the scoring for Den Bosch and they got an easier ride when Hans van der Haar was sent off for Utrecht after 10 minutes. Jorge Bajana and a Joost Broerse own goal completed the scoring for Den Bosch in the second half.

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Tuesday 18th September 2001:

My assistant manger Jeffrey Kooistra has completed his assessment of the players in the reserve and youth teams and he had decided that one final player should be offered a full contract. Patrick Hoekman, an 18 year old goalkeeper, was offered a three year contract. He signed on today, therefore giving me four goalkeepers at the club, and this gave me comfort that the goalkeeping side of the playing staff was now fully covered.

After having recovered from his earlier shoulder injury and going on to make two appearances in the league, Karim Touzani today twisted his knee in training and is expected to be out for at least two weeks. This has disrupted my plans for the Amstel Cup match against Scheveningen on Saturday as I was planning to give Majstorovic a rest and play Zomer with Touzani. It now looks like Zomer will get his game, but he will be partnering the Swede instead.

Tonight’s Champions Cup action saw Ajax lose 3-0 in France to Lyon. Frau, Wiltord and Diarra all scored in the opening half to send Ajax back home with a lot of thinking to do.

Wednesday 19th September 2001:

I was in the office early today to complete a few tasks before I attended the signing of our latest youngster. Normally as the first team manager I would leave this to Jeffrey, but there was a special significance to the signing of Martin Hofstede. Just over 13 years ago his brother Jordy had been one of my best mates before his tragic death. I knew that Martin’s father would be accompanying him to the signing and indeed, would be countersigning the contract as Martin was still 2 months shy of his 16th birthday. It was only polite that I went and saw Mr Hofstede and reacquainted myself with him after all these years.

The signing was scheduled for 11.00am but Martin Hofstede and his father were already at the boardroom at 10.45am. Martin was sitting outside with Jeffrey, talking as they overlooked the pitch of the Arke Stadion. His father saw me walk into the room and he rose to greet me. Aaron Hofstede was looking very fit and healthy for a man that I knew was in his mid-50’s. I held out my hand as I approached him. Mr Hofstede, it is so good to see you after all these years, I said. He took my hand and shook it with a firm grip. Peter, it is good to see you too. You must be happy to be back in Twente after your time in England, he replied. Yes, it’s good to be back home, I agreed. We spent a couple of minutes catching up on how his family were and how my career had gone since I had last seen him over 13 years ago.

Peter, you’ll keep an eye on young Martin for me, won’t you? said Mr Hofstede as we prepared for the lad to sign his contract. I looked up at him as he continued. He has his heart set on making it big here at FC Twente and he wants to do it so bad for the sake of poor Jordy. Martin was just two when Jordy died and he never really knew his older brother, but he idolises him and he wants to have the career that Jordy never quite achieved. I saw the concern in the face of the Aaron Hofstede. I knew that the Hofstedes were a deeply religious family and that had they had their way, first Jordy, and now Martin would not probably have been involved in football. But both of them had been blessed with natural talent and the boys had loved the game, so their father had relented. I put my hand on Mr Hofstede’s shoulder and said Aaron, I’ll look after him. I feel like I failed Jordy all those years ago and I’m not going to let anything bad happen to Martin as a result.

The formalities continued and a minute later 15 year old Martin Hofstede was officially a FC Twente player for the next four years.

There were several Premier Division games that had been rescheduled from earlier in the season when the European competitions had begun and they were being contested over the next few days. Tonight AZ hosted Willem II in Alkmaar and the visitors had the worst possible start when Martijn Reuser, newly returned to Holland from Ipswich in England, was sent off in the 2nd minute for dissent. Two goals from Tarik Sektioui and one from Ali Elkhattabi quickly gave AZ a 3-0 lead and they consolidated that into a 4-0 win when Sektioui scored his hat-trick from the penalty spot midway through the second half.

PSV suffered their second consecutive 2-0 loss in the Champions Cup when they went to Spain and fell to a double from Ronaldo as Real Madrid won 2-0 in the Bernabeu stadium.

Friday 21st September 2001:

With another round of internationals coming up in the first week of October, the squads were named today. Dmitri Shoukov received a call-up to the Russian team whilst Blaise N’Kufo and Guilherme Afonso were again called up by Switzerland. Peter Niemeyer was selected for the German Under-21 team.

The catch-up matches continued tonight in the Premier Division as PSV played Utrecht. PSV had quickly established their superiority and taken a 2-0 half-time lead through a double by Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. However keeper Edwin Zoetebier sent off for fouling Sandro Calabro and Dave van den Bergh scored from the spot after 76 minutes to ensure a tense finish for PSV. They managed to hold on and record a 2-1 win which moved them up to 3rd place on the table.

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Saturday 22nd September 2001:

The Amstel Cup draw still contained many amateur teams and we were facing one of them today. Scheveningen had come through Group 3 of the qualifying stage as runners-up to First Division side Telstar. However their league form in their own competition indicated that they were not having the best of starts to the new season. I expected another 5-3-2 defensive formation from our visitors and didn’t give them much more thought. To be honest, we had the personnel to wipe them off the park and I expected the players to achieve that result.

The fact that we were playing amateur opposition gave me the chance to try a couple of new faces and indulge in a bit of position shuffling. Ramon Zomer came in for the injured Karim Touzani at centre-half whilst Resit Schuurman returned at right-back as Rahim moved to left-back allowing Jeroen Heubach to have a rest. In midfield Raymond Fafiani would start on the left in place of Goncalves whilst Johnnier Montano would take up Jason Culina’s role as the link man between midfield and attack. On the bench Kim Christensen and Karim El Ahmadi could expect to get a run at some stage.

Amstel Cup 1st Round:

Scheveningen (H)

Boschker, Schuurman, Majstorovic, Zomer, Rahim, Cziommer, Sibum, Fafiani, Montano, Afonso, N’Kufo.

Subs: 62-Goncalves, 62-El Ahmadi.

Scheveningen made their plans fairly obvious right from the start when they lined up with a five man defence. They then kicked off and showed little desire to move forward. Fafiani started brightly with a couple of good runs on the left before he set up Cziommer for the first real chance after 8 minutes. Scheveningen’s keeper Thies was obviously nervous and he pushed Cziommer’s shot away for a corner when it was clearly going well wide. Fafiani took the corner and Jacobs fouled Zomer as he attempted to clear the ball, thus giving us a penalty after only 9 minutes. N’Kufo confidently slotted it home for his 5th goal in all competitions this season. After that we pretty much set up camp in the Scheveningen half and proceeded to take up some shooting practice. Afonso, N’Kufo and Cziommer all had goal-bound efforts denied by Thies or his overworked defenders. Fafiani was proving to be a source of great creativity with his play on the left and was obviously relishing the chance to impress me. As half-time approached I felt comfortable with our performance so far and confident that more goals would come. Montano then popped up in the 45th minute to make the score 2-0 as he hammered home the rebound after Thies could only block Afonso’s header from yet another enticing Fafiani cross.

The second half started off where the first half ended as we continued to pressurise the Scheveningen goal. Then suddenly out of the blue our opponents pulled a goal back. It was so simple. A long clearance bounced over Zomer, Majstorovic slipped and suddenly their lone striker van der Laan was away and in the clear. Boschker came out to meet him, but he cleverly chipped the ball over our keeper and it was now 2-1 after 54 minutes. It took six minutes for us to reply. Montano broke down the right wing and crossed and Thies flapped at the ball, succeeding in knocking it only as far as Sibum who was standing 10 yards from goal. Sibum needed no further invitation and he crashed the ball into the net for 3-1. I decided that we were looking fairly safe and so I sent on El Ahmadi for Cziommer and Goncalves for Sibum. Within minutes that change had produced outstanding results. On 68 minutes Fafiani picked up a loose ball and worked his way to the bye-line before crossing back to the penalty spot where Goncalves arrived perfectly on time to volley home his first goal for the club. Just 2 minutes later and Schuurman overlapped down the right wing before sending over a far post cross which Afonso unselfishly headed back into the middle. El Ahmadi had timed his run well and from 6 yards out he bundled the ball into the net with his knee for a goal on his first team debut. That made the score 5-1 and I was now extremely happy with the performance of the team as the score-line now more accurately reflected our dominance of the match. At this point the boys probably took their foot of the accelerator and cruised through the final 20 minutes. I wasn’t too perturbed by this – it had been another confidence-boosting win for FC Twente.

FC Twente 5 N’Kufo 9 pen, Montano 45, Sibum 60, Goncalves 68, El Ahmadi 70

Scheveningen 1 van der Laan 54

Apart from the Amstel Cup, the big talking point of the day’s matches was the only Premier Division match which was played. Feyenoord hosted Ajax and the visitors roared into a 3-0 half-time lead through Belgian striker Wesley Sonck who struck twice and skipper Rafael van der Vaart who added the third. Shinji Ono pulled a goal back for the home team in the second half, but Ajax secured an important 3-1 victory in Rotterdam.

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Tuesday 25th September 2001:

Second-placed Den Haag suffered a blow to their leadership aspirations in the Premier Division tonight as they fell 1-0 at home to Willem II. A late goal by Erik de Kruyk gave the Tilburgers a much needed victory.

In Europe Ajax all but ended their hopes of advancement in the Champions Cup as they fell 3-0 to Inter Milan in Italy. Vieri, Adriano and Martins all scored as the Italians displayed a vast superiority over the Dutch champions.

Wednesday 26th September 2001:

Another three matches were decided in the Premier Division tonight. Den Bosch took advantage of Den Haag’s defeat the previous evening as they won 2-0 at bottom of the table NAC. A first half brace by Brayton Biekman extended Den Bosch’s lead to 4 points over 2nd placed Den Haag and 6 points to 3rd placed PSV. A late goal by substitute Alexander Prent gave NEC a 1-0 win over de Graafschap. In Roda the home side’s Sven Vandenbroeck opened the scoring against Vitesse, but the visitors equalised late in the second half through Matthew Amoah to force a 1-1 draw.

The Champions Cup saw PSV record their first win after two losses as Gerald Sibon and Jefferson Farfan took the Eindhoven club to a 2-0 lead against Panathinaikos of Greece. Although Konstantinou pulled a goal back, PSV went to a 3-1 lead after Sibon converted a penalty which had seen keeper Chalkias sent off for hauling down Vennegoor of Hesselink in the box. The game finished 3-1 to PSV.

Thursday 27th September 2001:

The first team was pretty much at full fitness after two months of training and the Scheveningen result had raised confidence even higher, so I decided to give the players the day off as a reward for their hard work. Of course that meant a day off for me as well.

I made a few personal phone calls, catching up with some friends that I hadn’t spoken to for a while. I managed to get hold of Guido Merry, an old mate of mine, who was a former Ajax player and was now coaching with Fortuna Sittard in the First Division. We had a chat about our respective teams and I congratulated him on the fact that he and manager Chris Dekker had managed to get the Fortuna team up into second place in the First Division. I told Guido that I had a couple of VIP tickets for Holland’s home friendly with Portugal in Amsterdam in nine days time and we agreed to catch up for dinner and watch the match afterwards.

I’d hardly finished that call when my mobile phone rang. I answered and it was another mate of mine who I had been intending to call anyway. Damian Streggi was a former Maltese international who had played for Volendam for several seasons and had stayed on in Holland to coach. We’d been mates ever since we hit if off together after a Holland-Malta World Cup tie around ten years ago. Damian agreed to take the other ticket that I had to the upcoming Holland-Portugal friendly and he would met Guido and I in Amsterdam on October 6th for dinner as well.

I had a great afternoon just winding down. I took a drive up north and stopped in at a country restaurant for a fine late lunch. When I got back to my home around 4.30pm I just propped myself on a lounge chair and caught some late afternoon sun on this fine autumn day. Later that night, after a simple homemade dinner of pasta, salad and a bottle of imported Australian Shiraz, I sat in front of the television to catch up on all the day’s football news.

First up was the draw for the 2nd Round of the Amstel Cup. FC Twente was awarded a home tie with the amateur side Appingedam. I immediately thought that would give me a good chance to test out a couple of the youngsters that we had recently signed. Next up was news of the first big money transfer of the 2001/02 season in Holland so far. Defender Ruud Kras of Ajax had moved to Heerenveen for £825K on a four year deal.

Finally there was a wrap of the UEFA Cup 1st Round second leg matches that were decided tonight. Early goals by Kew Jaliens and Adil Ramzi had given AZ a 2-0 win over Elfsborg of Sweden and a 4-0 aggregate win. At the other extreme Utrecht had lost 1-0 in Germany to a Michalke goal for Aachen and had gone out 4-0 on aggregate. Heerenveen had similarly lost to supposedly weaker opposition as they fell 2-1 to Dinamo Tirana of Albania. Asllani and Xhafa scored for Dinamo and Marcel Seip got Heerenveen’s consolation goal as they lost 5-2 on aggregate. Feyenoord had the most comprehensive victory of the night as they thumped Lev Tallinn of Estonia 4-0 to complete a 4-1 aggregate victory. Dirk Kujit, Hossam Ghali, Bart Goor and Danko Lazovic scored the goals.

Friday 28th September 2001:

I had a special reason for watching the reserves play Roda tonight. Martin Hofstede would be making his debut for FC Twente and I wanted to see how the kid handled his first match against senior players after previously only ever appearing in youth level matches. Jeffrey was certainly spot on with his evaluation of Hofstede. The young lad showed no sign of nerves and he capped a MOM performance with two second half goals as the reserves won 4-2. Elbekay Bouchiba also had a fine performance as he grabbed a goal and Kim Christensen completed the scoring from our point of view. It was eerie watching Martin Hofstede in full flight during the game. He certainly did remind me of his brother Jordy from all those years ago.

The Friday night match in the Premier Division saw surprise leaders Den Bosch play host to PSV. Den Bosch’s lead was cut to three points as they suffered their first loss of the season in this game. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Johann Vogel and Jefferson Farfan all scored early in the second half as PSV racked up a 3-0 win and moved into second place on the Premier Division table.

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Sunday 30th September 2001:

Roda were not in good form at all and a record of 3 draws and 4 losses in their opening 7 games had already put the pressure on manager Wiljan Vloet. To be honest no-one in Vloet’s team was displaying any sort of decent form and player morale at Roda was rumoured to be at rock-bottom. Consequently my players had only to perform at the level that they had been at in recent weeks and I would be very confident of picking up the three points.

After last weekend’s excellent performance in the Amstel Cup I had the difficult task on settling on this week’s team line-up. I decided to leave the back four as it was. Jeroen Heubach would stay on the bench as Rahim continued at left-back. Despite Raymond Fafiani’s excellent performance on the left wing, Goncalves had been doing well enough in recent weeks to ensure that he still had first call on that position, so he returned to the starting eleven. With Jason Culina clearly needed in the advanced midfielder role, that left me with Johnnier Montano, Blaise N’Kufo and Guilherme Afonso to fit into the two forward slots. I had stuck with the N’Kufo/Afonso partnership earlier in the campaign, but I was now of the opinion that N’Kufo and Montano would make the better long-term pairing. That left Afonso as the odd man out and he had to make do with a place on the substitute’s bench for this week.

Premier Division:

Roda (H)

Boschker, Schuurman, Majstorovic, Zomer, Rahim, Cziommer, Sibum, Goncalves, Culina, N’Kufo, Montano.

Subs: 21-Heubach, 74-El Ahmadi, 74-Fafiani.

Steady rain greeted the players for the start of this match and that robbed the first ten minutes of any serious quality play. But as we started to adjust to the conditions, so we also started to dominate the game. Culina volleyed wide from 20 yards and N’Kufo headed over the cross bar as we started to find our touch. Sibum was the creator of the opening goal, surging through from the midfield to send a delightful cross towards the far post. N’Kufo climbed well to head it back into the middle and Cziommer was on hand to force it over the line from a couple of yards out. It was 1-0 to us after 13 minutes. Montano displayed a brilliant touch just a few minutes later when he dragged the ball back with his studs to avoid Brouwers tackle and then seemed to hit a curling shot from 18 yards in almost the same action. Roda keeper Kujovic could only watch as ball clipped the top of the cross bar and went over. After 21 minutes we lost Rahim to a sprained ankle, so Heubach came on at left-back. Roda’s Sergio tried to exploit our new defender’s freshness after 28 minutes by dribbling past Heubach, but Boschker saved his low shot well. When Sergio got past Heubach a minute later I worried that we may have a problem, but their striker Kone was wasteful with the chance that Sergio provided him and skied it high into the stands. As the first half drew to a close Goncalves twice demonstrated the new-found confidence that had seen him grab a permanent first team place. Firstly he worked his way to the bye-line to pull back a superb cross which N’Kufo wastefully headed straight into the arms of Kujovic. Secondly he threaded a precise pass into the feet of Sibum who then hit a first-time shot which Kujovic pushed away for a corner. As the half-time whistle sounded, I had to say that I was reasonably happy with the performance so far.

As the second half opened it was clear that Roda had pulled further back into their 5-3-2 formation and that they were not prepared to be adventurous at all. Combined with a sudden downpour of heavier rain, that meant the opening 20 minutes of the second half was basically wasted. However after 68 minutes I finally glimpsed the style of play that I had been trying to drill into the players since I had taken over at the start of the season. Sibum started the move deep in our half with a pass to Cziommer on the right. The German advanced and laid off a pass to Schuurman on the overlap. Just as you would have expected the right-back to swing a cross into the box, he instead dinked a pass back in front of Cziommer who had continued his run to the near post. Cziommer then chipped the ball to Montano standing on the penalty spot and he cushioned a header down for N’Kufo to volley it home from 10 yards out. It was so beautifully executed that it had me out of the dugout and standing in the rain applauding as the players celebrated their 2-0 lead. A few minutes later I decided to send on Fafiani for Goncalves and El Ahmadi for Cziommer as my two wide midfielders had run themselves into the ground in these wet conditions. A third goal would have made my day and when Zomer’s long pass in the 78th minute was flicked on by Culina for Montano, it looked like it would come. Montano moved to the right to open up the goal and he drove the ball low past Kujovic, but the shot hit the post instead. Heubach had played a much better second half and he was totally on top of Sergio now. After 81 minutes he tackled and dispossessed his Brazilian opponent and then advanced down the left wing. A one-two with El Ahmadi got Heubach into enough room to carefully consider his next move and he drilled a low cross into the feet of Montano. The Colombian carefully controlled the ball and from 15 yards he sent a sizzling left-footed drive high into the Roda net to make the score 3-0. De Tukkers were singing in the rain now and I was happy to join in with them. It had been another solid win by the team.

FC Twente 3 Cziommer 13, N’Kufo 68, Montano 81

Roda 0

In the other Premier Division matches there was a flurry of goals. Bart Goor and Dirk Kujit had Feyenoord two up in 10 minutes against NEC, but Frank Demouge quickly pulled it back to 2-1. The scoring then stopped and Feyenoord took the three points with that 2-1 win. A late strike by Danish U-21 winger Michael Krohn-Dehli gave RKC a 1-0 win over Groningen. RBC’s on-loan midfielder Jesper Hakansson came back to haunt his owners as he scored twice against Heerenveen. Robert Molenaar added a third for RBC and Stefan Selakovic made the final score 3-1 with a consolation goal. Vitesse comfortably beat bottom side NAC by 3-0 with goals by Igor Gluscevic, Bas Huntelaar and Peter van den Berg. Willem II and Utrecht played out a 1-1 draw with James Quinn scoring for the home side and Sandro Calabro replying for the visitors. Ajax had a good 2-1 win at AZ after Barry Opdam had given the Alkmaar side an early lead. Stephen Pienaar and Michael Mols replied late in the first half to put the current champions into a 2-1 lead which they held on to. The game of the day was in Doetinchem where de Graafschap and Den Haag had a highly entertaining 3-3 draw. Roy Stroeve continued his fine form when he opened the scoring for Den Haag, but Martin Reynders soon equalised for de Graafschap. Geert den Ouden restored Den Haag’s lead, only for Patrick Ax to bring things level at 2-2 just before the break. A sensational three minutes of action midway through the second half saw two goals and a red card. Den Haag skipper Tom van der Leegte put his side into the lead for the third time, only for Gary De Graef to equalise for the third time for de Graafschap. As they celebrated the goal that made it 3-3, the home side’s Ruslan Valeev pushed over the visitor’s Sjaak Polak right in front of the referee and he was immediately sent off. The home team managed to hold on with ten men to get a point from the match.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">************************************************************************************************

Dutch Premier Division - Sunday 30th September 2001

************************************************************************************************

================================================================================================

2001/2 Table

================================================================================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st Den Bosch 8 3 0 1 8 5 3 1 0 11 4 19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2nd PSV 7 2 1 0 4 2 3 0 1 7 2 16

3rd Den Haag 8 3 0 1 7 4 2 1 1 9 6 16

4th Twente 6 3 0 0 9 1 2 0 1 5 4 15

5th Ajax 7 2 0 1 5 4 3 0 1 9 4 15

6th AZ 6 3 0 1 12 7 1 0 1 6 6 12

7th Feyenoord 7 3 0 1 6 4 1 0 2 6 5 12

8th RKC 6 3 0 0 7 4 1 0 2 2 4 12

9th Willem II 7 1 2 0 6 5 2 0 2 2 5 11

10th RBC 6 3 0 0 8 2 0 1 2 7 12 10

11th Vitesse 8 3 0 1 10 6 0 1 3 5 11 10

12th NEC 8 2 0 2 7 7 0 2 2 4 6 8

13th Groningen 7 1 0 3 5 8 1 0 2 2 4 6

14th Heerenveen 6 1 2 0 4 3 0 0 3 4 8 5

15th de Graafschap 7 1 1 1 6 8 0 1 3 1 7 5

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16th Utrecht 7 0 1 2 3 8 0 2 2 4 6 3

17th Roda 8 0 2 2 4 6 0 1 3 3 10 3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18th NAC 7 0 1 3 2 7 0 0 3 4 9 1

</pre>

As I relaxed at home late on Saturday night I happily took in the Premier Division table at the end of September. FC Twente was currently in 4th place and 4 points off the pace of surprise league leaders Den Bosch. However due to game rescheduling because of European competitions we had two games in hand on Den Bosch. We were thus well placed to move even higher if we could pick up the points in those spare matches. PSV had ominously moved up to 2nd place and both Ajax and Feyenoord were hovering just below us, so any thought of the championship at this stage would certainly have been frivolous on my behalf.

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Monday 1st October 2001:

The ankle injury that Rahim suffered in yesterday’s match against Roda will keep him sidelined for at least three weeks. This means that Jeroen Heubach will get the chance to reclaim the left-back spot after giving it up to Rahim in the previous two matches.

Wednesday 3rd October 2001:

The office secretary had left me the usual set of daily newspaper clippings that are circulated around the senior management of the club. Amongst them I found the following report on FC Twente’s new youth signings:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">

BUISSINK SIGNING IS A LINK TO THE PAST

Hidden behind the quiet revolution that has seen new FC Twente manager Peter Buissink take his side to fourth place in the Premier Division is a strategy that may bring the club even greater success in future years. Buissink and his assistant Jeffrey Kooistra have been overseeing the revamping of the FC Twente youth and reserve team setups. Their actions are ongoing and the results may not be realised for several seasons. What is clear though is that several youngsters of genuine potential have been signed up by the club in the past two months. The surname of one such talented youngster will be familiar to those older supporters of FC Twente.

Martin Hofstede is a fine prospect for the future. The 15 year old will celebrate his 16th birthday in November. Already Buissink and Kooistra have high hopes for this youngster. And here is the link – current manager Peter Buissink was a team-mate of Jordy Hofstede, Martin’s older brother, when he first rose prominence as future star with FC Twente back in the 1986/87 and 1987/88 seasons. The two youngsters were well known to be very good friends.

Whilst Buissink was going from strength to strength after making his debut as a 17 year old in September 1986, Jordy Hofstede took a little more time to develop. However by November 1987 Hofstede had also made the breakthrough to the first team as an 18 year old. There were 10 starts and 7 substitute appearances with 3 goals scored as Hofstede made his mark in the FC Twente first team. Unfortunately though, Jordy Hofstede had several personal problems. There were rumours of drug-taking and he was certainly threatened at least once with the termination of his playing contract. All of this came to a head on the night of April 6th 1988 when Hofstede took his own life by throwing himself under a train on the outskirts of Enschede. It was a tragic end to life that had so much potential, but was ended all too soon.

Now it is 2001, Peter Buissink is back at FC Twente and there is another talented youngster with the surname of Hofstede waiting in the wings. This time let us hope that the outcome is much less forlorn and that a young star continues to rise. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

There was good news from the treatment room today as Karim Touzani was given the all-clear to resume full training. Touzani will do some extra over the next few days whilst the majority of the players have a full day off on Saturday due to the international break. With our next match being a week away there is a good chance that Touzani will be able to return to the starting line-up.

Friday 5th October 2001:

There was Under-21 international action today as Holland played host to Portugal at De Kuip in Rotterdam. Heerenveen’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored in the 45th and 72nd minutes to take the Dutch side into a 2-0 lead before Chelsea’s Felipe Oliveira pulled a goal back for the Portuguese in the 79th minute. The score remained at 2-1 and the Dutch Under-21’s had their first win of the season.

FC Twente’s Peter Niemeyer was named as the captain of the German Under-21 team that played France in Munich, but his side fell to a 1-0 defeat in that match.

Saturday 6th October 2001:

It was great to catch up with Guido Merry and Damian Streggi in Amsterdam before the national team’s latest match. Damian was a bit of a connoisseur of good food and fine wine and he had found a delightful restaurant to eat in. Three excellent bottles of red wine were consumed and we made our way to the Amsterdam ArenA in a jovial mood. We found our way to our seats and settled in to watch the latest effort of the Dutch team.

Dutch national team manager Marco van Basten continued with his 3-5-2 formation and made only one change to the line-up which started against Spain last month. Holland certainly had the best of the opening half hour of this clash and they took the lead on 24 minutes when Davids collected a weak clearance from van Bronckhorst’s free-kick and curled over a cross which wing-back Melchiot headed home for his second goal in consecutive matches. Right on half-time Portugal spurned three glorious chances to equalise as substitute keeper Westerveld denied Pauleta with a fine save and then Paauwe twice cleared off the line from shots by Deco and Pedro Mendes. A slew of changes by both sides early in the second half did little to promote a raising of the game’s standard. Robben had the best chance to increase Holland’s lead, but his volley from 18 yards crashed against the cross bar after 58 minutes. Portugal dragged themselves back into the match and they got themselves an equaliser after 70 minutes when eventual MOM Paulo Ferreira raided down the right wing and cross for substitute Sa Pinto to head home from close range at the near post. The final 20 minutes did little in the way of achieving a wining goal for either side.

Holland 1 Melchiot 24

Portugal 1 Sa Pinto 70

van der Sar, Ooijer, Paauwe, Hofland, Melchiot, Boateng, Davids, van Bronckhorst, Seedorf, van Nistelrooy, Robben.

Subs: 21-Westerveld, 37-van Persie, 51-De Zeeuw, 51-Makaay, 58-Hasselbaink, 70-Kluivert, 76-John.

In news more relevant to FC Twente, both Blaise N’Kufo and Guilherme Afonso had been named on the bench for Switzerland’s home friendly with Scotland. N’Kufo had come on in the 54th minute, but Afonso stayed on the bench. The game ended in a 0-0 draw.

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