September 18, 2008

Netherlands: Eredivisie, Clubs in the 2008-’09 Season (with 07/08 attendances).

Filed under: Netherlands — admin @ 10:52 am


The 53rd season of the Netherlands’ Eredivisie is underway.  Reigning champions PSV Eindhoven have won the crown 4 consecutive seasons,  and 7 times in the last 9 seasons (Ajax were champions in ’04 and ’02; Feyenoord won it in 1999).  The Eredivisie, which began it’s first season in 1956, has 18 clubs.  One or two clubs are relegated each year, depending on the outcome of the promotion/relegation playoffs (between the 17th and 16th place finishers in the Eredivisie, and two clubs from the second division, which is called the Eerste Divisie).

Here is an overview of the 07/08 Eredivisie season and preview of 08/09,  from

For the Eredivisie table, {Click here}.

The Dutch clubs still playing in Europe this season are as follows…

PSV Eindhoven are in the 2008-’09 Champions League, in Group D.   In their first match, Tuesday, PSV were embarrased at home by Atletico Madrid, 0-3.  They next play at Anfield, versus European powerhouse Liverpool, so it looks grim for PSV’s chances of getting any sort of decent start in this competition.   [Note, I wrote a bit about PSV in an April '08 post: {Click here}.]    PSV have won 21 Dutch titles (the second most, behind Ajax), 8 KNVB Cups (last in 2005),  and 1 European championship: the 1988 Champions League title.   The club drew around 33,500 per game last season,  in their lavish 35,100-capacity Philips Stadion {see this},  in Eindhoven, North Brabant.

{Click here, for 08/09 Champions League results (UEFA site) }.

There are 4 Dutch clubs still competing in the 2008-’09 UEFA Cup.   FC Twente might have made it to the Champions League had they not drawn such a tough opponent as Arsenal,  in the CL 3rd Round Qualifiers.  [As it is, Twente missed a golden chance for entry into the promised land of the Champions League, especially since the second Dutch spot for a Champions League place will no longer be decided by a post-season playoff between 2nd through 5th place finishers in the Eredivisie.  Basically, Ajax complained enough about the format to have it scrapped, and the Dutch Big 3 have again consolidated their hold on the Dutch game.  These playoffs had been designed, effectively, to give a club outside the Big 3 a shot at the Champions League.  Ironically, two seasons ago, up-and-coming club AZ Alkmaar blew the Eredivisie title on the last game of the season, lost the title on goal difference to PSV, then lost in the playoffs.  So that year, the whole plan of the playoffs backfired.  Anyways, it's back to simply putting the 2nd place finisher into the 3rd Round Qualifiers of the Champions League.] 

FC Twente,  with English National Team flameout Steve McLaren as their new manager, face French club Rennes, in the UEFA CUP 1st Round.   FC Twente are from Enschede (a city with a population of around 154,000),  in east-central Netherlands,  in the province of Overijssel;  Twente is a region in the south-east of the province.   FC Twente draw around 13,000 per game;  they have won the KNVB (Dutch) Cup twice:  19777, and 2001;  a predecessor of theirs, Sportclub Enschede, won the Dutch championship (pre-Eredivisie) in 1926. 

Ajax face Serbian club FK Borac Cacak {Click here, for Wikipedia’s page on the biggest football club in the Netherlands,  Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax.}.   Amsterdam is the nation’s largest city, with a population of around 752,000.  Ajax have won 29 Dutch titles (the most); 17 KNVB Cups (last in 2007);  4 European championships:  3 European Cups (three straight years: 1971-’73),  and 1 Champions League title, in 1995;  and 1 UEFA Cup (1992).   Their home is the Amsterdam Arena {see this}, which features a retractable roof and a capacity of 51,628.  Last season, Ajax averaged around 49,100.

NEC Nijmegen face 18-time Romanian champions Dinamo Bucharest.   NEC are a medium-small club that has been punching above their weight.  Their ground only holds 12,470; the club played to around a 95% capacity last season.  Nijmegen is a city of 160,000 or so, near the German border,  in the eastern part of the province of Gelderland.

SC Heerenveen are a perennial UEFA Cup participant,  and are the club of Friesland,  a north-central province of the Netherlands that has it’s own language,  West Frisian (which is linguistically similar to the English language {see this} ).   Heerenveen isn’t even a city: it’s a town of about 43,000.  SC Heerenveen is known for discovering (then selling) future star players (such as Ruud van Niistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, as well as the Brazillian Afonso Alves, who scored 7 goals in an Eredivisie game last October, and is now on Middlesbrough).  The club averages a respectable 25,000 per game, and have been consistently improving/enlarging their grounds.  But they still are unable to crack the hegemony of the Big 3.  Heerenveen did make it to the Champions League, once, in 2000.  But he club has no major titles.  Last season, Heerenveen lost in the 07/08 UEFA Cup 1st Round to Sweden’s Helsingborgs;  2 years ago they made it to the Group (of 40) Stage).  Currently, in this year’s competition,  Heerenveen face Portugal’s Vitoria Setubal.

Feyenoord are part of the Big 3, but have not been champions for nine seasons.  {Click here, for Wikipedia’s page on Feyenoord Rotterdam.}    Rotterdam is the Netherlands’ second largest city (pop: appx. 584,000), and has the largest port in Europe.  Feyenoord have won 14 Dutch titles,  11 KNVB Cups (they won it this year),  1 European championship (1970 European Cup),  and 2 UEFA Cups (1974 and 2002).  Feyenoord face Sweden’s Kalmar FF.

{Click here for 2008-’09 UEFA Cup Results, etc. (UEFA site) }. 

Thanks to the European Football Statistics site, for the attendance figures {Click here}.

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