October 8, 2007

The Netherlands. Attendance map, 2006-07.

Filed under: Netherlands — admin @ 5:31 pm


[Note: to see my latest post on the Netherlands, click here.]
The Dutch are so good at football that it’s often forgotten how small a country the Netherlands is.  But they weren’t always a force.  Before the Johann Cruyff-led ”total football” squads of the early 70′s, they had trouble beating even lowly Luxembourg (ca. 1964).  The Dutch top flight is called the Eredivisie.  The league has 18 teams, and the bottom half is a revolving door of minnow clubs.  But there are some good-sized clubs just below the big 3 of Ajax, PSV, and Feyenoord.  Heerenveen has seen their average gate grow from 13, 700 in 1999; to 25,4oo last season.  They are a perennial fixture in the UEFA Cup, and did manage to make it to the Champions League in 2000.  Utrecht is the only club outside the big 3 that have never been relegated.  They have increased their gate from 7,500 to 20,000 in a decade.  Vitesse has been drawing crowds in the low 20,000′s for over a decade.  Groningen averaged 19,000 last season, in their new stadium.  AZ Alkmaar’s new stadium upped their attendance to almost 16,000.  They had been playing in an 8,400-seat stadium before.  

The winner of the Eredivisie automatically qualifies for the Champions League, but the other UEFA spots are decided by playoff.  2nd through 5th place play for one Champions League qualifier spot, and three UEFA Cup spots.  6th through 9th place play for the final UEFA Cup spot the country is allotted.  The Netherlands is currently ranked #8 in Europe by UEFA.              

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