The coach acknowledged that Feyenoord would just have to make the best of it. It’s not possible to work on a set thing in training of course, because you never know who’s going to be fit, but Verbeek is always trying to puzzle something together. ‘One time you have three strikers, another time two or one,’ explained the coach. ‘It will be a while yet before we are able to work on a set rhythm and a single set of tactics with a settled team based on a settled organisation.’
Feyenoord are fortunate to be facing one of the lesser Eredivisie gods Saturday. Promoted Volendam should not be underestimated though, says Verbeek. ‘We’ve had Volendam watched and watched the DVD again. They have something that promoted teams often have. They are still bristling with confidence from last year. They won the league. Everything is new to them, so they are very enthusiastic. With that in mind, they put in an attractive performance against Heerenveen where they certainly weren’t blown away.’
At the same time, the Feyenoord coach is fully aware that a lot of Volendam players have never played at De Kuip. ‘Most people don’t find that easy. But when things go well a team like that can exceed itself. That’s happened before. But it’s in our hands. We have to give Volendam no chance basically.’
FC Volendam are back in the Eredivisie after winning the Jupiler League last season, their fourth in the second tier of Dutch football. Volendam’s compact Kras Stadium attracted a good crowd in the opening day fixture at home to SC Heerenveen, but fans of the small town club know that staying in the division is a big ask. Not only are FC Volendam working with the lowest budget in the top flight, they also have an inexperienced squad – and one of the toughest imaginable starts.
After SC Heerenveen and Feyenoord, FC Volendam can look forward to tests against FC Twente and PSV, so there is every chance that the newcomers will be playing catch-up immediately. When you’re in that sort of position you really need some old hands to help steady the ship, but only five players in the 24-man squad have played more than 200 times in the top flight, so new coach Frans Adelaar looks to have a difficult task.
Since the departure of Stanley Menzo, the coach who guided FC Volendam to their first title since 1987, a number of important players have followed him through the door. They include Abdelhali Chaiat and Boy Deul, who left respectively for De Graafschap and Willem II, expected to be two of the club’s biggest rivals down at the bottom this season.
The first round loss to SC Heerenveen was no disgrace, but it did end in defeat despite two strikes by home goal-getter Jack Tuyp, last year’s premier marksman in the Jupiler League. Frans Adelaar will however take a lot from a game in which he side fought till the end.
Feyenoord – FC Volendam
Saturday 13 September, 20:45 at De Kuip
Feyenoord: Timmer; Lucius, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Slory, Van Bronckhorst, Fer, Wijnaldum; Tomasson and Mols.
FC Volendam: Verhoeven; Maynard, Schilder, Boots, Meijers; Hofstede, De Lange, Valenta, Platje; Tuyp and Van Zaanen.
25/04/2004 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 2-0
29/03/1998 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 5-0
25/08/1996 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 3-0
10/09/1995 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 5-1
30/10/1994 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 5-2
09/11/2003 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 1-3
09/11/1997 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 0-0
16/02/1997 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 0-2
21/01/1996 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 0-3
02/04/1995 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 0-3