Roy Makaay was the first player to run onto the training pitch, followed by Kevin Hofland, Theo Lucius and not long after Tomasson. The Dane took a second take as he emerged, as though the spectacle was a completely new one for him. But he beamed broadly as he surveyed the full stands from between the red and white tickertape that rained down on the grass. The supporters greeted the returned striker enthusiastically.
No one recognised new man Kermit Erasmus, but the physically robust South African certainly earned a lot of attention, as he was sporting a Mohican for the occasion. Erasmus will be hoping he can make a similar impact with his ball skills.
Verbeek had called in a surprising number of players for the session. They included youth prospects Kevin Leerdam, Miquel Nelom, Norichio Nieveld, Michael Janota, Kaj Ramsteijn, Louis Pedro and Kostas Lamprou. Ghanaian trialist Harrison Afful was also part of the group, which was supervised by a largely new technical staff. Condition trainer Björn Rekelhof soon had the thirty-strong collective working out gently.
One of them was Ron Vlaar, who has been training with Rekelhof this past week. After almost a full season on the sidelines, Vlaar was welcomed with loud cheers when speaker Peter Houtman announced his name.
All told, the day was a great success. The fans were treated to Lee Towers’s new hit Feyenoord voor Altijd (Feyenoord forever) before and after the session, while supporters took the opportunity to get their hands on the home and away shirts ahead of the new campaign.