'I HAVE NOT BEEN GUIDED BY SUPPORTER DISTURBANCES’

Jorien van den Herik has explained in his resignation statement that he is not leaving the club because of supporter protests. The outgoing Feyenoord supremo says that his decision is related to the pending decision of the Appeals Court, which is expected to confirm two earlier decisions to clear Feyenoord – and Van den Herik personally – of any wrongdoing with respect to a tax fraud charge brought against the club and its chairman.

The full text of Jorien van den Herik statement follows.

'In the criminal case started by FIOD and the Public Prosecutor against Feyenoord and myself as long ago as 1999, the Supreme Court has yet to have the last word. But on 19 December there will hopefully come to an end a bad dream, which I will continue to remember as a nightmare in my life. By virtue of the two earlier acquittals I continue to be completely confident that all will end well. Finally it will be established for all time that Feyenoord and its chairman were put in the dock without justification. The book can then be closed and we can go on with our heads held high.

But do we want to do that?

For as long as this criminal case ran, I was unable and unwilling to shirk my responsibility for the situation. In politics they perhaps have other ideas; I do not. Precisely in difficult circumstances I remain the captain of the ship. But in relation to the FIOD case, in sight of safe harbour, it is time for other skippers to set the course.

It has also played a role that for a much longer period I have not chosen to be seen as the figurehead of the club. When we opted for a new structure a few years ago – in 2003 – I felt that I would be able to take a little more distance from the club. In the normal business world the supervisory board is more in the background than the management team. Sometimes people don’t even know about it. Generally this is considered to be a good for the operational management and the continuity. It is therefore logical that I kept disappearing in the wings. The outside world however continued to see me, as the public prosecutor in Rotterdam back then – incorrectly incidentally – said: 'Van den Herik is Feyenoord and Feyenoord is Van den Herik.' That perception has never changed. With hindsight I realise that I should perhaps have not immediately taken a seat in the supervisory board.

But if the public prosecutor in Rotterdam at the time meant that I have worked for Feyenoord for 15 years with great pleasure, then I am proud of that. The first few years in particular I was working literally day and night. The number of people I was able to rely on was limited, but highly motivated. Thanks in part to them our club was able to get back on course. Feyenoord achieved sporting successes and as a result won back the status it deserves.

I am grateful to everyone who contributed at that time. I certainly include the faithful fans that loyally stood behind the club in those difficult years. Without their sincere love for the club it would not have been possible to get the club back when it belongs. Feyenoord is the prototype of a club of the supporters. But without them being entitled to derive individual or collective rights or make demands based on that. Supporters are not only the ones that are able to attend matches, but also all those – hundreds of thousands – who are unable to do that for whatever reason.

We are a club that without ever being subsidised is still able to in hold its own independently and decently. There can be no doubt that this is an extremely difficult job that a large group of co-workers now work hard to achieve. But even with occasional international successes a big club in a small marketplace will find it increasingly difficult to continue to live up to expectations.

In the coming years, in sporting terms significantly better efforts will have to be invested – for example by the youth academy and scouting – to achieve more success. I would have liked to be part of that. The question is whether – after all those tough years – that should be the case. But also the situation the club finds itself in and the way the club deals with it has led me to believe that my time has come to stop.

I have not incidentally been guided by the recent supporters disturbances. The future of an institution like Feyenoord cannot and must not be decided by a small and largely anonymous group of radical troublemakers that imposes its will with all means. I would rather offer resistance to that than give in to it. And I am not doing that. The decision I have taken is completely independent of that: I am now closing the book on managing Feyenoord. That does not change the fact of course that I am sympathetic towards the club. I remain a faithful fan of the club, which has been a decisive part of my life for many years. I will be handing over the tasks and competences I still have at the earliest opportunity. I hope with my heart that Feyenoord soon achieves the success that is rightly expected. But even if the great success takes time, I hope that we can continue to be proud of the club. I express my gratitude for all the support I have had over the years, from both the supporters and everyone in the organisation. That is all.
Feyenoord Business CLub
INLOG VOOR ONZE LEDEN
WILT U OOK LID WORDEN?
×