Feyenoord earned their third Johan Cruijff Shield win in their history in Eindhoven on Saturday evening. Head coach Giovann...
Angelos Charisteas put in his first day at the office Monday. The Greek striker arrived at De Kuip in the morning to sign his contract and two-and-a-half hours later he made his way to the training pitch for the first time through a swath of supporters and camera units. Charisteas’s reception was overwhelmingly positive, and there was even a round of applause. After the session the striker talked about his transfer, which has generated a huge amount of hot air. ‘I don’t mind that the fans are angry. I’ll do everything I can to win their trust.’
Charisteas’ former employer Ajax is not the most popular club in Rotterdam and the new Feyenoord striker has not failed to perceive the commotion generated over the past few days. The Greek national team has been in Moldova on Euro 2008 qualifying business, but even in Chisinau the Maassiders’ newest acquisition has been able to follow developments on internet. Charisteas was not too nervous about his first day at De Kuip however. ‘I’m focusing on football, the match against Sparta is what counts now.’
Charisteas certainly walked the walk on his first day in Rotterdam and was one of the first players to emerge from the dressing. There was a smile on his face too, despite a less than friendly welcome from a handful of supporters and a horde of camera units. ‘I felt welcome. The first training has given me a good feeling. Some supporters reacted angrily and I understand that. I have been in Holland for long enough to understood how big the rivalry is between Ajax and Feyenoord. I’m used to that in Greece too. But there were fans clapping as well and they gave me the feeling that I am welcome. That’s important for me. I hope to convince the supporters who are angry.’
The Greek understands as much as anyone that unbridled effort and a bunch of goals will ease his progress at de Kuip. ‘I have to work very hard and score goals to win the confidence of the fans. Feyenoord has given me a good feeling. When the club contacted me I know Feyenoord was a top club for me. I want to do everything possible to be a success here. Today is the last day I’ll be talking with the press for now. The match against Sparta is the main thing now. Feyenoord hasn’t started well and so we have to win. I will give everything I have because I want to do well with my club.'