The new signings were officially welcomed to Feyenoord with a huge fans’ greeting at Wednesday’s Open Day. New boys Joonas Kolkka, Benjamin De Ceulaer, Henk Timmer, Theo Lucius and Stein Huysegems were given a particularly warm reception when they stepped out onto the De Kuip centre circle after the now traditional helicopter ride. Masters of ceremonies Sipke Jan Bousema and Peter Houtman jumped in to get a reaction from the quintet and it’s fair to say that the replies were very similar. ‘It’s fantastic to experience this.’
Joonas Kolkka has been around a bit, but he feels that what he’s experiencing at Feyenoord exceeds anything he’s encountered up to now. Spoiled by the madness of Panathinaikos and two Eredivisie championships over in Eindhoven, the Finn admits to being surprised by what he’s experienced as he settles in to his first year at Feyenoord. Amazed by the reception he and the rest of the squad were given on the first day of training, the former Borussia Mönchengladbach and Crystal Palace winger was bowled over by the Open Day welcome. ‘I have never experienced this; it’s really brilliant,’ admitted Kolkka.
Henk Timmer was another ‘newcomer’ to express his appreciation for the way he has been welcomed back to Feyenoord. Timmer left Feyenoord for AZ in 2002, but returned to the club a few month’s ago and he was given a place in the helicopter, making up for missing it five years ago. ‘It didn’t really happen last time. I’m really happy to be back. It’s fantastic to come in like this.’
Theo Lucius was pithy but potent – ‘You cannot come in like this anywhere else’ – while Stein Huysegems braved a little bit of dread to get up in the chopper. ‘I’m not such a big fan of flying and certainly not in a helicopter, but I wouldn’t have missed this for anything.’