CANNED ENTHUSIASM UNABLE TO TILT FEYENOORD TOWARDS VICTORY

Stadium announcer Peter Houtman must have felt as though he’d thrown a party and no one had turned up, as he welcomed around 200 people to De Kuip ahead of Thursday’s Uefa Cup match with Rapid Bucharest. Houtman is used to speaking in front of 40,000-plus, but on this occasion he could have left his microphone at home. Nevertheless, after a request from the home side that the game be approached like any other, Houtman kept to his usual routine.

The players ran onto the pitch to the dulcet tones of Feyenoord fanatic Lee Tower’s version of club anthem Hand in Hand Kameraden. But with just 150 people allowed in to witness the event in the flesh, including the playing squads, there were few to sing along with him. Yet there was a cheer as Houtman read the Feyenoord team and it came from the home dugout, as the substitutes egged on the starting eleven.


 
The game started as it would finish, in almost complete silence, save the odd yell from the bench. That said, when Kuyt gave the Rotterdammers the lead with a wonderful lob it most probably got a loud roar around the city’s and the country’s living-rooms, but at De Kuip canned cheers reverbed around the empty stands via the stadium’s PA system. Better than nothing, at least.
 
The silence after the Rapid equaliser didn’t have to imitated, but the goal hurt all the same. The match ended 1-1 and so Feyenoord will travel to Bucharest in two weeks’ time in need of at least one goal to secure a place in the group stages of the Uefa Cup.
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