Feyenoord’s New Year Reception was a busy affair Friday as Chairman Jorien van den Herik broached a wide array of subjects in his traditional turn-of-year speech. They included the recent disappointing performances, the various partnerships the club has at home and abroad and the sale of young striker Thomas Buffel. ‘From a business perspective, the partnerships and the sale of Buffel were both very good deals.’ Neither is Van den Herik up in arms about his club’s sporting achievements so far this season.

The Feyenoord chairman emphasised his optimism with respect to what his
squad can achieve in coming months. ‘A short while ago I read an
article with the headline: Last year Jorien was angry, so he’ll be
livid now. No, I’m not and I wasn’t. Disappointed, yes, but every
Feyenoorder is. But we have stayed calm and as a result we’ve been able
to make a sober analysis of the causes of our performance and then done
what we could and had to do. And it’s not always about money. We
started well during the first half of the league and we are now just
about to start the second half. We will start well again, I’m convinced
of that, but we will have to keep going longer this time. We don’t have
a choice, by the way. Because Feyenoord always has to be a trailblazer
in the Netherlands. We have the organisation to do that with very good
people that put their heart and soul into it every day. That’s one of
the reasons why I am optimistic.’

The chairman expressed his delight at the various partnerships the club
has in the Netherlands and over the borders. ‘I sometimes hear people
tot up our partnerships: Varkenoord, Excelsior, Ghana, South Africa,
Brazil and Poland. And then they say: what must all cost that? I can
give a brief and clear answer to that. Varkenoord is a must. Excelsior
has generated a profit up to now. The investments in Ghana and Poland
are financed fully outside of Feyenoord. South Africa is 0.7% of the
budget. Only in Brazil is there at the moment an investment of two
million euros, measured over a period of ten years. With as payback for
us the contracts with Leonardo, Magrão, Sammuel and Avelino Coelho,
who’s playing at Westerlo in Belgium. From a business perspective
that’s completely responsible.’

The sale of Thomas Buffel to Glasgow Rangers meant that the club got
some return on a player who has grown up in Rotterdam. ‘We didn’t hit
the jackpot. We will be paid in instalments, because there isn’t a club
nowadays that pays at once, at least 3.5 million euros and we have a
substantial interest in a new registration of his contract. For a
player who had only eighteen months left on his contract that is a

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