With chairman Jorien van den Herik enjoying a well-earned rest in foreign climes it was Rob Baan who addressed the guests at Feyenoord’s annual new year’s reception Monday. The club’s technical director had little in the way of exclusives, but he did have a clear message with which to open 2003. ‘Feyenoord and its players will have to show character this year,’ Baan said, alluding to the current sporting slump at the club.

There will be no spectacular new arrivals from the domestic scene however. Prices are simply too high, as Feyenoord recently found out when the club tried to land FC Utrecht’s Pascal Bosschaart and Dirk Kuyt. That means that the Rotterdammers will be forced to look over the border in the foreseeable future. Any such imports will have to considerably strengthen the squad of course. That includes Chinese striker Qu Bo, who’s currently on trial at the club. ‘You mustn’t throw away your old shoes before you get new ones,’ Baan acknowledged. So the priority right now is to extend the contracts of the senior members of Bert van Marwijk’s squad. Baan has already opened talks with Rob Jansen, the agent representing Kees van Wonderen and Pierre van Hooijdonk, among others. Pierre in particular has been in the news a lot this past year. ‘Feyenoord is Van Hooijdonk, you hear that everywhere,’ Baan said. ‘And it is true. But those who say that Van Hooijdonk is too important are often the ones who were critical when we contracted him. The fact is that Pierre has earned his current status all by himself and that he is incredibly important for us. So we would very much like to keep him.’ Baan did have a note of reservation for the club’s top scorer however. ‘Pierre sometimes expresses opinions on things that he should not concern himself with. That is due to his fanaticism and his determination to get the most out of everything. In itself a good thing, but he must take care not to offend his teammates. That kind of criticism is great in the dressing room, but not outside it.’
Feyenoord Business CLub