‘After winning the final I partied for a week. You have to celebrate a fantastic experience like winning the UEFA Cup appropriately. I was called up to the Dutch squad for a friendly in Boston against USA. Then I went fishing for salmon and trout in Ireland for a week with a friend and two acquaintances. It was a great week with a lot of laughs, camaraderie, a great deal of fishing and, unfortunately, a load of rain. In early June I spent two and a half weeks in Italy with my wife: a wonderful holiday with only nice hot weather.
‘It’s now all about to start again. We’ve come through the game with Spurs and it was a good pointer formwise. The game showed we’re not quite there, but I do think that preseason has given us what we were hoping for. The only downer is that we’ve had to do without players like Paauwe and Van Hooijdonk for quite a while.
‘I’ve no complaints about my own preparations. I had a bit of trouble from my Achilles in the Spijkenisse game, but otherwise I was able to play almost every minute. So I’m in a better position than I was last year when I broke my cheekbone in preseason.
‘The buildup always includes the Open Day and I arrived in the helicopter for the first time this year. We didn’t have that when I came to Feyenoord so it was nice to get to do that. We circled around Rotterdam and that was a thrill. And entering the stadium like that is extraordinary. You hear the roar as it begins to swell... It was a great feeling, like so often at Feyenoord. That’s why I recently extended my contract by a year. I’m happy that we reached agreement during preseason; negotiations are something you really don’t want to get involved in during the season. I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I am happy here; I play every week in a packed stadium and I know that it would be very difficult to find a better club than Feyenoord.’