It looked as if Feyenoord played at home last Wednesday. In Varkenord it was full of fans. But Feyenoord did not play. Volunteers from the De Feijenoorder Supporters’ Association were able to take a photo with the pot at the last minute. They were not told twice.
And so there was Janet, Jeron, Giggs, Nicole, Philip, Jeron, Ebro, Roy, Martin, Glenn, Mandy, photographer Danny, and more. Martin never lost sight of Libra and Ella and Carly were there to make sure everything ran smoothly.
There was also Anki and Jon, who are inseparable and inescapable. John is a strong, stocky Rotterdam in his early 70s. He has a white beard on his chin and spikes in his ears. He eats nails for breakfast, I think.
“How are you, John?”
“Well, there’s not much to grumble about,” he says wryly. He points in the direction of De Kuip. The other side is also called Varkenord.
“If these two players Slot and Te Kloese continue like this, they will ruin the whole culture of the club,” I say with a wink.
Suffice it to say, John talks about his latest acquisition: a Feyenoord sleeveless jersey—”nice guy, that hot”—which he managed to pass through Feyenoord Basketball. “They don’t sell in the fan store,” he grumbled. For example, talk goes to Adidas that Feyenoord was going to lose millions by banning the shirts from being sold in Mexico.
“And how are you?” I try again.
“Yeah, okay mate. We’re so far from home. We haven’t even come back or we’re already leaving.”
“It’s good that you’re taking it easy.”
“It’s good to be home, too,” John says, as if to avoid any misunderstandings.
This is how short conversations with Bass, Jeroen, Martine, Philippe and Janet’s hugs follow. I give them my son.
When we leave Farkenord a little later, I tell him, ‘Seeing Feyenoorders again always feels like coming home.’
He said “yes”. He is a man of few words.
Feyenoord is also always present in his life. He wakes up with her and sleeps with her. Like many Feyenoorders do. Soon they will go on vacation. This looks like a party, but that’s the look. Even when they are enjoying their time with their partners, children and friends, Feyenoord is always there. Who will come and who will go? What time does the open day start? What will be the competition programme? When do we play against them? When do I get my season ticket? As summer progresses, all of these Feyenoorders are counting down to the day when they can return to Feyenoord. To the open day, to a practice or to a practice match where they are still allowed to go. Then they cannot believe their luck. Not only because they saw the players again or de Kuip. Or Varkenord or 1908. They see each other. Every year, that moment marks the end of the holiday season. For Feyenoorders, this is the highlight of the summer.
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”