Hooligans in Holland are normal

A report on So Foot reveals: The same hooligan situation prevails in the Netherlands today as it did in England in the 1980s.

Ajax, afraid of Amsterdam. This is the title of a report by Margaux Solinas for I know Foot about Ajazidale's typhus. It is not the first time that the French newspaper, which has always paid attention to the dynamics of European support, has addressed the hooligan issue in Holland. In fact, in the Eredivisie, Sundays without accidents in the stadium are rarer than those with them.

But how do you explain such a fact unique in Europe?

Solinas examines the reasons from a) cultural, innate and at the same time b) historical perspective, based on current events that have certainly led to an increase in violence in Dutch stadiums. However, let us proceed in turn and resort to the (paradigmatic) case of Ajax. On December 21 last year, the Amsterdam team was beaten 3-2 by USV Hercules in the domestic cup, in a strange mythological crossroads that marked the final end of the Ajacids' golden era – at least by Ajax, the very important Dutch and European side wrote football from 2010 to a few years ago. Hercules is indeed a fourth division team, and the red and white fans didn't take too well to another defeat of the season (we're talking about one of the most disastrous years in Ajax's history), to put it mildly.

On Contrasti ULTRA you will find a detailed analysis every week typhus. Subscribe now to receive and read in your inbox next Sunday morning everyone and 20 The episodes Precedents

On January 10, 2024, sports director Hendriks resigned from his position, Sven Mislintat, technical director, had already been fired last September (not to mention). adoption by Van der Saar, Ten Haag et al. in the last two years). The arrival of Alex Kroes (new coach) and the purchase of Henderson (who will play from March) are a breath of fresh air in this sense, but Ajax fans have of course not forgotten the club's long crisis, from which it has not been able to return Fame that has marked much of its history.

Jan, a long-time ultras, confides exactly that to SolinasArticle From I know Foot above: “Hooligans are part of the identity of football in the Netherlands. It's like in England, they keep the club alive. They are the heart of the fans, even the simple ones (who are still in the minority). At the moment [quelli dell’Ajax] They are angry about the poor results.” However, it is one thing to be angry and it is another to complain You have a say in the club's management decisions. One of the internal members of the Ajacide club revealed to Solinas that “one of the most famous hooligans had an excellent relationship with the former director of Ajax, they communicated with each other and often met.” It was an informal communication and it worked. In addition, the angry actions of the hooligans forced the club to take internal measures.

THE Changes were made because the hooligans became active. Maybe it sounds strange, but that’s how it works here.”

We had them already talked about it At Contrasts ULTRA: Dutch fans are the owners of football in Holland. Do you remember the famous lighter thrown at Davy Klaassen during the Feyenoord vs Ajax Amsterdam game on April 6, 2023? Well, Justice Minister Dilan Yeslijoz had said: “If the situation remains like this, we will soon impose a home ban on fans.” However, a few months later, on September 24, 2023, the championship game between Ajax and Feyenoord was canceled while the Rotterdam team was leading 3-0. A horde of angry hooligans threw smoke bombs and fireworks onto the pitch of the Johan Cruyff Arena under the helpless gaze of the Dutch police.

Hooligans Holland
The hell of September 24, 2023

In Holland, no one can forget the fight between Ajax and Feyenoord hooligans in Beverwijk in 1997, in which Ajax fan Carlo Picornie was killed (our detailed analysis of the matter here). «It is important to know that hooliganism in the Netherlands, unlike in England, is not a question of class or origin. Some are architects, some are plumbers, some are teachers… What unites them is their love for the club and the game,” explains Rein Everard, former Ajax defender. In short, football as a pool and clot of violence. However, not of criminal violence – at least in Holland – but emotional, passionate, as Carmelo Bene would say, pathological.

However, Solinas' analysis does not stop there and goes even deeper. He writes: “In a country that made Johan Cruyff its greatest representative and that took over the….” Total football by Rinus Michels as a philosophy of life, This sport has inevitably taken on identity connotations». Interviewed Ultras Jan reveals that “the hooligans live for their team, they have Ajax tattoos, their houses have the team colors and their free time is dedicated to football.”

According to the Dutch Football Association, a football fan devotes 11 hours of his time per week to football-related activities, out of the 42 available to the average Dutch person. 26%, a significant percentage. Here because “Fighting bigotry is so difficult. Even more The hooligans' connections to club leaders and the country's liberalism do not necessarily force the authorities to intervene». Rein Everard also reveals that “there is no clear law against certain actions in the stadium.” We are a liberal country and we don't want to ask fans to report to the police before games, that goes against our mentality. Discussions about the use of sanctions are ongoing. We must follow the end of the season to see whether the hooligans resist the stadium and whether action can be taken.” A subject that must be followed carefully, in a country that is still able to use words like To fill identity and tradition with real content.

cover photo Wieland Van Dijk

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