Anyway, the Eredivisie, having reached its halfway point just after Christmas, is currently enjoying the winter break, or 'winterstop', as they call it.
I've had a good rundown of the action to date bookmarked for some time, and have been reading it in pieces, in between some of my more scholarly pursuits. You're welcome to do the same, though I should warn you that you may experience some linguistic difficulties.
The lead paragraph employs typically Dutch understated self-confidence:
Klein, fijn en immer onvoorspelbaar Eredivisie halverwegeIn other words:
AMSTERDAM - Wie het naar de overdaad van het clubvoetbal in Engeland of Spanje begerige oog kan sluiten, heeft zich ook het afgelopen halve seizoen kunnen vermaken met de verwikkelingen in de eredivisie. Klein maar fijn, is het predicaat.
Small, good and always unpredictable Eredivisie at the halfway pointThe article goes on to spill the details in a rather general way for those who haven't always been paying attention. In short, it's been entertaining for the following reasons:
AMSTERDAM - Whoever is able to turn their greedy eyes away from the excess of club football in England and Spain could have amused themselves quite well with the developments in the eredivisie of the past half season. Sometimes good things come in small packages.
- 6 different teams have occupied top spot in the 17 matchdays of the season to date: PSV (Eindhoven), ADO (Den Haag), FC Groningen, NAC (Breda), Ajax (Amsterdam) and AZ (Alkmaar)
- In contrast to previous years where the big city sides (Ajax and Feyenoord) have dominated, some of the boeren are now having their way; in particular AZ and FC Twente.
- PSV, the strongest side in recent years, is 11 points off the chase
- The reputation for attacking football is confirmed with an average of just over 3 goals per game.
- 3 teams (Ajax, Twente, and NEC (Nijmegen)) remain in the UEFA Cup
- The big money owners of the world like Abramovic are also popping up on the Dutch scene with mixed results (AZ - good, Utrecht - bad!)
For the 2007-08 season:
|Ligue 1 (FR)||21804|
Of Europe's leagues, it ranks sixth, which is probably where I'd rank the standard of play as well, although I suspect Russia is better than most would think.
An interesting development, more on the business side of things, is the proposal for a merger of some southern teams into a super club called FC Limburg. The idea was floated by the management of Roda JC (home of Marcel de Jong) and second tier side Fortuna Sittard, with fellow lower level teams MVV and VVV being encouraged by the KNVB (Dutch association) to go along for the ride.
Fans are not pleased (headline translates to 'Few hearts have room for FC Limburg'). The Netherlands has a history of club mergers, just like any other country (ever wonder where all those 'United's come from?) with a particularly busy period in the 1950s and 60s. Case in point:
Almost as convoluted as a Steinbach family tree. (At least no names appear twice in this one.)
Even without including the lineage for MVV and VVV, the two principals Fortuna and Roda JC already make the picture cloudy enough. FC Limburg isn't a done deal yet, but something to watch.