Thursday, April 3, 2008

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a season

I had a text message from a friend after the game last night. It read: "As we say in the Netherlands: even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a season."

I don't think that's really a Dutch proverb, but it was a good night for me. Did you hear how quiet the stadium went after I scored? I don't think anyone could quite believe what they had seen (I call it The Barnsley Effect) and - before you ask - yes: I did get the last touch; and no: it definitely wasn't a penalty.

Pieter Vink is the best referee in the Netherlands. He is from Noordwijkerhout, only a few miles from Katwijk and was a policeman there for many years. I have great respect for him. He started refereeing when I joined Quick Boys as a school boy and our careers have followed the same upward path ever since. I met him several times while playing in the Eredivisie.

The fans, cruelly, call him 'Blinde' Vink. You need a great mentality to be a referee and to overcome these taunts from fans and players. I thought Pieter showed that he has this strong mentality by not awarding the penalty. I'm sure it had nothing to do with our acquaintance...

...but I will ask my mother to take him round some home baking just in case. Dank u Pieter!

Tot de volgende keer

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The drop that floods the bucket

"De druppel die de emmer doet overlopen," as we say in the Netherlands.

A great sadness overcame me after the Manchester trip. I had built up such high hopes that this season could be the one where we might cause an upset. Instead, we lose our heads and the match in humiliating fashion.

I felt I took Harry's strategy to new levels against United, but it did not pay dividends as I had hoped it might. Stevie had clearly tired of giving me as many opportunities as he did against Inter and opted instead to pass the ball straight to the opposition. I'm not sure if the chance of them losing possession in dangerous areas was any greater than the chance of me doing something useful in dangerous areas, but I took the hint and Stevie and I have not spoken since.

It is not within my nature to give up like this, but the dark nights are getting to me. The gaffer talks about the "dark mondays"; I have dark Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays too. Sometimes I cry. I'm not ashamed to admit it: real men, cry. Every missed opportunity brings a tear, which annoys Gertrude because she constantly has to change the pillow cases in the middle of the night.

So it was a big effort to raise my head for the derby. And I'm not sure what to say about the game: we controlled it absolutely; we won; my Katwijian ball control provided Fernando with an assist; and yet...

...when I got home from the match, Gertrude had left me a whole new set of pillow cases.


Tot de volgende keer