by Alex Royal@Royallylad

2018 is over and with the Eredivisie season in the midst of the winterstop, I thought it would be nice to start the new year with a piece. I’ve not written since August, due to some personal troubles. Anyway, I’ll take you through why I love the Eredivisie so much.

Goals, Goals & Goals

It’s widely known that the Eredivisie is one of the most free-scoring leagues in the world. With an average of 3.41 goals a game so far, this season has been no exception. Quite simply, attack is the best form of defence. 3-0 up with 10 minutes left? No problem, just keep on attacking! This makes for end to end and highly enjoyable games.

Hidden Diamonds

Especially in recent years, the Eredivisie has been a paradise for unearthing hidden gems and turning them into brilliant players. This process undoubtedly ends with selling them onto Europe’s elite.

Ronaldo and Romário are probably the most famous ‘diamonds’, that have graced the Eredivisie, both with PSV.

Recent times have seen an array of gems make their mark in Holland. Hirving Lozano, Davinson Sánchez and Christian Eriksen being the most notable.

Youth

With an average player age of just 24.4, the joint 3rd lowest in Europe with Finland’s Veikkausliiga and only behind Slovakia’s Super Liga and the Meistriliiga of Estonia, the Eredivisie is one of the youngest leagues in Europe.

The increasing reliability on homegrown talent and youth is mainly down to the lack of TV revenue, sponsorship and the lucrative wages that top European leagues resort to nowadays.

I like to think of the Dutch academies as well-oiled production lines that just keep on producing, year after year.

Financially, Dutch clubs cannot compete with the affluent fat cats of European football such as PSG and Manchester City, meaning the emphasis on youth is only going to get bigger.

Stadiums & Supporters

Whenever I visit, I always feel welcome; no matter which game I’m attending. Dutch fans are a fantastic and friendly bunch, who are always keen to ask why I come over so much. The clubs themselves are really helpful too, especially when it comes to ticketing and getting round those pesky clubcard obligations.

I was recently asked if I was happy to be interviewed for FeanFan, Heerenveen’s supporters magazine when I went over last month, at their game against Utrecht. I was happy to oblige and felt honoured.

Besides the fans, there’s also a unique charm to the Dutch stadiums that’s just so alluring. Stadiums like De Koel, with those unique players’ stairs, so much character in 4 completely different style stands along with an away end that could pass for a Wandsworth prison cell, would be closed on health & safety back home, yet still here they are in 2019, in the highest echelon of Dutch football.

Soulless bowls are now the norm back home and as a traditionalist, I saviour the trips to the old school stadiums. Griffin Park is my favourite. Such grounds are a dying breed, yet ones that are to be savoured, cherished and loved until the very final curtain call.

Lack of TV power

This is going to seem like a crazy reason at first, but please do read on.

Over here in England, the TV companies rule football, meaning games are subject to change at short notice. These changes also incur ridiculous situations such as Newcastle travelling to Bournemouth on a Monday night; just so the game can be televised. Sky/BT don’t care about the supporters, not one little bit.

This doesn’t happen in Holland, once the fixtures get announced, the only thing that can change them is a team’s progress in European competition after Christmas. The KNVB are wise enough to take this into consideration when they publish the fixtures. These small enough considerations mean that I can plan my trips over without TV dictating the dates.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. What do you love most about the Eredivisie? Comment below!




Alex Royal (10 Posts)

22 year old from the UK, Middlesbrough fan but have a huge passion for Dutch football in general, especially the Eredivisie. I try and get over when it doesn't clash with Middlesbrough games.