There is often an unwanted, unavoidable, expectation stigma attached to a young promising footballer who is the relative of a playing legend.

  • By Leo Walker
  • Follow Leo on Twitter

muhrenAt a minimum the player should at least reach the levels of their father, uncle or grandfather, though the true expectation is that as they’ve been taught from a ‘master’ at such a young age, they should exceed that high standard. In reality though, this is often not the case.

Pedigree is a term used famously in the sport of horse racing, and in order for rich owners to gain access into a high performing bloodline, stud fees are often that expensive they can be considered more ludicrous than footballers wages. To those unaware, a 14 race unbeaten horse called Frankel, who earned just under £3m in prize money, costs £125,000 for each cover of a mare. A rich form of prostitution, if you will.

Famous examples of where footballers have failed to live up to expectations? Well look no further than Mr Dutch Football himself, Johan Cruyff. His son Jordi managed to earn starts for FC Barcelona (whilst his father was in charge I might add) before a failed transfer to Manchester United. His career went rapidly downhill from there. Johan Cruyff’s grandson Jesjua started his career with FC Barcelona in their infamous youth set up but now aged 20 he has recently completed a trial at Slovakian side AS Trencin where no contract has been offered. In other words, a free agent.

The amount of un-welcomed pressure before these youngsters even kick a ball is overwhelming. Will Brooklyn Beckham be able to cross the ball as well as David? Unlikely. Will Tom Ince follow in his fathers footsteps and sign for Inter Milan, a rumour that emerged in the transfer just gone? Can Kasper Schmeichel reach the heights of his father, Peter? Will Sergio Aguero’s son, grandson of Maradona, godson of Lionel Messi, be the next Paul Dalglish or one of the greatest players in his generation. .

Step forward, Robert Mühren, current 24 year old attacking midfielder of hometown club, FC Volendam. Nephew to the late, great, Gerrie Mühren who formed a key part in the golden era of Ajax’s history when helping them win three successive European Cups. Lets not forget, Nephew also to Arnold Mühren who provided the famous assist for Marco van Basten’s superb volley in the Euro 1988 final, arguably the greatest volley of all time. Arnold would also play for Ajax before stints in England with Ipswich and Manchester United. A fine pedigree indeed.

Not just blood links Robert, Gerrie and Arnold, they were all born in the small picturesque seaside town of Volendam in Noord-Holland and have all put on the orange shirt of their hometown club. Robert started his career with amateur club RKAV Volendam, before earning a move to the famous Ajax youth set in 2001 where his uncle Arnold was a youth coach.

His career with Ajax failed to materialise and he made a return to RKAV Volendam before being picked up by the professional club, FC Volendam in 2011. Robert has been rebuilding his career with his hometown club and dreams of playing in the top tier of Dutch football are becoming a reality. In his first campaign with FC Volendam he scored 9 goals from 33 games. Last season, when FC Volendam suffered final day heartbreak to lose the Eerste Divisie Championship to SC Cambuur, Robert failed to hold down a regular starting spot in the season however managed to score 17 goals in 41 games.

This season, Robert is the first name on the team sheet for FC Volendam and he has taken his opportunities well by rewarding his club by scoring 21 goals from 24 games played. With an improved eye for goal, Robert has become a strong finisher.

The family suffered heartbreak in September of last year with the death of Gerrie Mühren in September, a week later FC Volendam were scheduled to play Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena in the Dutch Cup.

A fitting tribute to the Ajax legend took place before the game started. Robert Mühren stunned the Amsterdam Arena with two goals. Despite FC Volendam’s heroics they went out 4-2 in extra time, but Gerrie Mühren would have been proud of the battling performance.

NEC Nijmegen of the Eredivisie were rumoured to be interested in Robert but a serious bid never materialised in the transfer window just gone. A transfer away from FC Volendam is looking like the only way he will get to the top tier anytime soon as this season they find themselves 12 points off the pace and will be relying on promotion through the play-offs.

Robert Mühren had a slow start to his career, however at 24 he has matured into a fine second striker and the question is not now if he will get the opportunity to play in the Eredivisie, but when. A chance for Robert to make a name for himself.

Leo Walker (36 Posts)