Ok, it shouldn’t have gone down to the last day. We went into the final weekend having failed to win in the previous three games, but amazingly we were still top, albeit level on points.
rkav Volendam 61pts
I didn’t really bother looking at goal difference, I just felt that if we won we were champions. Burly was out injured, again, so Beumer has moved back into the midfield three and Marengo came back into the side playing in the hole. We were playing de Dijk who were at the other end of the table.
We sailed ahead, but so did Sportlust and, much more worryingly, Volendam. They went 3-0 up in the first eight minutes and looked like they may well overhaul the goal difference. When we were 4-0 up in the first half there we were two goals ahead, then de Dijk scored and so did Volendam. Volendam were top and we were winning 4-1! On the stroke of half time it changed again, Vanmaris getting his second to put us 5-1 ahead and top of the table once more. This was properly nerve racking. I nearly threw up when de Dijk had the ball in the net again, early in the second half. I have never been so happy to see an offside flag! Fifty six minutes gone. A long kick from our ‘keeper, headed down by Brinkman. Vanmaris flicks it to Dos Santos who blasts it home from twenty-five yards! 6-1 and a two goal difference at the top. I switched to “control” in the hope of not conceding again. Brinkman made it 7-1, I started to relax! Ten minutes to go and Volendam scored again, we had a three goal cushion but another goal either way would make it very, very tight. Volendam got a fifth, two goal gap and de Dijk had a corner! I was panicking, but we cleared the corner and broke at pace. Vanmaris ran free, went round the ‘keeper and slotted home another hattrick!!!! Well, you are supposed to win titles with style (in my humble opinion) so when there were ten seconds on the clock we threw a free kick into the box and big Bob Janzen headed hope number nine. Yes, we needed to win the game to win promotion and we went out and scored nine! We had done it, finally. Champions!
I have had last day thrillers in the past. I can recall starting the day in second place twice with Clapton and nicking the title. I sneaked into the final promotion place at least once with Jena when results went my way on the last day. But nothing topped this. I could not face another season at this level, and to clinch it in such style was incredible.
It was very fitting that Thiemo Vanmaris rounded off his season with a hattrick. He finished with 27 goals in 28 games (first place), 17 assists (second place) and an average rating of 7.87 (first place). Not a bad season at all!
As the players were drinking the champagne I was straight on to the board. We have £354k in the bank, mainly due to the cup match at Feyenoord, so I didn’t get my wish for training ground improvements. They did grant me another coach and another scout though, so it wasn’t all bad.
Squad wise, we will need some new faces next year – I plan to replace the weakest link in each position other than goalkeeper, providing I can find a quality replacement who is Dutch and U23. I have looked at their ratings and compared it to their performance this season and decided that Racaj, Tiouhana and Sadliek will be moving on.
Just a short update as it is the second of today, and I will spend the rest of tonight plotting our Topklasse campaign!
I am still amazed that we have done it.
Kom op Haarlem!
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