It is an afternoon on which a 73-year-old resident of The Hague in his last weeks as a coach can give the final blow to the club he was very fond of as a boy. But around 2.30 p.m., Feyenoord coach Dick Advocaat in the stadium of ADO Den Haag mainly wipes the floor with his own team in front of the press. He even flirts out loud with an early end to his career.
ADO Den Haag wins from Feyenoord, and there is no artificial turf grain injustice to that 3-2 victory. It is ADO’s first home win even though it is already May. Although the number had actually already accepted relegation last. Although ADO fears it will no longer be able to pay players’ salaries this month. ADO is for sale now that the club management has seized the shares of the Chinese major shareholder, who no longer wishes to transfer money. But anyone who wants to get involved has to bring at least ten million euros to get things going somewhat smoothly.
ADO is an intensely divided club, which has been dangling on the brink of collapse for years. Where club icons burn each other to the ankles, but no one takes full responsibility. Where a selection has been put together that is full of doubts, both physical and mental.
Within three minutes, Feyenoord takes the lead via striker Bozenik, who is allowed to play due to a suspension from captain Berghuis. ADO is dramatic in every part of the game in the first fifteen minutes. Lawyer sinks back in the sun in The Hague, a quiet afternoon finally dawns. In the past, still in the intimidating Zuiderpark, he himself screamed ADO forward. But except for a few brutal employees, there is no one with an ADO heart. Only Lawyer himself, who is mentioned as a future savior, together with Rob Jansen and Kees Jansma, among others. With a monster victory, he catapults himself forward and can fly a second flight: finishing fourth with Feyenoord, a still somewhat worthy farewell.
But Feyenoord’s throat grip suddenly softens, as it often does this season. Dominant football never got into Lawyer. The group of players does not have the desired qualities for this, he has been calling internally for a long time and increasingly externally, to the annoyance of his players. On Sunday afternoon, he stated unconcealed into the microphone: ‘We are fighting for fourth, fifth place. That’s where we belong. I’ll just say it hard once. ‘
After the cup elimination against Heerenveen in mid-February, he announced that his team could finish second. At the beginning of the season, it was even hinted at a role in the title fight.
Feyenoord brings ADO into the match itself when two routiners, Fer and Toornstra, do not understand each other and it turns out that the tall ADO striker Arweiler cannot be traced.
Stupid yellow card
The red-white balloon suddenly deflates, the yellow-green balloon fills up. Toornstra takes a stupid first yellow card, as a result of which he, like Berghuis, is suspended for the imminent classic against Ajax, and just before time an even more stupid second. In between, the normally calm midfielder shows himself very irritated towards teammates.
ADO midfielder El Khayati first scores from the penalty spot and then after a beautiful feint. Only Jørgensen does something back on behalf of Feyenoord with a striking header.
Feyenoord’s recipe for the final phase: Botteghin, the least footballer of all, let the balls shoot forward where three strikers, Jørgensen, Pratto and Bozenik, are standing who Lawyer has long dismissed.
Lawyer, who was already raving about critical journalists and analysts on Friday, gives an argument afterwards that is as inimitable as the game of his team. ‘You can play badly and play badly. I have not often seen something like this afternoon, then there is irritation in the team, also towards each other. There is of course something going on in the minds at the end of the season. Otherwise I cannot explain that you play so badly. That is also a question for myself. Can’t I hit them anymore? ‘
Later it turns out that Lawyer does not see himself as guilty. And that Feyenoord will not send him away, and neither will the players. “I do that myself.”
He seems to be already working on that in his hometown with his hard-hitting statements. At ESPN he says: “When I see this team, players who earn top salaries, I am ashamed.”
The remark that he had not yet entered into a dialogue in the dressing room is also caustic, because ‘the boys who were taken out were all insulted. You have to be careful with that, don’t you. ‘
He then admits that he feels that the team he managed to reanimate so well last season is slipping through his fingers. ‘If I saw it today, it certainly is. Whatever you say, you can no longer reach them. ‘
At the end of the in all respects wondrous afternoon, he pries open the door again. “I can’t imagine they feel better when I’m not there.”