With the unique collection of like minded people that football matches create, there is the potential for political movements. This, fans of Eredivisie clubs will hope, will be the case this weekend as supporters carry out a potentially historic protest.
The Johan Cruyff Shield, or the Dutch Super Cup, is the traditional curtain raiser of the season. The league champions of the season prior meet the reigning cup winners to kick-off the new campaign in style and hopefully, in a sunny, happy and optimistic atmosphere.
However, this year there is some controversy before a ball has even been kicked. The Dutch FA have changed the organising of the event, traditionally played at a neutral venue, to be played at the home of the league winners. On top of this, rather than giving the two clubs a 50-50 share of the ticket allocation, the match will take the usual league format. De Kuip, the fortress of Feyenoord will be the host this weekend, and it isn’t uncommon for a club to play a cup final in their home ground. Yet, when such an occurrence happens, the attendance inside the arena has always been an even share of supporters of both sides. So, already suffering the disadvantage of being the away team, you can imagine how Vitesse fans felt when they were given just over a thousand tickets for the match – a mere fraction of the 51000-seater stadium.
In response to this news, fans of Eredivisie clubs, despite their being so many rivalries within the division, have come together to protest. For the first time in history, fans of every club, including the Feyenoord fans who have of course benefitted from the ruling on this occasion, will be as one as they seek to overturn the new KNVB ruling. Vitesse’s official supporters’ club plan to boycott the match and, in place of a section of fans dressed in their yellow and black, we can expect to see two fans of each and every top-flight Dutch club in the away sector.
As such it promises to be a colourful occasion with headlines being made in the stands just as much as on the pitch thanks to this historic piece of Dutch football activism. If you’re watching the big game this weekend, enjoy it. And also enjoy the fact that despite all the big wages and transfers like we’ve seen announced this week as much as any, the power that the ordinary fan has can be significant – especially when fans of rival clubs come together to act as one.