Spyin' Kop: PSV Away (Champions League)

Posted by AJ on September 9, 2006, 04:24:42 PM

Spyin’ Kop

After what, by the high standards of most Liverpool fans, was a short run in last seasons Champions League, the competition ‘proper’ is back. At times, some may have wondered if we would even make it to this stage with Haifa definitely not being the pushover that many had anticipated. However, in what could be mistaken for ‘typical Liverpool fashion’, we came from behind to eventually win the tie after two legs which put us in the draw for the group stage. It was here (well, in Monaco) that, after all the usual UEFA rubbish, we were dealt an interesting hand, drawn with PSV, Bordeaux and Galatasaray.

So, down to business. European fever is back and it starts with a bang, an away fixture to Dutch outfit PSV.

PSV Eindhoven v Liverpool
UEFA Champions League Group Stage, Matchday #1

Tuesday 12th September, 2006
Philips Stadion, Eindhoven
KO: 7.45pm
Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)


PSV, full name Philips Sport Vereniging or Philips Sports Union in English, was established in 1913, originally as a company-sponsored sports club for employees of Philips. Over the years, the team originally founded to celebrate the defeat of the French in the Napoleonic wars, have grown in stature and are now a team known worldwide.

After only one season of playing together PSV joined the bottom division of the Dutch league and after a string of promotions they reached the dizzy heights of the top division. The club’s first major success came in only their 15th season, when they claimed their first Dutch league title. 21 years and one more league title later, PSV enjoyed their first triumph in the Dutch cup in 1950. In ’55 they became the first Dutch team to compete in the competition we now know as the Champions League and in the following season, set an astounding new record when striker Coen Dillen scored 43 goals, a record still to be broken.

The seventies was probably the best decade for the Boeren (farmers) and saw them claim a further two domestic cups and three league titles. They also went on to achieve their first European success with a victory over French team Bastia in the UEFA Cup in 1978.
10 years later, having acquired such talent as Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, Gerald Vandenburg, Erik Gerets and Hans van Breukelen, PSV recorded an historic treble. The European Cup joined another Dutch league title and Dutch Cup after a thrilling victory against Benfica on penalties. Later that year there was even more cause for celebration as some of the squad were involved in the Dutch national team that won Euro 1988. From this point onwards PSV were the major force in Dutch football, winning a massive 21 trophies including, most recently, a Dutch league title last season. Despite an impressive tally of 19 league titles, PSV are still a long way behind their fierce rivals Ajax who have an astounding collection of 29 successes in the top division.

Over the years PSV have fielded such stars as Brazilian duo Ronaldo and Romario, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Mateja Kezman. Their current squad may not be full of players that you instantly recognise but it is definitely capable of success. Most notable names are Phillip Cocu, Michael Reiziger, world cup star Arouna Koné and a man from a little closer to home, Michael Ball. Over this summer they have lost such players as striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and defender André Ooiijer, both leaving for the British Isles. Despite this though, PSV will prove to be no pushover, for sure.

The Stadium

The Philips Stadion, which hosted the 2006 UEFA Cup Final, has not once changed location since the founding of the club in 1913. The beautiful and modern arena is generally regarded as one of the finest in the Dutch League with it’s stands close to the glorious pitch, the outstanding lighting installation and top of the range facilities for media and business relations. When full the stadium holds 35,200 fans, all accommodated in covered and heated seats. The official record attendance is 34,700 set in October 2005 in a Dutch league game against rivals Ajax. Plans to increase the capacity to 40,000 have been put on hold.

Away fans are located in the Northwest corner of the stadium, which is fairly new, having only been constructed 4-6 years ago.

Previous Meetings

It may come as a surprise, considering the amount of times both Liverpool and PSV have been involved in European competition, that when Liverpool visit the Philips Stadion it will be the first time the clubs have met competitively.

However, the clubs have met once before, in Jan Molby’s testimonial back in 1996, a game in which PSV won 3-2.

So, PSV come in to the game with a 100% record against us, time to set the record straight!

So, with the formalities out of the way, I introduce you to our guests today, Eindhoven fans Remco, David and Daniel from http://forum.psv.nl/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?&category=1 who have kindly answered my questions.

At this point in time PSV have only played 2 games so far in the league and have recouped 3 points. What are your aspirations for the season ahead?

Remco: In The Netherlands we have three teams who we consider to be a potential League-winner at the start of the season. These are Ajax from Amsterdam, Feyenoord from Rotterdam and PSV from Eindhoven, although Feyenoord only become the champions three times in the last thirty years. Any other team would be considered a surprise-champion although AZ from Alkmaar is getting more potential these last years thanks to their big-spender chairman. You can say it’s a little Chelsea.
To answer your question: it is PSV’s ambition to keep playing for the title until the last day. Anything else would be a disappointment.

David: Becoming number one in the Eredivisie is still our goal. Many people see Ajax as favourites to reclaim the title this season, but after their recent failure in their European adventure I think we could simply call ourselves favourites. Right now we only miss a striker, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink left to Celtic and everyone can see we need a new striker. A new striker will come soon, by the way.

Daniel: If the team stay as it is by now, i think we must be happy if we can get at the top 4. If we can buy a good attacker of a good defender, it's better for us and with some luck we can win the "eredivisie"(dutch premiership).
For the champions league it's the same. We can survive the group stage if we can get a defender of attacker. If we don't get one of them, it will be very difficult.

Over the summer big names such as Hesselink and Ooiijer left you, how much will this impact on your chances of retaining the league title?

Remco: Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and André Ooijer did leave suddenly and PSV was not prepared for this. Right now, the clubs financial situation is not that good, so it will not be easy to find a solution for the problem both players create. We just have to see and wait which players will come before the end of August. Both players were important, and if they are not properly replaced it will be hard for PSV to retain the title, but certainly not impossible.

David: Ooijer was someone who we all liked, all PSV supporters loved him. He played many years for us, and I'm thankful. He left in a bit unpleasant way, but I wish him all luck in the Premier League. We miss him, but in my opinion Ooijer is replacable with our current players. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink is another story... if we will be unable to get a new striker we probably will have much problems. But I am confident a new striker will come very soon.

Daniel: It's a very big impact for us. Ooijer was with Alex the central defenders. They were very important for us. Now is Ooijer gone and Addo took his place, but Addo is much worse than Ooijer

Can you remember the night you won the Champions League? Where were you and what was it like?

Remco: PSV won the Champions League in 1988. I was eleven when that happened and not really into football at that time, so I can’t answer this question.

David: I am pretty young, I'm born in 1985 so it's needless to say I wasn't into PSV back then!

Daniel: When PSV won the champions league in 1988, i wasn´t born yet.

In 2005 PSV came within minutes of reaching the Champions League final, where you would have lost anyway :P, how hard was it to come so close after such a long time and then lose?

Remco: I was in the stadium of course and I’m not ashamed to say that I cried after Milan scored. It was one of the most terrible times of my life, just like Holland losing the semi-finals after penalty’s in 2000 and not qualifying for the World Cup in 2002.

David: I was extremely sad, like all people who love PSV. You have to realise: for an English club there is always a big chance to reach the finals, but for a Dutch club it isn't that common. You need to be realistic: the Eredivisie is a competition that brings much talent, but finally the players in our competition succeed in bigger competitions. Personally I see the English and Spanish competition as the 2 strongest ones.

Daniel: It was very hard. We played against AC Milan for the fourth time in that season against them. All that four matches we were better and in the last minut they scores. It was terrible. Directly after that Cocu scored for PSV, so I had a tiny bit of hope to make it to te final, but it didn´t happen.

Who did you want to win in the final?

Remco: You mean the Liverpool – AC Milan final? I didn’t see it. I just couldn’t. Before the match it couldn’t matter to me who would win. After the match I was a little happy Milan lost after scoring three goals.

David: Liverpool. The reason why: I don't like AC Milan so much (on a sportive way, without hate) since we lost on a lame way against them. Plus: I've always liked Liverpool, especially a long time ago. Owen and Fowler were heroes in the Premier League to me. These days Gerrard is someone to admire.

Daniel: If AC Milan had won the game, I should have the feeling that PSV could have won the game and the champions league. Further it is fair that AC Milan did not win the game, because they beat us and we play much better. Liverpool is the good championsleague winner of that season.

Having seen us win the competition only 2 seasons ago, how do you rate your chances against the 5 times champions of Europe?

Remco: This depends a bit on which players will join our team before the end of August, but in general I don’t get scared of English teams. In my opinion Dutch teams always have a chance against English teams and PSV usually beats them. I fear teams from Italy, Germany and France more than team from England, because English team usually play a kind of football that we Dutch like and now how to deal with. It’s going to be hard but PSV is not without chance, not in Liverpool, especially not in Eindhoven.

David: We have a chance, but it is realistic to say Liverpool FC is the favourite in our match. When it comes down to quality Liverpool has more quality. Do we have a chance? Yes, for smaller teams like us you need to fight as a team. I think everyone who saw us play against AC Milan when Young-Pyo Lee (The Spurs) and Ji-Sung Park (Man Utd) were still in Eindhoven noticed we can play with our heart and play above our own level...

Daniel: I suppose when PSV is playing home, we will have a little chance and I hope we will have a good day. So the score can be: PSV-Liverpool, 2-1
With for PSV scoring, Cocu and Farfan. For Liverpool wil score, Kuijt because he know our team very well.
When we are playing in anfield road, I supose we will not have a chance, because your team is much stronger and playing home. So if we beat your team in their own stadium, I would be very happy, even with a draw I would be happy.

And how do you think you will do in the competition this season?

Remco: PSV’s goal for this Champions League-season is to reach the second round. I think that’s possible.

David: I think we end up after Liverpool. Liverpool will become 1st place I think, we can achieve 2nd place. After the group stage it's impossible for me to say where we end... it all depends on who to play against and our current state at that moment. When you fight as a team, you can win. But football is something where everyone can win and lose, it's impossible to predict. As Liverpool fans you all know how you can win the Champions League after everything seems to go wrong... it's the fans and the power as a team that can gain the victory.

Daniel: Like i have said all ready, if we can buy a good defender or attacker, we can win whit some luck, otherwise we won´t win.
The champions league we wil not win this season, except when we have to play against AC Milan in the final. That club can not win from us ;D. But we will not reach the final.

Are there any players in particular that you think will pose a threat to your team?

Remco: Liverpool-players you mean? I don’t follow English football as close as I would like to, so I can’t really say which Liverpool-players will be a threat although I know the strength of Gerrard, Kuyt and Hyppia of course.

David: When it comes down to Liverpool? Then Gerrard is the absolute player to be afraid of. And crazy enough to say: Kuyt is also someone who has stamina for 10 players. He is like a machine, he keeps working and working. Furthermore we have to be careful of all Liverpool players, Liverpool has much quality in their squad.

Daniel: I think the biggest threat of your team will be the midfielder Gerrard. It is a great player and Simons can't win it the whole match from him, however when he is in a good day he can do it very well.

And which PSV player(s) should Liverpool be most afraid of?

Remco: I think PSV’s dangerous player is striker Jefferson Farfán from Peru. He is a world-class player who will leave for a European giant after this season. Fellow-striker Arouna Koné also has a lot of potential, but he has to learn how to deal with it. Our defender Alex and goalkeeper Gomes play for the national team of Brazil. Need I say more?

David: We have an excellent goalkeeper Gomes. He is the best keeper in our competition, and he is only getting better and better. Koné and Farfán are both very creative but also strong players, especially Farfán is one amazing player. And we have a Brazilian defender called Alex, he is a gaint. Cocu and Simons are also two players that keep sight, make sure the team plays without mistakes.

Daniel: I think that liverpool must be afraid for Alex, that is a defender that will win it from owen and Kuijt together!

As you may know Liverpool fans are some of the most passionate in the world. Is there usually a good atmosphere inside the Philips Stadion?

Remco: It depends who’s playing, but during European games the atmosphere is great.

David: Yes, there is. But yes I have to admit Liverpool have some of the most passionate fans in the world.

Daniel: The atmosphere in the Philips Stadion is rather good, not as passionate like Feyenoord, but it has got a good atmosphere. Further it is a beautifull stadion!

Do PSV have their own kind of anthem, like we have You’ll Never Walk Alone? If so, what is it?

Remco: Yes we do, almost every Dutch team has a anthem. Ours is called ‘Voor Rood-Wit gezongen’ or ‘Singing for Red and White’.

David: We have an official Dutch teamsong which is: [Lyrics removed, same as below.] And "Simply The Best" became a popular song when we become champions, it's played in- and outside the stadium.

Daniel: PSV have got an own "clublied". I don't have the enlish version of it.
The lyric:
Voor Rood-Wit gezongen
vol man'lijke kracht
Een lied met ons allen
want eendracht maakt macht
Wij trekken ten strijde
een strijd vol van vree
Vooruit nu Rood-Witten
vooruit PSV.
Wat eens d'Oude Glorie
aan roem heeft gebracht
Dat geeft ons vertrouwen
de moed en de kracht
Om verder te bouwen
aan ons PSV
Vooruit nu Rood-Witten
vooruit PSV.
Wij houden voor ogen
de Rood-Witte vaan
Aan 't 'blauwdoek' meer sterren
de club bovenaan
Wij zullen steeds strijden
sportief en voor twee
Vooruit nu Rood-Witten
vooruit PSV.
En komen er tijden
van veel tegenslag
Dan zullen wij tonen
wat vriendschap vermag
De strijd zal ontbranden
eenieder vecht mee
Vooruit nu Rood-Witten
vooruit PSV.

Liverpool are a team known worldwide but how much do you know about them?

Remco: Well, I know they had players like Keegan, Ian Rush and of course Bruce Grobbelaar. I know they’ve won a lot of prizes but it’s been a while since they won the national title. Of course I know of the magic of Anfield Road, Dutch players like Erik Meijer, Sander Westerveld and Dirk Kuyt. I know of the Kop, the most famous tribune of the world, I know of your nickname ‘The Reds’ and I know you hate Manchester United, but then again… who doesn’t? (:D)

David: Pretty much, I love football a lot and I follow all competitions in Europe. I also used to be a big Liverpool fan, so that is why I always check their results and new players. And I have a good friend who lives in Liverpool, she is from Liverpool and together with her I want to visit Anfield some day!

Daniel: I don't know them very well. I know that Westerveld, was a keeper of the liverpool team, when is won the FA cup a couple of years ago. Further I know the top players of liverpool like, owen, Gerrard, Riise, Kewell, Dudek, Kromkamp(not the best player but it is a dutchman), Kuijt(a very good player!!), Bellamy, Zenden(als a dutchman). I don't know much about the history of Liverpool.

I can’t speak for the rest of the members on the forum but I, personally, do not know much about Eindhoven. What are the people like and the city as a whole?

Remco: Eindhoven is a bit of a strange city. It’s not very old and it didn’t had a ‘natural grow’ like a normal city where you have an old, small centre and it just expands during a couple of century’s. Eindhoven still was just a small village before the Philips-brothers decided to build their fabrics there in the late 1800’s, because the ground was cheap. They started building houses for their workers in Eindhoven and the villages around Eindhoven. In the end, the village of Eindhoven became the biggest and the smaller villages just became a part of Eindhoven.

David: It's a bit hard for me to judge because I live in Enschede, not in Eindhoven. My impression of Eindhoven: a small but very warm city. It has the warmness of a very small old fashioned city, but it's also pretty modern.

Daniel: The people in Eindhoven are rahter good. It's a good atmosphere in Eindhoven. The city is rather beautifull, but i don't live there so i don't know all the details about Eindhoven.

That means that you don’t have a lot of interesting buildings or sculptures of whatever. Eindhoven still is a big village with a nice city centre and nice people. But there’s nothing to see.

Many fans that make it over to Eindhoven will stay for a short while, is there any particular attraction or activity you suggest visiting in or around the city?

Remco: See my answer to question 13. If you want to visit a nice, old city, travel to Den Bosch which is about half an hour by train.

David: For this I really would advice you to ask some people who are from Eindhoven. Visiting the PSV training ground is always good...!

Daniel: i don't live in eindhoven so I can't say what you must see. If you want you can watch on the following site: http://www.vvveindhoven.nl/en/ (it is in english)

Maybe most importantly for the travelling Kop, are there any bars close to the stadium that will welcome Liverpool fans for a pre and post match drink?

Remco: You should definitely go the ‘Stratums Eind’, which is a street with bars only. If you get out of the train station, just keep on walking straight ahead and you won’t miss it.

David: I'm sure there are but personally I don't know any. My advice to you and all fanatic Liverpool fans is: check http://psv.netwerk.to and check the English forum over there. People over there probably know some nice bars. I'm glad our teams will play against each other, and I hope both groups of fans can support their team without any problems. I wish you guys good luck.

Daniel: There is one important place where the most bars are and it is close to the stadium(around 10 minutes of walking). It's called "stratumseind".

So there we have it. Many thanks go to Remco, David and Daniel who have answered my questions very well. All that is left to do is to wish PSV the best of luck for our upcoming encounter, you’ll need it ;), and to say mag de best team overwinning (may the best team win).

Antony Smith 2006 ©

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