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A club with a long history...

In the beginning...

SBV Vitesse (Stichting Betaald Voetbal Vitesse) started out as a cricket club in 1892, but later that year they also focused on football. For two years they only played friendly matches, until in 1894 cricket was abandoned and a Gelderse league was established. Vitesse solely focused on football since then. They had some good players, such as Willem Hesselink and Just Göbel, who were also in the Dutch national team at that time. 

 

Vitesse_anno_1894.JPG 
Vitesse in 1894

 

At first they were playing in blue and white jerseys, the colors of the city of Arnhem, but later moved on to yellow and black, which remain their colors until this day. In 1894 they moved to the Paasweide, and a year later organised their first international match, against English side Maidstone. Vitesse became champions in 1895 and 1896, and a new competition was formed: The Eerste Klasse Oost. More succes followed as they won the competition in 1898, 1903, 1913, 1914 and 1915, and since 1898 they were in the national kampioenscompetitie, a competition with all local champions.

In 1912 Vitesse reached the final of a national cup for the first time, but lost to HFC Haarlem (2-0). In 1914 and 1915 they narrowly missed the national championship, losing narrowly against HVV, and in 1915 to Sparta.

 

Vitesse1914BijnaKampioen.jpg
Picture of the 1914 team, narrowly losing the championship

 

In 1915 Vitesse rents a piece of land and the first stadium, Monnikenhuize is born. Also, some players picked up cricket again, and it wasn't until 1928 cricket was finally abandoned. 

After the 1914/15 season Vitesse played bad, often battling against relegation until in 1922 it happened: The club relegated.

 

Minor successes...

The year after they promoted again to the Eerste Klasse and under English manager Jefferson and played well for a couple of seasons, even making a cup final in 1927, but ultimately lost to VUC. But for the first time in Dutch history Vitesse managed to beat an English squad, West Ham United, 3-2. After the 1927 season Jefferson left and the club again had troubles sportively, often fighting relegation. In 1935 Vitesse again relegated.

The following years Vitesse had troubles getting promoted again, and the Second World War didn't make football easier either. Under the watchful eye of the Germans, the players once formed a big V, which stood for 'Vrijheid' (Freedom) and 'Victorie' (Victory), though the Germans thought it was a symbol for Vitesse instead. It's a sign we still see sometimes before some matches. 

Immediatly after the liberation, Vitesse promoted once again to the Eerste Klasse, and in 1950, a new stadium is built, Nieuw-Monnikenhuize. In 1952/53 Vitesse won their first title in the Eerste Klasse B, but lost their championship matches, with RCH becoming Dutch champions.

 

Nieuw-Monnikenhuize
Stadium Nieuw-Monnikenhuize

 

Professional football...

In 1954 professional football was introduced in the Netherlands, and in 1956 the Dutch Eredivisie and First Division (Two competitions) were formed. Vitesse began playing in the First Division during its inauguration. In 1962 however, the KNVB wanted just one First Division and Vitesse were as such 'relegated' to the Second Division. In 1966 Vitesse promoted to the First Division, and in 1971 Vitesse were lucky enough to get promoted to the Eredivisie for the first time. Vitesse profited from a fusion of Holland Sport and ADO, who formed FC Den Haag, and as a result, a spot became available for the Arnhemmers. They did not fare well and ended rock bottom, relegating again, lost to Ajax 12-1 (Fuck you @VyKing🥰), their biggest loss in history. After this Vitesse played different promotion matches, and in between 1977 and 1980 shortly played in the Eredivisie, then relegating again to the First Division.

 

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Henk Bosvelt (right)

 

The rise with Karel Aalbers...

Financially the club didn't do well in the 80s, and in 1984 it came to a split of the professional and amateur division of the club, with the amateurs becoming Vitesse 1892. Meanwhile, many people were afraid that the club would soon be bankrupt, but the club was saved by the city council. Karel Aalbers, an entrepeneur of the city of Velp and new owner since 1984, had to convince the city council, who in turn wanted fans to show their true affection for the club. The next match against VVV-Venlo was for free and 7000 fans flocked to Nieuw-Monnikkenhuize. Aalbers (Also known as 'Emperor Karel') laid out his plans: To be a steady team in the Eredivisie, and perform consistently in Europe. NUON, the main sponsor, would help financially reaching these ambitions. Karel Aalbers once mentioned there is only room for one club in Gelderland (the province). This expression caused anger in Nijmegen (NEC) and Doetinchem (De Graafschap), and this is how the rivalry between (especially) Vitesse and NEC was born. 

 

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/...
Former owner Karel Aalbers

 

In 1988/89 the club promoted under the tutelage of cult trainer Bert Jacobs to the Eredivisie, and immediately after ended 4th in the Eredivisie, a feat no other promoted club has ever managed to do since. Also, Vitesse managed to reach the final of the KNVB Beker, but lost 1-0 to PSV, with Van Den Brom missing a penalty in the last minute of the game, he admitted recently he still has nightmares about it... 😅 Vitesse performed consistently thereafter and always was in the top six. In the UEFA Cup many memorable matches were played against teams such as Real Madrid, Inter, SC Braga and Sporting. Various players received invitations for the Dutch national team as well.

 

John van den Brom ook succesvol als trainer in het voetbal
John van den Brom, also former manager of the club

 

In 1997 GelreDome was opened, a 25,000 all-seater with retractable roof. First scorer was Dejan 'DJ Superstar' Curovic, who also scored the last goal in Nieuw-Monnikenhuize. With Henk ten Cate as manager, and Nikos Machlas and Dejan Curovic as feared attacking duo, the club finished 3rd, their highest position to date. Machlas also received the Golden Shoe with his 34 goals.

 

Vitesse on Twitter: "🔛🔥1997 | 1998 📈 De hoogste eindklassering ooit in  de Eredivisie: 3e 🧐 Wie herken jij van deze historische selectie? #Vitesse  https://t.co/OHAjlvWoBM" / Twitter
1997/98 team

 

Financial troubles, fraud, and FC Hollywood near the Rhine...

This period was a nightmare for any supporter of any club, except if you're a Juventus fan, because shit hits the fan there on a weekly basis 🤣 Karel Aalbers was impeached in 2000 and suspected of fraud. During his reign he made a lot of debts due to the built of the very expensive GelreDome, purchasing expensive players, low transferfees in return, and he also made debts with NUON. NUON had paid their sponsership upfront and backed out of the contract, leaving Vitesse with a debt of 60M fld (26M Euro) to NUON. If it wasn't for the city council to step in, and the 'Vrienden van Vitesse' (Friends of Vitesse, three local entrepeneurs with a Vitesse heart), the club would definitely not exist anymore. Mr. Aalbers made a big financial mess of the club, but he is still in the hearts of many supporters, not mine, and that doesn't make my opinion popular with other fans. But on the other hand, it definitely had an impact on their fanbase as a whole, as from that point on, attendances in the stadium declined.

 

Reconstructie: krijgen Vrienden van Vitesse hun miljoenen eindelijk terug?  | Foto | AD.nl
Vrienden van Vitesse

 

Sportively Vitesse still did okay, in charge was Mike Snoei at the time, and in 02/03 they had a decent European campaign in the UEFA Cup, first beating Rapid Boekarest. Werder Bremen was the next opponent, where at home Vitesse snatched a 2-1 win (I remember shouting Bück Dich (Rammstein song) at the German supporters 🤣). The away match was a nailbiter as Vitesse didn't play well and were 2-1 behind. With Krstajic scoring with great shot from distance, which went in by hitting the crossbar. Vitesse was down to ten men, as Rankovic got a red card for a very stupid tackle from behind. What happened next was nothing short of amazing, Gert Claessens (A Belgian midfielder) scored with a scorcher from distance, and in stoppage time, Emile Mbamba scored the 3-3, when he seized the ball from a defender of Werder in midfield and scored. To this day, this is my favorite match ever, it is still in my memory and whenever I'm in the mood, I still watch the summary of this match. After this we faced @Derek's Liverpool, but we unfortunately narrowly lost 1-0 in both matches.

 

Match summary

 

That same season the decline started as the club nearly avoided relegation, and ended 16th and thus had to play playoffs. It was clear the the club's financial issues also had an impact on the players. The next seasons that followed Vitesse had difficulties both sportively and obviously financially. The club earned the nickname 'FC Hollywood near the Rhine' because at this time period there was always something to talk about, mostly negative.

In 2008 entrepeneur Maasbert Shouten had a 20% stake at the club and - together with his company Afab - tried to support the club financially. In 2009 Vitesse legend Theo Bos became the manager, I will tell more about him in a later section. In 2010 the club again was in debt and Schouten demanded a 99% stake of the club in return for a loan. That same year Schouten looked for a buyer...

 

Afab vecht voor voortbestaan | Arnhem | gelderlander.nl
Maasbert Schouten

 

In Russian hands...

That same year he found a buyer, and Georgian businessman Merab Jordania became the new owner of the club. I'm sure Schouten lost millions on the deal to sell. Anyway, the press conference with the announcement of Jordania became, well, legendary. 'From now on, Vitesse will go for the title'. The whole country laughed their asses off, including me. Vitesse is the first Dutch club to fall into foreign hands.

 

Maasbert Schouten: 'Oyf moet bereid zijn financiële pijn te nemen bij  verkoop Vitesse'
Maasbert Schouten and new owner Merab Jordania

 

So, what happened here? For me personally I really have no idea, and there's so much rumours about this deal, it's unreal. Having said that, this deal always felt 'off' for me. Some say it's Abramovic, others say it's Chygrynski (They are friends of each other, so I read), and that Jordania was in fact a puppet. There was an obvious Chelsea connection, as Chelsea loaned out some decent players to Vitesse. Anyway, various players, mostly low quality, came to the club, and in the first year with Jordania at the helm the club again nearly avoided relegation. The club parted with Theo Bos early in the season in favour of Albert Ferrer, who played for FC Barcelona as a rightback earlier. He has to be worst coach Vitesse ever had, in my opinion. When I played bowling once, he came to the center actually demanding a lane to play on, very arrogant dude. 

 

Albert Ferrer
Albert Ferrer

 

The next seasons saw some good investments in the club, and with Fred Rutten as manager, and Wilfried Bony as a profilic striker, the club ended 4th in 12/13. Wilfried Bony was chosen as 'Footballer of the Year' that season, scoring 31 goals in 30 matches. Bony never made it a secret that he plays for money, and as such refused to sign a new contract, and was sold to Swansea. Fred Rutten left the club, because Jordania and Rutten had a difference in vision, and Peter Bosz was the next manager. Bosz made the team play very attacking football, and a demanding high pressing game, at around half the season Vitesse was 2nd and could take over 1st to become winter champions, but didn't (The crowd was actually booing their own players and I was like: what the actual fuck are you moaning about?) The play did receive a lot of praise, for example the dismantling of PSV: 2-6.

 

Match summary

 

In the meantime a whole new training ground was formed at Sportcomplex Papandal, costing 100M Euro, and replacing 'De Slenk', which was litterally a swamp.

 

Slecht trainingscomplex heeft Vitesse transfers gekost' | Foto | AD.nl
Dalibor Stevanovic training at 'De Slenk'

 

Officiële supporterssite van de Vitesse Jeugd - Nieuwbouw
Sportcomplex Papendal

 

Rumours say Jordania spent too much money on the club, and the club still was a financial mess, Chygrynski took over shares. Also, Jordania seemed to be a hothead and shouted at another director: 'I WILL CUT OFF YOUR FUCKING FINGERS!!' during a discussion. Also, earlier, when the club was taken over by Jordania, then director Ted van Leeuwen had a hilarious interview with a Powned reporter. The reporter was - very obviously - just looking for sensation and a visibly annoyed Van Leeuwen (Who was a reporter himself) answered his stupid questions with a lot of sarcasm. When the reporter didn't get the sensational answers he wanted, and Van Leeuwen wanted to walk away, he asked the question again ('I ask you a very simple question and you just walk away'). Van Leeuwen: 'You're just not getting the right answers'. In the end the reporter askes if he is afraid of Jordania, to which he sarcastically replies: 'Oh yes, a lot, I look under my car every morning before I drive away'. 

 

Ted van Leeuwen powned pownews - YouTube
Said interview between Powned and Ted van Leeuwen

 

Success...!

The first success, and only prize to date came in 2017, a KNVB Beker win! With Henk Fraser as manager, the club won its first ever prize. Vitesse normally don't do well in the KNVB Beker, but this time the club went all the way to the final, where they proved to be too strong against AZ, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel bagging two goals for the win. For me this is also (Obviously) a match to remember, it wasn't a very good match though. 

 


Match summary

 

Loads of fans (including me) went to celebrate this win, though attendances in the stadium still continue to decline. A lot of people say the club lost its soul, I agree with them to a certain level, there is no connection with the city of Arnhem, though Vitesse still remains my favorite club. Looking at the video below, and the early Gelredome days, the fanbase is definitely there, but still the club does not manage to attract those fans back to the stadium.

 


Celebration with the fans

 

Vitesse qualified for the first time in history for the then newly formed Europa League, but proved to be not strong enough at all to be contenders in their group. Fraser was fired not long after, and was succeeded once again by another club legend Edward Sturing for the remainder of the season. Under his guidance Vitesse managed to reach European football once again. At the end of 17/18 Valeri Ojf took over shares of Chygrinski, and became the new owner of the club.

 

Coming soon... Succes in Europe...

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Brilliant start to this mate. I never would have imagined Vitesse started as a cricket club.

Was Willem Hesselink a relation of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink? Think that’s the spelling 🤣🤣🤣

 

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20 hours ago, Derek said:

Brilliant start to this mate. I never would have imagined Vitesse started as a cricket club.

Was Willem Hesselink a relation of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink? Think that’s the spelling 🤣🤣🤣

 

🤣 no mate, two different surnames Vennegoor of Hesselink and just Hesselink. I'm actually a little surprised you know Jan! 😉

2 hours ago, Johno said:

Looking forward to this 😄 

Me too, but I wanted to let you know a bit (a lot) of the history first, it is interesting, for me, and hopefully for all of you too 🙂 

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4 hours ago, Tempelman said:

🤣 no mate, two different surnames Vennegoor of Hesselink and just Hesselink. I'm actually a little surprised you know Jan! 😉

Me too, but I wanted to let you know a bit (a lot) of the history first, it is interesting, for me, and hopefully for all of you too 🙂 

Didn't Jan play a season or two in the prem, think it was for Hull? Joined them from Celtic if I remember correctly.

Ettiene Esajas, Regi Blinker and Wim Jonk are my fave dutch players

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59 minutes ago, VyKing said:

Didn't Jan play a season or two in the prem, think it was for Hull? Joined them from Celtic if I remember correctly.

Ettiene Esajas, Regi Blinker and Wim Jonk are my fave dutch players

Esajas is a youth player of Vitesse and Ajax actually!

And you are correct about Jan! I see him as a cult player

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First post updated... The next thing I will talk about is a dark page in Vitesse's history. While the former things I talked about is not all in my own words, from now on I will, because I have conciously experienced this crap. I'm going to make a fun article out of this and hoping you'll read it... This is when all shit hits the fan, almost literally...

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