FC EMMEN – MVV MAASTRICHT (0:0)
STADIUM: JENS VESTING STADION
Monday 27th November 2016
Emmen or Emmeg, if you are a local, is a small Dutch city in the North West of Holland and it was the venue for my fifth and final game of my long weekend. Earlier in the day I had made the short 30 minute train ride from Liege back to Maastricht to catch the supporters bus which was leaving outside the De Geusselt Stadium in Maastricht at 4.00pm.
There was only one bus making the 3.5 hour journey North, fans are put off as a) it was a Monday night game b) it was a long distance to travel with work/school the next day and c) the ultras have a boycott on all Monday night games. So not many made the trip…only about 25 fans plus a few in cars.
On the bus, it was another beerfest with a few of the noisy ones up the back (me included) without any hesitation got stuck in and “sinked a few coldies”. It becomes a bit of luxury as on the bus they have one server who takes all the beer money and then they serve the beer to you so you don’t even have to get up off your backside.
We arrived at the ground about 30 minutes before kick off and in a slightly merry state met a few others who had arrived by car. Normally in Holland you cannot travel by car or train to a match if you are an away fan as a most matches are designated by the police and KNVB to have a high risk. This involves what’s called a BUS COMBI which basically is one price for your bus travel and ticket included thus helping police control run smoother. However tonight’s match was deemed a lower risk so the BUS COMBI did not apply.
The JenS Vesting Stadion is a fairly bland stadium, like most modern stadiums in Holland now are, so my first job was to brighten it up a bit by hanging my MVV SCHOTLAND flag up.
One original stadium that still stands and the one i like best is The IJmond Stadum in Ijmuiden home of SC Telstar with it’s bucket score system a rare treat, keeping the tradition alive. In Emmen, all four sides are equal with stairways leading up from the outer perimeter into each seating area.
It was -3 degrees inside the stadium as the game kicked off and just over 2000 people were present. This is one of the problems in the second tier of Dutch football with many Monday night games being boycotted by a number of supporters due to the rescheduling of matches for TV. Fox TV took over as prime supplier in 2013 and moved many of the games from a traditional Friday night to Saturday’s, Sundays and now Monday’s. The introduction of the reserve teams of Ajax, PSV and Utrecht to the league also caused a major retaliation by supporters groups and most of these matches are not well attended either.
On this pitch both sets of players did extremely well in serving up a drab portion of football which meant hanging about in the freezing cold hoping that someone would score. My insides were beginning to shiver and the final whistle sounded…all this way and nothing to show except a point apiece. As written before beer is always a healing and comforting tonic and none so than a 3.5 hour journey back South to Maastricht.
The following morning I was up early to travel back home to Scotland and time to let my liver dry out for a while. It had taken quite a hammering over the last 5 days but it had been a blast. All good things must come to an end.