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 Atmosphere report

NAC Breda - Willem II (1-1)
Eredivisie, 17 Oktober 2006
Stadium : Fujifilm Stadion
Attendance : 13.653

Normally the matches between NAC and Willem II are tensed and they mostly don't escalate into extreme violent situations. To fans of both sides the two clashes between the clubs from Tilburg and Breda are the matches that have to be won in a season. This season there was a tremens tension on the first derby, that would be played in Breda. On the internet and in real life fanatic fans of both sides provoked each other, leading into graffiti-ing each other's stadiums and cities and even vandalise each other's stadiums and violate each other.

The tension was high and there was a feeling in the air that this would become a 'hot' NAC -Willem II. From my profession I had to be on the pitch to follow the match and unwillingly I witnessed all the events for that day.

The match started and NAC, stimulated by the fanatic sides B-Side and Vak G, took the initiative. Some small chances were for NAC, but the Belgium goalie de Vlieger managed to clear his goal. During a goalkick the Willem II goalie slowed the match down by taking his time. This led to some frustration at the fanatic NAC fans of Vak G behind him and some people began to throw drinks to him. The goalie got some empty plastic mugs and showed them to the referee. De Vlieger's reaction led to more frustration and some people began to throw coins and lighters to him. De Vlieger on his turn turned to the referee again, who walked to the 4th official. Some seconds later it was announced by the speaker that this should stop or the match would be abandoned.

The throwing of objects seemed to stop. After a mistake in the defence of NAC, Willem II managed to score the 0-1 and the was the start of some fans to throw everything they had towards the Willem II goalie, who celebrated the goal exuberant in front of Vak G. Golf balls, heavy metal, lighters, coins and even mobile phones were thrown from Vak G towards Willem II goalie Geert de Vlieger. De Vlieger turned to referee Temmink again, who called all the players off the pitch. A fierce booing was part of Willem II and the referee.

I walked from the pitch to the catacombs and I witnessed a discussion between NAC officials, Willem II officials, the referee and the police. The referee and the Willem II officials demanded that Vak G, where almost all NAC hooligans are in, would be evacuated for the rest of the match. The police said that this was impossible and that it would lead to insecure and threatening situations. The NAC officials agreed in this and asked all parties to address the fans to calm them down. All parties agreed and NAC Manager Roelant Oltmans went on the pitch and addressed the fans.

Meanwhile, I saw and heard that some Willem II officials still had a discussion with the referee and said that they wouldn't enter the pitch as long as Vak G was filled with NAC fans. After a small but tense discussion the referee said to the present people to postpone the match.

When the NAC manager came back he was not amused. The match was postponed and all fans left the stadium. The week after the match everyone was anxious and terrified what the national football association would say about this. Eventually, NAC got a fine and the remaining part of the match would be played without any crowd on 17 October 2001.

The replay was strange to me. I always witnessed the match in a high tension atmosphere and now the match would be played in front of only 50 officials. The second part of the match started as it ended. Willem II goalie de Vlieger had to kick the ball into the field. A NAC player got the ball and played it to NAC player Stewart. The American winger shot the ball behind de Vlieger and equalized the score to 1-1.

The whole scene looked strange to me, now it became more and more stranger. I am used that the NAC crowd roars, sings, jumps and celebrates a goal, but now I only heard some screams from the players and some hard words from some Willem II players. No fans that celebrated the goal, no emotional scenes and no singing.

But wait, what do I hear there in the far distance? Indeed! Some singing and celebration! It appeared to be that some 300 to 500 NAC fans gathered in a bar outside the stadium and watched the game via television. Due to a delay, they saw the goal some 15 seconds later, which resulted into this celebration. It was really funny to see a chance for NAC on the pitch and to hear the fans' reaction outside the stadium after some 15 seconds. The match was terrific; both teams played well and technically the play was superb.

After 90 minutes the derby of Noord Brabant remained undetermined; 1-1. I walked down the catacombs and I realized that I saw a great NAC – Willem II from a football point of view. Nevertheless I don't want to see this derby in this atmosphere. NAC – Willem II and Willem II – NAC should be played in front of the fans, not in front of an empty stadium.

Report added : 02 January 2007
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