They call themselves full-time amateurs, now that they play at the highest level in the Netherlands. On Texel they like to think in solutions. And so, against all odds, a team of friends from the Wadden Island suddenly ended up in the premier league indoor football.
We were already close, but that last step might have seemed a bit too high for us. A case too big for the napkin, too small for the tablecloth, confesses Martijn de Veij, coach and architect of the special project.
But an expansion of the competition with an enhanced promotion scheme still made his dream come true. The discharge with a big party did not take place in corona time, but in all silence new plans were forged right away.
De Veij is an entrepreneur from the fishing village of Oudeschild. In his factory, the only one rich on the island, duvets are made from the famous Texel sheep’s wool.
It’s a mystery to me where he gets the time to do this, says Lesley King, player of the first hour. Ten years ago, De Veij convinced the best football players from four clubs on the island near Texel ’94 to join forces, resulting in five promotions in a row. Without him, we wouldn’t have made it at all.
De Veij is an approacher. Someone who pulls out all the stops to create the best possible conditions for his team and is often one step ahead of the players in his ambitions.
Old band bus
At the team meeting prior to this season he wanted to know how everyone was doing. Eredivisie. And so even more and longer on the road. He suggested the idea of buying one of those old band buses, a coach that would allow us to travel the country, says Koning.
And actually he had already bought that bus, De Veij confessed a little later. King: That’s exactly the way he is. This is symbolic of what he’s willing to pay for it.
At the top of the double-decker there are beds, for when the last boat can’t be reached after far away races. Downstairs it is arranged as comfortably as possible for the long trips. For example, green star-output is already almost 300 kilometres. And then they have to go back as well.
In previous years, the football association never took into account the departure times of the boat from Den Helder to Texel and vice versa. Opponents invariably missed the last crossing, which had to be made by water taxi.
In the summer months, this is a kind of moonlight cruise, but in stormy weather it is a horror trip, says De Veij from experience. Because his own team also had to rely on this alternative often enough.
In the lower classes, it often happened that teams were absent for a visit to Texel. Missed boat, car trouble, you name it. And then the hall here was already full.
Under the spell of indoor football
Because Texel is under the spell of indoor football. The last few years the sports hall with seven hundred men has always been overcrowded, supporters have to be present an hour in advance to be able to get a spot.
Texel is no longer just the island of cyclist Denise Betsema and windsurfer Dorian van Rijsselberghe, but now also has a real sports team on a beautiful stage. De Veij thinks he knows what makes indoor football soccer so popular on Texel.
There was once a big tournament here around Christmas. Well-known football players could stay in the cottages that were not rented out at that time of year. Clubs like Feyenoord, Den Bosch and FC Volendam took part. Even Guus Hiddink still played, that’s how long ago it is now. That’s when the spark skipped, he suspects.
Still, it was mainly tampering in the margins when De Veij himself was still active as a player for Texel ’94, merger club of SV Texel and Texelse Boys. Where former international Johnny Rep in the field division used to be head coach.
Much has remained the same in all those years. All the boys come from the island and also pay a 150 euro contribution in the premier league.
And the facilities, with only one sports hall in Den Burg for the entire island, still leave much to be desired.
De Veij: If we want to train, we are also dependent on other associations. Then the off-peak hours often remain. The last few months we have of course also trained outside a lot, lugging sandbags to work on our fitness
Key to success
Team spirit is the key to success. It’s a bit off now that we’re playing the premier league, King says. Normally we only entered the hall for the first time in September, but that’s not possible now.
He suddenly remembers an outing to the Dutch team, years ago. That’s when we looked up to those internationals. Now we’re playing them. Sometimes I think: will this stop?
Absolute strongman is goalkeeper Alexander Smit. An indispensable force they once sailed over with a dinghy when he missed the ferry. Emergency breaks the law. De Veij: At a time like this you don’t really think about it, but I’m glad it all went well over the years.
The sporting success is in all respects the best Texel has to offer. Although the current generation can last a few more years at top level, the club is dependent on new talents that present themselves on the Wadden Island. Getting reinforcements from the mainland is an impossible task.
But a big advantage of a club of friends like this is that we don’t lose players quickly, says De Veij.
The first game was won 9-3 on Saturday by ZVV Volendam, but the season is still long. Koning: Whatever we’re going to experience here, I’m nowhere to be seen