Towards promotion with De Graafschap: ‘We are always ready for the Eredivision’

The regular season of the Kitchen Champion Division is over and with FC Emmen and FC Volendam, the Eredivisie will already receive two new acquisitions next season. In addition, perhaps a third team from the Kitchen Champion Division will be added. Football Primeur looks ahead of the season tour with all six clubs that want to promote from the post-competition and now its the turn of De Graafschap and captain Ted van de Pavert.
Until the last day of the game, it was uncertain whether De Graafschap would be allowed to participate in the seasonal dessert. It was completely dependent on other teams, but the dime fell in the right direction for the Superfarmers and so they are allowed on repeat. However, the chances of promotion are much less than in the previous two seasons. In 2020, the competition was canceled by the KNVB when the formation from Doetinchem was at a direct promotion spot and last year De Graafschap messed it up in the last two playing days.
Against Jong Ajax and Helmond Sport, one goal was enough to make the corridor to the Eredivisie, but De Graafschap failed to score. In the playoffs, things went completely wrong against Roda JC. โ€œThat was bizarre,โ€ recalls Van de Pavert. โ€œI think about that sometimes, because it hurt a lot. If you are twice as close, and things go wrong, once by the KNVB and once because you forget to score a goal yourself, it hurts a lot.โ€
Only now comes the chance of reparation and the captain of the Superfarmers acknowledges that missing out on promotion has sometimes been haunting through his mind this season. โ€œThat
s not something you just get over. When you see how many more opportunities weve had, thats unprecedented. It also comes to a bit of luck, bad luck. Sometimes things just cant be explained. Anyway, they say three times is naval law, so lets hope so.โ€

Prior to the season, De Graafschap was bombed into one of the favorites for direct promotion. 38 league matches later, the club from Doetinchem is especially pleased that the post-competition has been made. Van de Pavert, however, knows that everyone in the playoffs starts back to zero. โ€œWe started the season with great football, the results were good and we were at the top. Then the draft comes in and it goes downhill, so much that on the last day of the game we were dependent on whether or not playoffs. I had hoped for and expected a better season in terms of results, but luckily we can still get to work.โ€
So the Superfarmers can still make sure that the Achterhoek can enjoy football at the highest level again next year. โ€œI think De Graafschap is always ready for the Eredivisie when you look at the size of the club and the supporters. It would be fantastic for De Graafschap anyway to get a PhD and then maintain. Hopefully, we will then be able to grow into a stable Eredivisie club. And if were ready, well, say so. There are also clubs promoted that you wondered if they were ready, they are doing really well now. Look at NEC, Go Ahead Eagles and RKC Waalwijk.โ€
The playoffs will be over two games again this season, unlike last year. De Graafschap flooded in the first round and plays against FC Eindhoven. On Monday 9 May it was 1-1 at the Vijverberg and four days later the away game follows. If the Superfarmers win that diptych, they will find it the winner of the game between NAC Breda and ADO The Hague. In the final, the County would be able to encounter Excelsior, Roda JC or the number sixteen of the Eredivisie.