Humor Magazine

A World Cup Story – Why Holland Are Good At Football (Again)

By Gingerfightback @Gingerfightback

Super Orange – Why The Dutch Became So Good At Football


When Dutch Football burst onto the world stage in the 1970’s, their style of play, known as Total Football stirred primal feelings in fans around the globe. As Oscar Wilde said after seeing the Dutch team demolish Belgium in a friendly encounter in Brussels in 1973, “Truly, I declare Cruyff’s genius to be worthy of my own. What do you think Dorian?”

That team’s style, grace and flair has embedded itself in the game’s folk history. So, when the Dutch played in the 2010 World Cup Final, hopes were high that Holland could take on and lick the tricky dwarves from Spain. At last we hoped, the progenitors of Total Football would get their true rewards. Yet the savagery of the Dutch performance left many a dream shattered.

But Gingerfightback remains intrigued about the rise of Dutch football from a footballing backwater to a world “Shocker” power. It is for this reason and this reason alone, that we ventured to a bong shop in Amsterdam. And in this bong shop, where one can have a bang on a right few good numbers, although we did not, a strange truth prostrated itself before us.

“Yesh, it wash a disshapointing way to play der final, over physhical and very l’il fudball,” said Wim Van Anagram, legendary member of the great 1970’s Dutch teams. Van Anagram, now a heavily built man in his sixties, flattened down his comb over before continuing, “It wash not like dat in my day. Pash and move. Alwaysh the moving and alwaysh der pashing. Datsch the way we played and datsch the way we show nearly brought da Wurld Cup back home.” He looked wistfully out of his window at the bustling city beneath him, buffing his latest hand crafted bong.

Wim Van Anagram - Scoring In The 1974 World Cup

Wim Van Anagram – Scoring In The 1974 World Cup

“Wanna bang on thish l’il number?”

I declined. He placed the now shimmering almost translucent bong in a box, then stowed it on a shelf alongside several others. Each bong had its own name. They appeared to offer very good value for money in our opinion.

Van Anagram settled into his chair and continued, “Y’know why we wash show shuccesshful?” Why for ten yearsh or show, der Dutcsh football wash the besht?”

I shook my head.

“Shorter shurnames.” Van Anagram replied.

He smiled. It was as if he was playing a joke with me in some subtle Flemish tone that I would never understand. He guffawed, “Crjiff, Krol, Rep, Haan, Neeskens, Gullit, Van Basten – truly great playersh all with der namesh dat are eashy to pronounsch. It’s eashy to forget dat before the nineteen sheventiesh the Dutcsch teams were no good. Y’know why?”

I shook my head. Again Van Anagram smiled. He leaned forward and touched my corduroys, plucking at the seams around my right knee. He then straightened, placed his hands together and very slowly began to pull them apart until his arms were fully extended. “Namesh dish long! whad da fuck?”

“Exshample. Our Naschional goalkeeper for 1954 wash a guy called Theo Van Windmillstulipshfromamshterdambingbangabongeurovishonshongcontesht. He wash a great ‘keeper but when a crosh was put into der box by the time he had shouted out his name to hish defendersh the poor feller wash out of de breath and couldn’t jump hup for da ball!”

Theo Windmillstulipsfromamsterdambingbangbongeurovisionsongcontest - in action

Theo Windmillstulipsfromamsterdambingbangbongeurovisionsongcontest – in action

“We had a right back called Johnny Rijkmusheumfreetoallentrantshonthurshdaysh, great at going forward but by the time der coach had shouted instructionsh to him it was eider half time or game up. Shimilalrly der playmaker at der time wash a player called Albert Polderzuiderzeeboywidafingerindadykeshpeedshkaterliberalattitudeshtocannabish.

Van Anagram’s features, grated by years of bong polishing wore a confused expression. The man was a vital cog, dare we say clog, in the Total Football machine built at the time.

Matters came to a head when legendary coach Rinus Michaels was appointed national team coach in the late 1960’s. The Dutch Cup Final that year was played between Ajax and Twente Enschede. The match programme, of which there are still plenty available, needed three pages to name the Ajax squad (including the legendary Left Back, Rene Vandergraffspeeyelevelsheventieshdutschdetectivesherieshshtarringbarryfoshter).The game had entered the second half before all the players names had been announced over the tannoy.

Van Anagram preparing a cheese toasted snack for us continued, “Now you shee der problem yeah? Who can shay – Oi -Vandergraffspeeeyelevelsheventieshdutschdetectivesheerieshshtarringbarryfoshter, over here on me head shun! – without being exhaushted by der procesh?”

A photo of the cheese on toast prepared by Van Anagram

A photo of the cheese on toast prepared by Van Anagram

Now I understood. Technically gifted players, strong thighs, but using so much saliva during the game merely to communicate, that they were dehydrated after twenty or so minutes. Making defeat probable.

Van Anagram checked on the cheese on toast, now bubbling appealingly under the eye level grill.

“That wash Michaelsh geniush. Shorter namesh would improve the reshultsh and allow der Dutcsch team to flourish on der wurld shtage – Do you want any shauce for your toashtie?”

I shook my head. Van Anagram took a large bite from his snack. I asked him what he was thinking about.

“Jusht memoriesh of the pasht, have anoder shlice. Good ya? Wanna buy a bong?”

It seems as if the 2014 Dutch team have returned to their attacking principalsh – they all have der short shurnamesh ash well.

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