Truely an excited season. A lot has changed providing me with new opportunities. I am grateful for that. Hopefully it will be the foundation to develop further in the coming seasons. Although I did not visit so many matches, I was very busy traveling. Visiting 37 matches in 17 different countries around Europe. I skipped football during my three weeks holiday in Thailand. It is quality over quantity.
Just amazing. Starting small in Luxembourg, but the enthusiasm of the Jeunesse d’Esch ultras is great. Followed by second visits to Sofia and rainy Belfast, I ended October by visiting the Norwegian Classic between SK Brann and Rosenborg BK. They surprised me the way they organize their choreo and pyro together with club and authorities. It’s well organized, an example of how it can be for a lot of countries in Europe.
I finished 2018 in Copenhagen. An away day with FCK to arch rivals Brondby IF. Great passion from both sides, a winner in extra time for FCK beating BIF 0-1. The scenes afterwards were unreal. Their rivalry captured in just a few moments.
I started 2019 in The Netherlands, with the ‘big’ amateur derby between IJsselmeervogels and Spakenburg. One with international attention, but this edition was a disappointment unfortunately. Not the kind of passion we hoped for. On the other hand, De Klassieker had everything. Feyenoord destroyed Ajax 6-2. A day to remember in eternity.
My luck didn’t ran out. From Portugal, Greece, Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, to Albania. The derby’s were amazing. The massive pyro show by Crvena Zvezda, the pitch invasion and championship of FK Partizani Tirana. And even though the Saloniki derby didn’t had away fans, the PAOK support made such a noise it blew me away.
12 on Tour
The 18-19 season is also the beginning of my 12 on Tour project. Over the years more and more people started to ask me if they could join me on a trip. It got me thinking. If I do that, I have to do it properly.
So together with In de Hekken Travel I launched hand picked football trips. Not your average commercial trips, no they are based on my own experience. It is a combination of football culture and local culture, as I work together with my local friends in different countries. Get to know the city, the people, the hobbits and their cusisine. Experience local life as much as possible.
It resulted in five successful trips, with sell outs to Lisbon and Belgrade. For next season I have at least doubled the amount of trips with new destinations like Moscow and Sarajevo. Before the new season started, I have received a lot of reservations on trips already. I am grateful for that, as it gives me the opportunity to share my passion.
One of my dreams is writing a book which captures my traveling stories. My idea started a couple of years ago, slowly making plans. But this season it became serious. The layout is set and already five chapters are fitted in. This season I gained the last stories which will be added to the book. Next summer break is perfect for collecting all the stories and finalizing the design.
It should be more or less ready this summer. unless I have new stories to add in the coming months. As this is my tenth year traveling around Europe in search of football culture, the book is my anniversary for those who love reading why stories. It must be released at the end of the year. At first it shall be in Dutch, but I will do my best to come with an English version as well. Stay tuned!