FC Twente Enschede has certainly come a long way since their formation in 1965 to be crowned champions of the Eredivisie 2009/2010. They came close in last year’s edition of the Eredivisie by finishing a creditable 2nd place. As you would have probably known by now, the club was formed by a merger of ‘Enschedese Boys’ and ‘Sportclub Enschede’ of which the latter team won their first and until this year’s triumph, their only title in 1926.
An excellent write-up of the history of FC Twente Enschede can be found here. So, the team from Enschede has reached the UEFA Cup Final in 1974/1975 but missed out on their European title with an unusual 5-1 scoreline at the wrong end against former German giant Borussia Mönchengladbach.
With this latest victory, Twente qualifies automatically for the Champions League for the first time in their history – the other Dutch teams being PSV Eindhoven, Ajax Amsterdam, Feyenoord Rotterdam, sc Heerenveen, Willem II Tilburg and AZ Alkmaar (and European Cup – DOS (now, FC Utrecht), Sparta Rotterdam and Rapid JC (now, Roda JC Kerkrade)).
How did FC Twente win it this time? I wasn’t particularly looking at the Eredivisie updates this time – PSV Eindhoven had another season to forget and hasn’t been as formidable as it was when Heurelho Gomes, Jefferson Farfan and co. were around. Feyenoord looked a shadow of their former selves in late 1990s and early 2000s and Ajax was the only club which has gone close to pip Twente for the title. AZ Alkmaar, the previous season’s champions started the defence of their title badly under Ronald Koeman, who hasn’t had much success in the managerial role since his Valencia CF experience. The other teams in the Eredivisie were reminiscent of the structure that has been laid down for decades – unable to challenge the now dispelled ‘Top Three’ myth and having precious little in terms of playing talent. Again, FC Twente may have benefitted under the tutelage of the ‘Wally with the Brolly’ Steve McClaren who could now be accorded divine status by the ‘Tukkers’.
Regardless, my immediate concerns are such that whether the ‘Top Three’ triumvirate is finally an institution of the past. Ajax hasn’t looked formidable ever since the last great team manned by Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Steven Pienaar, Nigel de Jong and more. PSV was absolutely disappointing in their ambitions these two seasons – moving for the aging Andre Ooijer and not strengthening their side adequately for a decent challenge. Feyenoord, while having the likes of Gio van Bronckhorst, Roy Makaay, Jon Dahl Tomasson (while admittedly not at their peak) did not impress. I’m not saying that a nudge by the other clubs outside the triumvirate is unsettling, but the ‘Top Three’ were frequently the talent pool for the Dutch Elftal and by virtue of the size of their stadiums (the Phillipsstadion, Amsterdam ArenA, and De Kuip) are best equipped for better things. That’s not to also say that the other teams should be bogged down in the mire of midtable obscurity lest this be misunderstood, but I was expecting a little more effort from the bigger teams this time round.
But of course, in fairness, FC Twente won their title through hard grit and determination and this city in the east of Netherlands (that has rebuilt itself from the horrors of the ‘Vuurwerkramp’ of 13 May 2000) would be proud. Gefeliciteerd Twente!