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post #1 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 5th, 2010, 12:22 Thread Starter
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AZ Alkmaar : a mid-table soap opera

THE CLUB

AZ, an acronym for Alkmaar Zaanstreek, is an association football club from the city of Alkmaar, Netherlands. The club plays in the Eredivisie, the highest football league in the Netherlands. AZ was founded on 10 May 1967, the result of a merger between Alkmaar '54 and FC Zaanstreek.

Club name AZ | Founded on 10 May 1967 | Home venue AFAS Stadium | Capacity 17,023 | Chairman René Neelissen | Managing Director Toon Gerbrands | Coach Gert-Jan Verbeek | Assistant Coach Martin Haar | Chief Sponsor AFAS | Annual Budget €25 million | Honors 2 times Dutch national champions (1981, 2009), 3 times Dutch cup winners (1978, 1981 and 1982), 1 time Dutch supercup winners (2009)



THE HISTORY

AZ have known two successful eras in their turbulent history. The Molenaar era 1972-1985 and the Scheringa era 1993-2009. Both success stories were based heavily on the financial input of local businessmen: first the brothers Cees and Klaas Molenaar and later Dirk Scheringa.

The Molenaar era
The Molenaar brothers owned a successful company called Wastora (a chain of department stores) and invested their fortune in the club. AZ began to grow and attract players of fame such as Willem van Hanegem, John Metgod, Kristen Nygaard and Eddy Treijtel. AZ came close to winning the title in the 1979/1980 season but too many points were dropped along the way and Ajax emerged victorious.
Disappointed and frustrated, the Molenaar brothers allowed their emotions to take control as they invested even more heavily in the club and brought in players such as Ronald Spelbos, Jan Peters, Kees Kist and Kurt Welzl. Success followed one season later as AZ became the Eredivisie champions of the 1980/1981 season with only a single game lost (at home to Ajax: 0-1). The club also won the KNVB Cup (beating Ajax 3-1) and reached the final of the UEFA Cup where Ipswich Town proved too strong (0-3, 4-2).
The investments in the club had left the Molenaar brothers heavily indebted. They left the club in 1985 and almost immediately, it all went downhill. In 1988 AZ were relegated.
The 1980/1981 championship team: Eddy Treytel, Ron Weysters, Jan Gaasbeek, Jos Jonker, Ype Anema, Peter de Waard, Rick Talan, Hans de Koning, John Metgod, Ronald Spelbos, Chris van Dungen, Fred Filippo, Hans Reynders, Richard van der Meer, Jacques Vink, Peter Arntz, Hugo Hovenkamp, Pier Tol, Jan Peters, Kees Kist en Kristen Nygaard. Coach: Georg Kessler.

The Scheringa era
Dirk Scheringa, founder, owner and managing director of the DSB Bank, became chairman of AZ in 1993. Slowly but surely his careful investments guided the club forwards once more. Willem van Hanegem came back too, this time as coach. Under his guidance the club were promoted back to the Eredivisie in 1998.
Unlike the Molenaar brothers, Dirk Scheringa relied less on his emotions and more on his skills as businessman and the growth of AZ adopted a slow but steady pattern. The first real success came in the 2004/2005 season when coach Co Adriaanse guided his team to a UEFA Cup semifinal where AZ narrowly lost to Sporting Lisbon who managed to score a goal in the injury time of extra time of the second leg in Alkmaar (2-1 and 3-2).
In 2005, Co Adriaanse left and was succeeded by Louis van Gaal who immediately guided his team to 2nd place in the league. AZ began the 2006/2007 season by trashing NAC Breda 8-1 in the opening game. PSV would lead the table for most of the season, but AZ reached 1st place in the second-to-last round of the league in an unbelievably close title race. An away win at relegation candidates Excelsior Rotterdam in the final game of the season would seal the first title for AZ since 1981, but it was not to be. In a chaotic and messy affair on Woudestein, AZ lost and finished third, behind PSV and Ajax respectively. AZ also reached the KNVB Cup final but lost to Ajax on penalties. Something snapped in the young team.
Determined to win the title, Scheringa dropped his usual calm approach and invested heavily by spending some €20 million on new players, most notably Ari, Mounir El Hamdaoui, Graziano Pellč and Sébastien Pocognoli. Expectations were high and many tipped AZ for the title. But once the ball rolled, AZ stumbled through the season like a crippled, drunken dog and finished 11th, narrowly avoiding relegation in the final months of the season. Louis van Gaal wanted to resign but was convinced by his own players to stay.
Virtually no money was spent the following summer and the team started poorly in the 2008/2009 season. Analysts predicted Van Gaal would be fired before Christmas. However, after a 1-0 home victory against PSV, everything changed. AZ began a long and relentless march, dropping almost no points. On 19 April 2009, AZ became champions of the Eredivisie once more.
In the Fall of 2009, Dirk Scheringa's DSB Bank fell to the combined forces of the financial crisis, the economic recession and a man named Pieter Lakeman, whose foundation represented thousands of DSB clients that could no longer afford their DSB mortgages in a legal dispute with DSB. After Lakeman spread unfounded rumors in the press that the DSB Bank was about to collapse, panic rippled through Dutch society and a bank run ensued. Billions of euros were drawn from ATMs throughout the country, prompting the involvement of the Dutch national bank and the ministry of finance. DSB was forced to file for bankruptcy and Dirk Scheringa was stripped of his fortune. Due to the complicated legalities involving AZ, the club were placed under financial guardianship. Ordinary financial transactions (such as those involving taxes and salary) were allowed to continue, but no other investments or payments could be made. This stranglehold brought the club to the very edge, its continued existence in peril. After almost eight months, the guardians finally finished their research and financial rehabilitation plan and released the club. The annual budget had fallen from €40 million to just €25 million and to make matters worse, several key players had to be sold to erase the most urgent debts.
The 2008/2009 championship team: Jordy Deckers, Joey Didulica, Sergio Romero, Gijs Luirink, Gill Swerts, Héctor Moreno, Kees Luijckx, Kew Jaliens, Niklas Moisander, Ragnar Klavan, Sébastien Pocognoli, Brett Holman, David Mendes da Silva, Demy de Zeeuw, Maarten Martens, Marko Vejinović, Nick van der Velden, Simon Poulsen, Stijn Schaars, Ari, Graziano Pellč, Jeremain Lens, Mounir El Hamdaoui, Moussa Dembélé. Coach: Louis van Gaal.

Present
As of 2010, AZ's official target is to become a top 5 club with the aim of reaching European football every season. The budget is not expected to climb significantly within the foreseeable future. All title aspirations have been shelved indefinitely.



THE SQUAD

(1) Esteban Alvarado (2015)
(16) Yves de Winter (2015)
(21) Erik Heijblok (2014)
(37) Hobie Verhulst (2014)

(2) Mattias Johansson (2016)
(3) Dirk Marcellis (2014)
(4) Nick Viergever (2015)
(5) Donny Gorter (2016)
(6) Etiënne Reijnen (2014)
(24) Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (2018)
(25) Jonas Heymans (2014)
(28) Thomas Lam (2016)
(29) Jan Wuytens (2017)
(30) Ridgeciano Haps (2015)
(34) Wesley Hoedt (2015)
(36) Paul Kok (2014)

(8) Nemanja Gudelj (2017)
(10) Willie Overtoom (2016)
(11) Maarten Martens (2014)
(12) Viktor Elm (2016)
(19) Markus Henriksen (2017)
(26) Celso Ortiz (2014)
(31) Joris van Overeem (2015)
(33) Thom Haye (2014)

(7) Johann Berg Gudmundsson (2014)
(9) Eli Babalj (2017)
(20) Aron Johannson (2017)
(22) Steven Berghuis (2017)
(23) Roy Beerens (2015)
(35) Raymond Gyasi (2014)
(40) Fernando Lewis (2016)
(44) Denni Avdić (2016)

Gert-Jan Verbeek (2015)

For an overview of squad mutations, click here.

Last edited by Slagathor; August 16th, 2013 at 14:24.
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post #2 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 5th, 2010, 12:24 Thread Starter
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The 2008/2009 road to the title

This is the story of how AZ won its second and most recent Eredivisie title.

STAGE 1 | A FALSE START

After a disastrous season, the players manage to convince Van Gaal to stay after he announced he failed to see any future perspective. Over the summer, the squad undergoes a makeover that sees the departure of the weakest links and the arrival of several low key reinforcements. The fans have their doubts. Who are these players? Why aren’t we spending any serious money to secure improvement?

A brittle sense of hope fills the Victory Stadium for the first encounter of the season against NAC Breda. After 90 minutes, the score line reads 1-2. Enough to unleash a sense of despair in Alkmaar.

Two weeks later, the away game to The Hague is lost by demoralizing figures: 3-0. Brett Holman sees red and the fans are preparing themselves for another season of hardship. Despite all this, Van Gaal declares he witnessed his team play “the best football I’ve seen in six months” – the coach harvests nothing but cynicism with his comments.

Stage 1: two games, zero points and a goal difference of -4.



STAGE 2 | SLAYING THE SUPERPOWER FROM EINDHOVEN

When the trees in Holland turn yellow and red to signal the arrival of Fall, Louis van Gaal introduces tactical changes. From now on, his team will cease pouring forward and pressurizing the opponent. Instead, the forwards linger along the halfway line and AZ allow the opponents to play ball. The second they lose possession, one-touch counter attack football launches Mounir El Hamdaoui and Moussa Dembélé forward.

It works. When PSV visit Alkmaar, they fail to punch a dent in the organized defence. A clever chip by Maarten Martens hands AZ victory in the dying minutes of the game (1-0). The game would soon be known as the definitive turn around.

Gallery play in Tilburg against Willem II (2-5) and at home against Sparta Rotterdam (6-0) secure deserved victories. Almost every chance equals a goal. Mounir El Hamdaoui and Moussa Dembélé enchant the supporters with wonderful solo runs and brilliant shots. Optimism returns, as do pride and hope.

Next in line are the relegation candidates De Graafschap away (0-2) and Volendam at home (3-0). Both are disposed of with ease.

Stage 2: seven games, fifteen points and a goal difference of +11.



STAGE 3 | LEAGUE LEADERS AND WINTER CHAMPIONS

On the eve of the difficult month of November, Mounir El Hamdaoui guides his team past Roda JC by scoring twice (0-2). After eight rounds and eleven goals by the Moroccan forward, AZ reach the top spot in the Eredivisie. An unexpected injury-time equalizer by Heerenveen in the Abe Lenstra stadium (3-3) makes everyone feel like the game was lost rather than drawn but AZ remain league leaders.

A new strength surfaces during the 3-0 victory over FC Twente: depth. Dembélé, Schaars and Jaliens are all sidelined but it’s barely visible from the display.

That newfound asset fails one week later when VItesse steal a point in Arnhem (1-1). AZ fall back to fourth place in the league, but it’s a blip on the radar. One week later, the Alkmaarders beat Ajax in the snow (2-0) and return to claim pole position. The match against Ajax would be the first of an impressive clean sheet streak.

FC Groningen is casually brushed aside in its own Green Cathedral (0-2) and the month of November draws to a close. AZ dealt with a tough series of fixtures without losing even once. The winning streak continues through December as Heracles (2-0), Feyenoord (0-1), Utrecht (2-0) and NEC Nijmegen (1-0) are all served defeats.

Stage 3: seventeen games, forty one points and a goal difference of +26.



STAGE 4 | RECORDS AND TITLE TALK

The winterbreak comes and goes without bringing significant changes. Ragnar Klavan joins the group from Heracles Almelo, but nobody leaves. However, when the league starts again, the defensive partnership of Héctor Moreno and Niklas Moisander has been sidelined due to injuries. Fans worry, but little goes wrong at the back.

AZ continue a clean sheet streak. The wonderful goals keep coming and dropping points is something only the competitors do. With the mark of a true champion, AZ converts difficult games into 3 points (Sparta away 0-2 and Roda at home 1-0).

Said Boutahar keeps goalie Sergio Romero from setting an all-time Eredivisie clean sheet record when he scores during their visit to Alkmaar. Despite that, the game ends in a victory: 3-1.

The difficult trip to Eindhoven ends in a disappointing draw (2-2) where AZ could and should have won. An improvised side plagued by injuries manages to grab all three points on the astroturf in Almelo (0-2) and Groningen are overrun when they visit Alkmaar on the last day of Winter (3-0). The encounter with Groningen is the highlight of the season for striker Graziano Pellč who scored the first two goals and was crowned man of the match.

Stage 4: twenty five games, sixty three points and a goal difference of +40.



STAGE 5 | SET BACKS AND MINIMALISM

Free from European duties, AZ focus entirely on domestic competitions. However, a slip-up against NAC Breda sees the club eliminated from the KNVB Cup. In the aftermath, Sergio Romero doesn’t know how to deal with his frustration over a crucial error he made during the game and he breaks his hand punching a wall in the dressing room. The air of invincibility that surrounded the team for months has all but evaporated. NAC Breda once again illustrate how AZ can be defeated.

Opponents and rivals cherish hope once more, but not for very long. The tricky away game to NEC in Nijmegen sees AZ struggle, but survive (0-1). The media, the fans, the players and the coaching staff had all nominated it to be a crucial game in the season. An important test was passed.

Utrecht is forced to acknowledge defeat one week later (0-1), but Feyenoord manage to escape Alkmaar with a point the following round. It doesn’t fade anyone.

Minimalism still surrounds the title charge, nobody at the club dares to openly admit the status of title candidate now held by the club. The Woudenstein trauma is too big. All of that changes when AZ obliterate The Hague in early April (4-1). Only chairman Dirk Scheringa remains cautious.

AZ once again struggle against NAC in Breda. An individual moment of brilliance by Moussa Dembélé eventually seals the deal (0-1). FC Twente and Ajax also win which means AZ can officially claim the title if they beat Vitesse in Alkmaar a week later.

With all the preparations for celebrations in place, AZ stumble and fall against Vitesse (1-2). Two lucky shots by the Arnhem outfit bring an anticlimactic experience to the Victory Stadium and the Woudenstein trauma is unleashed in full force.

However, less than 20 hours later, the world looks a different place entirely. Ajax get slaughtered by PSV in Eindhoven (6-2) and the title goes to AZ for the first time since 1981. Thousands of fans gather outside the stadium where the players and the coaches have been watching the game between PSV and Ajax. A spontaneous celebration erupts.

Stage 5: thirty one games, seventy six points and a goal difference of +45.

Last edited by Slagathor; March 11th, 2012 at 15:41.
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post #3 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 5th, 2010, 12:30 Thread Starter
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I think it's time to close the AZ forum and continue with just the one thread (albeit a very informative one ). I've been spamming the life out of every football forum in the world but, despite that, it never really took off. Time to downscale, it's the fashionable thing to do.
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post #4 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 5th, 2010, 14:10 Thread Starter
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Sunday 07 November 2010 at 14H30
Gelredome

Poulsen (injured) is out.

Romero :rollani:
Marcellis - Moisander - Moreno - Klavan
Wernbloom - Elm - Schaars
Holman - Jonathas :frustrat: - Martens

Vitesse's bad streak is about to end, AZ is coming to town!

FT: 5-2.
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post #5 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 5th, 2010, 14:40
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Rather not. Don't want to see a confident Vitesse next week in the cup or I'll have made the long trip in the Gelredome all for nothing


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post #6 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 6th, 2010, 06:17
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How come you got rid of the AZ section and merged it into this one Slag?

btw are you getting rid of the match thread for this season?
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post #7 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 6th, 2010, 12:24 Thread Starter
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It was just me running the show after henryrules and Dutch Lion disappear so yeah, we're gonna make due with just this one thread now. Matches included
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post #8 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 7th, 2010, 13:15
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I am here now a bit of shame the forum went as i miss it i will.

And i think we win today

So far this season who been our best players

Kelly Brook The sexiest woman in the world.

And one day my future girlfreind

My twitter is Darren800 you find me there now
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post #9 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 7th, 2010, 13:28
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Did you see even one match? Or maybe some highlights?
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post #10 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 7th, 2010, 16:56 Thread Starter
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Goals: 47. Pellč (0-1), 90. Aissati (1-1)
Bookings: Jenner (Y), Rajkovic (Y), Matic (Y), Romero (Y)

Same old, same old. We were half decent, won our individual battles, but failed to get really dangerous. We needed good old Graziano to come on and save our asses again, which he did by splendidly handling a pass from Wernbloom with his head, controling the ball, and hammering it home. His average is now 1 goal per game. Incredible.

Then we missed a host of other chances (nothing new there either) and allowed the other guys to get back in the game. Honestly, it doesn't even matter who we play anymore, I always end up typing the same thing.

Pathetic. We'll finish 11th again, run into financial trouble because we missed out on the Europa League ( ) and then we'll have to sell our only good player: Pellč.
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post #11 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 7th, 2010, 18:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Styg View Post
Did you see even one match? Or maybe some highlights?
Hard to see matches here in London it is Styg.and hard on highlights to know who are best players

Shame we got a draw seems like Pelle cant stop scoreing he is on form now

Kelly Brook The sexiest woman in the world.

And one day my future girlfreind

My twitter is Darren800 you find me there now
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post #12 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 7th, 2010, 18:55
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You usually hear fans say "it is my dream to travel and see my team play at our home venue," for Darren his dream is to see AZ one day on television.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chatbox Ana
let me give u a lil love
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post #13 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 7th, 2010, 20:09
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Jeff have seen AZ on tv in Europe some years ago vs Newcastle both games i saw
And when we beat Ajax 2-0 when Ari scored a great goal season we won the title

Kelly Brook The sexiest woman in the world.

And one day my future girlfreind

My twitter is Darren800 you find me there now
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post #14 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 8th, 2010, 04:39
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You usually hear fans say "it is my dream to travel and see my team play at our home venue," for Darren his dream is to see AZ one day on television.
Couldnt have said it any better mate
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post #15 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 8th, 2010, 08:29
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IT's not that hard to follow AZ. Unlike premiership football, you don't have an internet police deleting eredivisie football on youtube.


Lex Immers - Pace & power. Holland's #1 box to box player

Feyenoord forum - the place to talk about this phenomenon

Ronald Koeman "Oranje kan Immers goed gebruiken"

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post #16 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 8th, 2010, 08:48 Thread Starter
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Code:
Standings

1 	FC Twente 	 	13 - 31
---------------------------------------
2 	PSV Eindhoven 	 	13 - 30
---------------------------------------
3  	AFC Ajax 	 	13 - 27
4 	FC Groningen 	 	13 - 27
5 	Roda JC 	 	13 - 24
---------------------------------------
6 	AZ Alkmaar 	 	13 - 22
7 	ADO The Hague 	 	13 - 21
8	FC Utrecht 	 	13 - 19
9 	sc Heerenveen 	 	13 - 19
10 	NEC Nijmegen 	 	13 - 18
11 	NAC Breda 	 	13 - 16
12 	De Graafschap 	 	13 - 13
13 	Heracles Almelo 	13 - 12
14 	Feyenoord 	 	13 - 12
15 	Excelsior 	 	13 - 11
---------------------------------------
16 	Vitesse Arnhem 		13 - 10
17  	VVV Venlo 	 	13 - 9
---------------------------------------
18  	Willem II Tilburg 	13 - 2
Code:
Upcoming games

14 November  	AZ - Ajax
20 November  	FC Twente - AZ
27 November  	AZ - Heerenveen
05 December  	The Hague - AZ
12 December  	FC Groningen - AZ
19 December  	AZ - NEC Nijmegen
After the next two rounds (Ajax and Twente), we'll realistically be 9th or 10th. That means we have to beat our competitors in the remaining games until the winter break. If we want to get anywhere this season, we'll have to win all of those games.
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post #17 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 8th, 2010, 08:50 Thread Starter
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Goals: 47. Pellč (0-1), 90. Aissati (1-1)
Bookings: Jenner (Y), Rajkovic (Y), Matic (Y), Romero (Y)

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post #18 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 9th, 2010, 09:05 Thread Starter
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Joey Didulica vented some frustrations in front of the cameras of RTV Noord-Holland: he seems to think Verbeek fields the most expensive players (in need of a transfer) rather than the best ones and he's also quite annoyed that the club wants players to pay for new shirts if they swap their old ones at the end of games (70 bucks per shirt).

He's been given 2 days off and will miss the cup game against Eindhoven as a result.

Frankly, I can see why he's frustrated. Him and Romero are both pretty steady keepers, neither of them really stand out. Having said that, I've never liked his keeping style and personality much. He's not a leader or an impressive man, he's a typical Australian: too timid and hard working. Those are great skills to have if you're a midfielder, but not if you're a keeper. Keepers have to have some flamboyancy and they should occasionally snap and scare the crap out of the other team's forwards. Didulica has none of that.

We should just sell him or loan him out.
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post #19 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 9th, 2010, 09:44
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Since when are Aussies timid? most I've known are the biggest loudmouths around


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post #20 of 1494 (permalink) Old November 9th, 2010, 10:17 Thread Starter
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Not in football, anyway. They're all hardworking, never complain... At least in the Eredivisie.

I don't like that. I like my footballers the same way I like my Chinese food: hot, mysterious and a little bit dangerous

So none of this:


But a lot more of this:
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