The light bulb revolution of PSV
‘The club has lost its soul’, ‘it’s no longer our PSV’, ‘the warm atmosphere of the ’70s and ’80s has disappeared’; just a handful of complaints by PSV fans recently, after their club is about to finish the season without winning the league title for the 5th year in a row. The price the side from Eindhoven pay for years of mismanagement in the board room and high expenditure on second-string players. Since chairman – but most of all, the cultural conscience of the club – Harry van Raaij left, the club has sunk lower and lower and is now dangerously close missing out on Champions League football again. Worst of all though, is that nobody in the Netherlands really minds PSV doing this badly bar their own fans. A painful sign of the way the club has lost its public image of a cosy, big, happy family within a matter of years.
A group of former players has had enough and, after having seen the results of Johan Cruyff’s revolt in Amsterdam, plan to start a wind of change in the Eindhoven board room. Just like many fans, they believe the club has lost its soul and they plan for a big clear-out. “Yet again PSV show no positional play, no willingness to fight, no vision but even worse: no team-spirit,” an unnamed individual told De Volkskrant. “But PSV isn’t just unrecognisable on the pitch. The fans no longer feel a connection with the once as ‘warm’ perceived club. For the fifth year in a row no league title is already unacceptable for a club that has spend €53 million on building a league winning squad. But for the people that love the club, that loss of its soul is ten times worse.”
Technical director Marcel Brands, the man responsible for PSV spending €53 million on the likes of Marcelo, Vukovic, Lens, Derijck, Willems, Strootman, Wijnaldum, Mertens, Matavz, Tyton, Hiljemark and Narsingh, is singled out as the first victim of the new movement by PSV watcher Thijs Slegers and Johan Derksen (both VI). Tiny Sanders is also a name mentioned by many to leave, mainly because he has not helped the club move forward during his spell as general director.
Unsurprising are the names linked with the new movement within the club’s ranks, as they all spell out the club taking a step in Ajax and Feyenoord’s foot steps in hiring former players to do the job. Current assistant-managers Philip Cocu and Ernest Faber, current captain Mark van Bommel and former world class forward Ruud van Nistelrooy have all been named as potential key figures to change the clubs’ direction and help the Eindhoven club to achieve success. They will be backedby the technical know-how and legendary status of Guus Hiddink amidst supporters of the club. More surprisingly though, is the name of the initiator that Hiddink has revealed. For it is no less than that of Hans van Breukelen.
Van Breukelen is a former goalkeeper, winning the European Championship alongside Van Basten and Gullit in 1988, who’s currently seated in PSV’s board of commissioners to oversee the work that’s done by the board and technical staff. Although often ridiculed by the media for his mental coaching (he runs his own mental coaching agency, which helps people deal with the happenings in their lives), he is PSV through and through and has often been found defending the club on national television.
Alas, that’s the sporting side of this revolution. But it’s not just about the sporting side. Several big sponsors of the club have also shown their support for a change, claiming they are troubled by the current course PSV has set. They are unhappy with the way the club has presented itself recently and consider withdrawing their sponsorship for next season if things keep on going the way they are now.
A revolution is coming in Eindhoven. The light bulb revolution of Philips Sport Vereniging.