FC Twente given heroes welcome

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FC Twente’s 3-1 defeat yesterday by Ajax did not deter jubilant fans from welcoming the squad back to their home town of Enschede as heroes.

The scenes were similar to last year: thousands of fans gathered along the road, clutching cans of beer and fireworks. In 2010, FC Twente brought home the league title, but at least the taste of victory from last week’s 3-1 win in the KNVB Cup final – also a showdown with rival squad Ajax – was enough to keep the spirits upbeat.

Six-hour bus ride The players had arrived back to the eastern city by helicopter. The route from the airport to the city centre was lined with supporters, patiently awaiting the delayed coach which finally arrived at Enschede’s Grolsch brewery after an almost six-hour bus ride through the massive crowds clad in red and white.

It was coming up to half past one in the morning but the fans broke into rapturous whooping when Michel Preud’homme’s squad emerged from the bus. The celebrations continued into the small hours. Police say they arrested 13 people for destruction of public property and drunk and disorderly behaviour.

Party sour in Amsterdam At Amsterdam’s Museumplein, the party had turned sour earlier in the evening. reports that dozens of people had to be treated for injuries sustained after they were squashed in the crowd. An emergency hospital post was set up behind the stage as ambulances were unable to push through the crammed square.

The festivities started at about 6 o’clock in the evening. Shortly before 8pm, clashes broke out between groups of supporters. Fans who had climbed up television towers were pelted with beer cans and a bottle was thrown onto the stage.

Soon after eight o’clock, the organizers urged people to go home, but the concrete barriers started shaking as the some 80,000 fans had difficulty finding a way out. At half past nine, Museumplein was finally cleared. Police say they had arrested 46 supporters by the end of the evening.

Management clash at Ajax Ajax’s 3-1 victory over Twente in the last match of the season is all the most significant in the light of recent management clashes. The club’s board of directors announced their resignation at the end of March after a clash with football legend Johan Cruyff who had been asked by the club to make recommendations to improve the players’ performance.

When the board refused to implement all of Cruyff’s proposals, the football guru rallied the support of the members’ association and the board was more or less ousted. Ajax had failed to bring home the league title since 2004. The question mark hanging over the future of the club, as well as the poor performance at the beginning of the season added to yesterday’s emotion at Museumplein’s celebration.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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