It is a crisis in Arnhem. Last season Vitesse still played European football, now the team of trainer Thomas Letsch is scoreless at the bottom after 3 rounds. On Saturday, Heerenveen played the number 6 of last season off the mat. Ex-player Frans Thijssen fears the worst.
The 70-year-old club legend (see below) is afraid of relegation. In conversation with AD said the former player and former trainer of the Arnhem team that enforcement will be very difficult.
How big are the concerns in Arnhem?
“Well, you can call this a crisis. The club is at the bottom and has already conceded 12 (!) goals. The worst league start ever, I read somewhere. It is all difficult and it becomes a sad story in this way. The first 20 minutes against Heerenveen were very telling for me. You expect them to be on top after 2 defeats. But there was nothing in it.”
Is relegation a realistic scenario?
“As it looks now and when nothing changes, certainly. You saw with Heracles last season that it can happen with any club. Even when you do not expect it. Everyone sees that Vitesse will not make it with this group.”
And then the debut of Brighton mercenary Scherpen was not good either…
No, he had some unfortunate moments. We have been messing around with keepers in Arnhem for a long time. But the rear guard also did not look good against Heerenveen. A few guys have been brought in, but you wonder why. They don’t come close to the level of the departed players. I like how Thomas Letsch protects his players. He can do no other. If he drops them off, those boys can be crossed.”
Valeri Oyf left the club as owner. The Russian summed up the accumulated debt (150 million euros) himself. Now the American investor John Textor is ready.
“In Arnhem we are eager for a new owner. It is clear that players have to be added. You just hope it all happens in time. They will take a lot of foreigners with them. It will then take a while before I have all the names Sometimes I think: can’t we find that somewhere in the region?”
Do you remember when Vitesse last played a level lower?
“Yes, that was in 1989. When we were promoted to the Eredivisie, I was there. After that, I think we almost always played for the first 5 places. We are not used to fighting relegation here, but it is on reality this way. It’s going to be a tough season.”
Also read: Club legend Theo Janssen predicts that ‘his’ Vitesse will have a hard time