Saturday evening, October 2, 2021, Go Ahead Eagles will play against RKC in Waalwijk. Kick-off at 6:45 PM. RKC is considered a direct competitor. One point and at least three points will keep us out of the relegation zone for at least two weeks with an international match weekend ahead. And that’s what this season is all about. Toon Schuiling looks ahead. About the open wound, the bicycle shed and our man from the Comoros.

Eagle Eye October 2, 2021 – RKC out

Report Tuesday 28 May 2019: ‘Tahiri puts that ball in front one more time. Bilate, Spierings, Spierings….. Spierings shoots it in the intersection. An open wound. Report Wednesday, May 12, 2021: ‘It can be done again, it can be done again, the last chance, they can’t finish it….’. De Graafschap supplies the plasters. And so RKC and Go Ahead will face each other again on Saturday. In the Premier League that is. An important match. Both clubs are considered a deadly relegation candidate. RKC is in 16th place with 5 out of 7. We are 14th with one point more.

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Bicycle shed – HEC, WVB and Hercules do those names mean something to you? New? To give this talk some cachet, I like to sprinkle with facts. I do that together with Wikipedia. I read there that our opponent from Saturday in 1940 arose from HEC, WVB and Hercules. Three RC clubs from Waalwijk. RKC is a logical name for a merger: the Roman Catholic Combination. Later it became RKC Waalwijk. That’s right. RKC played football from its entry into professional football (1984) in a rickety stadium. ‘The bicycle shed’ in the vernacular. That was no longer possible in the mid-1990s. The municipality helped with a new stadium. This, however, on the condition that Waalwijk was added to the club name. The gesture could then be written under the Citymarketing item. Arranged through the back door of the town hall. That’s how it goes in Brabant. At that time it was often Bonanza in Waalwijk. Dubious sponsors, a black money circuit and chairman Piet Kipping was sentenced to 240 hours of community service. At an animal shelter. It is no coincidence that Undercover was filmed in Brabant.

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We are going to play football – RKC is only allowed to play black professional football from 1984. They do that better than us. RKC was, under Martin Jol, even a sub-top club for a while. In recent years they yo-yo, just like us, a bit back and forth. The great thing about RKC is that they often manage to set up a nice team with few resources. Master scout Janus van Gelder plucked gems here and there. Good trainers like Bert Jacobs, the aforementioned Martin Jol and Henk Grim made a good whole of it. Our own Kees van Kooten was also a blue Monday trainer in Waalwijk. Nice team or not nice team. RKC never attracts a lot of audience. On Saturday, the 2000 season ticket holders can take someone with them for free and for nothing.The central defenders Melle Meulensteen and Ahmed Touba form a solid duo, although the latter seems to have lost the good form of last season. Alexander Buttner and our Richard van der Venne provide poison. I write ‘our’ because rarely a player was better suited to Go Ahead than the red Van der Venne. Expiring contract in Waalwijk! Both poisonous frogs were missing last weekend in the 1-0 lost game against Heracles. No idea how they are now. At the front, RKC has Michel Kramer and Jens Odgaard at its disposal. Kramer started this season like a croquette, but has been dry for a month in terms of goals. Odgaard is in my eyes the man to keep an eye on. Good player. And who would think that with an international from the Comoros, we have something special in house. So no. RKC also has one; Said Bakari.

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Competition – Talking about our man from the Comoros. I’m actually curious about him. Was presented this summer as a top reinforcement. He got playing time for the first time, more than a few minutes, against AZ. It was already finished then, but you could see he can play football. Technically good, hard pass but also a bit slow motion. And he doesn’t look really happy either, as our Amsterdam watcher Jan Willem Spaans noted during training last Wednesday. It rained it poured, it could be. I also think that Bourhane will not appear at the kick-off on Saturday either. The competition in the midfield is fierce. Gerrit Nauber is also not at the kick-off. The German strongman overstretched his knee and will not make it on Saturday. It does not appear to be very serious. Martijn Berden also seems not to be fit.

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It is still early in the season, but of course it is a crucial pot there in Waalwijk. After a week in which it was barely possible to breathe with PEC, PSV and AZ, Kees van Wonderen was now able to work quietly towards RKC. If we reach PSV’s level at home, we will win on Saturday. If we show the bet as against PEC, we win. But if we play like we did in Alkmaar, things get complicated. It is unclear who will play. In the back, Idzes and Justin Bakker seem to be in the picture to replace Nauber. Rommens was one of the few to make a nice impression in midfield last Sunday. That would mean that Lucassen will end up at right back. Up front, the two Spaniards seem assured of a basic place for the time being and either Heil or Oratmangoen completes the attack.

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We are seven games away. We played four acceptable matches, we played poorly but we did beat PEC and we fell through the ice in Leeuwarden and Alkmaar. The real novelty has worn off a bit.