Part 2: Go Kampong, it’s still possible

Written by Bert Plomp

Football club SHUNU also had a financial side. The members of the club contributed a dime weekly to the club’s treasury. The goal of this contribution was to eventually purchase a leather soccer ball.

Money was also gathered by collecting rags, old iron, and old paper. On the southern quay of the Kromme Rijn, roughly halfway between the Albatros Bridge and the Tolsteegsingel, a rag-and-bone man had his business. The trader’s name was Kaptein (Captain). The man wanted to live as a captain, and to emphasize this image, he wore a captain’s cap on his head all day. Moreover, there was a flat cargo boat moored in front of his door. With that boat, he daily transported the purchased material to an even larger dealer in rags and metals. He managed to make a good profit with that old junk. Only a tiny part of that income ended up in our club’s treasury after we had delivered collected rags and paper to him. Sometimes we secretly supplemented the collected stuff with items from home, such as still-in-use clothing from parents and other family members. Rags brought in more money than iron and paper and were much lighter to transport. That’s why we preferred to collect old clothing and the like. After Kaptein had weighed everything on a large scale, he settled with us. Although the proceeds were rarely more than a guilder, we were quite satisfied with it. With the money, we hurried home to deposit it in the club’s treasury and count once again how large the capital had become.

A very different way the club earned money was by selling bags of ‘Nibbit.’ Bags of snacks that had long passed their sell-by date. We received these bags from a neighbor named Dick. Dick’s father was a representative at the Nibbit snack manufacturer and regularly brought home large quantities of rejected items. These were bags he had received back from retailers for destruction because the snacks were old and no longer crispy. We then took off with these bags and sold them everywhere in the neighborhood at half price.

However, the road to the intended end balance was long. Too long was the verdict. After all, a leather match ball cost quickly ten guilders, and we had been saving for ten weeks already. Once a sum of seven guilders was in the pot, an emergency meeting was called. In that meeting, it was unanimously decided to convert the balance into bottles of cola and Mars bars without further delay. With this expenditure, the existence of SHUNU also came to an end.

After the dissolution of the club, I only played football at VELOX. My older brother Theo was active at Hercules during that time. Hercules was then a football club for the better-off. Although my brother did not come from a wealthy family, he attended the Rijks-HBS (State Higher Civic School) and thus had prospects for a good future. Unlike Hercules, VELOX was a genuine people’s club. Students from an HBS or a Gymnasium did not feel at home there. They preferred to go to Hercules or to the even more upscale Kampong. Because football was considered a popular sport even among the higher classes, some of them opted for hockey and tennis. In terms of football level, however, you were much better off at VELOX. When I played in a youth team against Kampong in the past, my team usually won by double digits against those well-behaved, polite boys. Even with a score of 0-14 for VELOX, you could still hear parents on the sidelines with a posh voice shouting: Go Kampong, it’s still possible.

My football career was short-lived and had only two highlights. The first highlight was that I once played a few matches in the same team as Willem van Hanegem. That was in the double D-juniors of VELOX. Why that team was referred to as double D, I do not know. Since it was a boys’ team, it probably had nothing to do with a selection based on ‘cup size double D.’ As far as I could find out, my captivating neighbor girl Renée also had nothing to do with these juniors. Not even as a mascot. Maybe the double D simply meant two times as good as the singular D-juniors.

Playing a trial match for FC Utrecht was my second highlight. A good family friend had arranged with then-coach Bert Jacobs that I could play a trial match with Utrecht against Wageningen. Until then, I had never really played in a team. Never paid attention to a teammate. Although I was assigned a certain position, I just went into the field with my street footballer mentality. In other words: fetch the ball, pass everyone, and score. This worked well now and then on the square in Napoleonplantsoen. However, on the Wageningen Berg, after twenty minutes of dribbling, I had to find the locker room and take the bus back to Utrecht by myself. A few weeks later, during a football game on a bumpy field, I twisted my left knee massively. This definitively put an end to my football career.


For all episodes, click on: Shit between the nops

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