Sunday, March 04, 2007

FC Omniworld – Helmond Sport (02-03-2007)

T.M., my brother, is a seasoned groundhopper too. In fact, with regard to Dutch professional football, he has seen it all… well, all, except for FC Omniworld, the newest club in Dutch professional football. The horribly named FC Omniworld (what were they thinking?) was founded in 1997, and was know as the Zwarte Schapen (Black Sheep) during its amateur days. In 2005 the club was the first in years to join the select group of professional football teams in the Netherlands; unlike many other European countries the Netherlands has a strict separation between professional and amateur football and as a consequence there is only promotion and relegation between the eredivisie and eerste divisie, but no teams relegate from or promote to the eerste divisie. So, on a Friday afternoon I headed out to Leiden, where my brother picked me up and we made our way to the ‘sparkling’ city of Almere, driving bumper to bumper for most of the trip, home to… well, FC Omniworld.

After a quick snack at a Kwalitaria (oooh, how we love the play of words) we arrived around 19.45 at the Mitsubishi Forklift-Stadion (I kid you not!). We bough a ticket for the long side of the stadium, which cost no less than 15 euro. What we got for that was a seat at a make-shift aluminum stand with poles every five meters or so. This was our view.

The stadium holds a mere 3,000 people, of who 2,500 can be seated, but for this game only 832 showed up. We were seated behind some Helmond Sport supporters (who sounded more like locals, given their Holland accent) and were seated opposite to the hardcore Omniworld fans. :-)

Before discussing the game, let me first say something about the project FC Omniworld. One has to admire their initiative, if only because Almere deserves something, even if it is only FC Omniworld. I don’t know whether someone consciously designed the team logo and name (lettertype), but if someone did, we do hope the club didn’t pay him. Everything about this club is wrong! The logo is stupid (did someone try to rip off Derby County?), the lettertype is awful (more fitting for a DiY shop), and the color purple they chose is also horrible. Add to this the ‘stadium’, and we have to give them one thing: they are consistent!

The game started out fairly tame, with FC Omniworld having most of the ball, but Helmond Sport looking a little more likely to score. The main attraction was the Helmond goalie, who miss-kicked almost every ball he got. After a while the home team started to show some nice combinations, in which particularly number 9 (Dibi?) showed superior technique; he must be good in futsal too. I must admit, I thought the number 8 of FC Omniworld, Dwight Eind, was the kind of player who creates a lot of attacks, but also screws them up. But I was proven wrong in the 40th minute, when he set up and finished a beautiful one-two: 1-0 and the crowd went, well, to the cantina. I had already gone for a broodje bal (an unfair translation would be a meatball sandwich), which tasted fairly rubbery (despite the mayo).

The second half was a bit poorer even though FC Omniworld still was able to show some nice combinations. What was lacking was the final ball in the box. It was clearly not my day in terms of predictions, as just two minutes after I had told my brother that Helmond Sport was not going to come back, they scored a sneaky 1-1. The group in front of us went crazy, and we counted some 30 Helmond Sport supporters on our stand and, roughly, some 50-100 in the away stand. Despite increased pressure from the home team, the final score was 1-1.

While walking back to the car, we realized how cold it had become. It was freezing. The whole FC Omniworld experience had not been able to warm us up. Even if the club is able to survive professional football – and in this time of (near) bankruptcies that is far from certain – it still has a long way to go to establish itself in the hearts of football lovers in- and outside of Almere. Our tip: start with changing the name, logo, and club colors!

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