A Bridge too far?
Good morning/afternoon/evening! Over the next few weeks I will be delving into a pet project of mine combining the loan farm system a unique relationship and the never ending questions of what does the future hold. I hope to map out the agreement between Chelsea and Vitesse Arnhem, profile the players that have walked the now well-trodden path between these two clubs and evaluate if it has all been worth it?
In this opening piece I will aim to provide a very brief introduction to our Dutch Cousins. This is a truly fascinating club with a wonderfully murky history I hope to come back to this at some point in the future, however I digress, I will then move onto the more serious matter of profiling the players as weeks roll by.
Vitesse for my money have the most English backstory of perhaps any football club in Europe, who owe their humble beginnings to our other national pastime: Cricket. Borne out of the local cricket club, Vitesse Arnhem came into being in May 1842 and taking on another quintessentially English pastime began queuing; queuing for silverware, which they stoutly and resolutely did until this past month when winning the KNVB Cup.
You have read that correctly one major trophy in their entire 125-year history, successfully combining a love of Cricket and waiting patiently, all that is missing is a cucumber sandwich and warm beer on the club crest.
Since these humble beginnings Vitesse have bounced from periods of almost monotonous stability to falling into the Juliper League and languishing in debt accrued from the building of a flashy and expensive stadium (sound familiar anyone?). The stadium has gone on to be aped around the world and includes a retractable roof and a fully movable pitch.
This debt led to the removal of the President Karel Aalbers and the installation of the previous head of world-renowned footballing powerhouse Sara Lee…the gateaux…for all of four months. Then enter stage left a knight in shining gold and black armour, a wealthy eastern European backer, with a slightly bemusing financial situation arrived, along with a direct line to Roman Abramovich and soon after a long list of Chelsea FC starlets learning their trade.
In the next episode the pioneers of the Chelsea/Vitesse partnership, how they performed during their spell with the club, the impact it had on their career (for better or worse) and where they are now.