03 May Get to the chopper! Inside Dutch membership’s helicopter parade to have a good time promotion with total city
SC Cambuur-Leeuwarden’s supervisor Henk de Jong ate properly on Saturday morning, as preparation for what was to return. After their 1-1 draw towards De Graafschap the earlier night, the team and backroom workers had a “little pint,” as he places it, to additional have a good time their achievement of successful the Dutch Keuken Kampioen Divisie, and with it promotion to the top-flight Eredivisie.
“I’m not afraid of needing to throw up,” De Jong advised Football4cast. “It is not as massive a hangover like final week [after they secured promotion], it’s a small one.”
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With COVID-19 restrictions stopping Cambuur from celebrating within the ordinary trend — a large occasion on the Oldehoofsterkerkhof within the centre of the city — they have been supplied an unorthodox means of marking the event by the municipality and the mayor: a helicopter parade.
Simply earlier than noon on Could 1, Cambuur’s squad, some carrying sun shades on an overcast day, arrived at Leeuwarden Air Base. They noticed three helicopters ready on the tarmac: two for the squad, one for the media following the parade.
— SC Cambuur (@SCCambuurLwd) May 1, 2021
Every helicopter had capability for 5 folks, who could be handled to a 20-minute flight over Leeuwarden — a metropolis within the north of the Netherlands, with a inhabitants of 122,000 — at an altitude of about 300 metres (nearly 1,000 toes).
The folks of town had been requested to brighten their gardens and houses in Cambuur’s yellow-and-blue colors in preparation for the fly-past. And because the helicopters flew over the sphere of LKC Sonnenborgh (the native Frisian handball membership), they noticed flags laid out on the grass studying: “SCC JUSTICE.”
This occasion has been a very long time coming. When the coronavirus pandemic took maintain of the world final yr, the Dutch FA (KNVB) held a gathering with the golf equipment to determine end the 2019-20 season. Cambuur, at this stage, have been on the prime of the Dutch second division, 11 factors away from the playoff positions. Choices such because the points-per-game mannequin have been talked about, and the golf equipment took a vote. The 34 golf equipment within the first and second tier of Dutch football had registered their ideas — 16 golf equipment voted for promotion and relegation, 9 voted towards and 9 golf equipment abstained or didn’t vote. As there was no majority, the choice lay with the KNVB. It allotted European locations within the Eredivisie however opted towards crowning champions or implementing promotion and relegation.
Cambuur have been heartbroken. They already had one foot within the Eredivisie. De Jong stated on the time it was “the best shame in Dutch sport, ever,” whereas their managing director Ard de Graaf advised Football4cast “there’s a nice sense of injustice” on the membership. With the membership already planning for the highest flight, together with the event of a brand new €72 million stadium ($86.5m) on the outskirts of town, the promotion occasion was put on maintain.
The injuries from final yr took time to heal. De Jong stands by his assertion, however he needed to get his squad to focus on this season quite than reliving the ache of the earlier April. After a sticky spell in September, they went on to dominate the Dutch second tier, successful 27 of their 36 league video games thus far. When midfielder Issa Kallon secured promotion on April 17 by scoring the winner towards Helmond Sport, he raised his shirt to reveal the word “Justice” written on another underneath.
— SC Cambuur (@SCCambuurLwd) April 17, 2021
When the ultimate whistle blew on that 4-1 victory, it prompted celebrations exterior of their floor, Cambuur Stadion. It was that outpouring of pleasure which prompted the municipality and mayor to assume up a unique means of marking the team’s success. Normally it could contain some beer-fuelled celebration in a sea of yellow-and-blue flares however, recognising the necessity to keep away from giant public gatherings as a result of coronavirus pandemic, they dreamt up the airborne various.
From 1 p.m. to three p.m. native time, the helicopters circled Leeuwarden. The gamers noticed yellow-and-blue flares lit up on the bottom under. They noticed the hearth brigade forming a semi-circle of fireplace engines in tribute to the team; as they appeared down on Maximilla Straat, they saw the club’s emblem drawn in chalk on the road. Extra help got here in by way of the hashtag #TerugWaarWeHoren (“Again The place We Belong”) on Twitter.
— Hein de Haan (@heindehaan) May 1, 2021
“You are so excessive up within the air,” midfielder Nick Doodeman advised Football4cast after he landed. “Earlier than take-off I stood in entrance of the helicopter and noticed the opposite [one] take off and thought ‘now I must go as properly.’ The pilot was very calm in order that gave us confidence as properly. The spotlight? I believe I noticed my mother and father and my girlfriend waving from the bottom! They have been doing a little jobs round the home and I consider I noticed them waving within the again yard. However I do not assume they may see me.”
De Jong added: “It was wonderful to see every little thing on the bottom. Individuals are so excited, I sat within the first flight and there have been yellow-and-blue fireworks. I noticed children on the bottom, folks waving from their gardens.”
A number of the gamers weren’t satisfied by the stunt. “Just a few gamers are lacking as we speak,” De Jong stated earlier than taking off. “They do not wish to go up within the air and would quite maintain two toes on the bottom. I’m not the man that claims ‘you’ll want to go,’ dwell and let dwell, proper? I’m actually going up. In the event you get this chance, you’ll want to take it.”
Central defender Calvin Mac-Intosch was one who determined towards the helicopter flight. He advised Football4cast: “Why not? I am not afraid of flying or something, however sitting in a helicopter shouldn’t be actually crucial for me. I believe [it is] an excessive amount of. However I noticed some movies of the blokes they usually appeared to get pleasure from it, so I get pleasure from as properly then. To be sincere, I assumed it could be army helicopter, nevertheless it [looks] considerably old school. You recognize; I’m positive in an airplane however a helicopter… hmm, not for me.” The team’s prime scorer, Robert Muhren — who arrived on the airfield stated he was feeling in poor health, carrying sun shades and sipping water – additionally did not fly, nor did Alex Bangaru, Robin Maulun or Kallon.
Midfielder Michael Breij initially turned down the invitation, however his mom and girlfriend modified his thoughts. “I’m quaking in my boots, to be sincere,” he stated earlier than take-off. “However I’m going to go up, I stand agency. I’m very curious, however I am going to take a sick bag with me.”
Cambuur’s nickname is the “Slapende Reus” (“Sleeping Large”), however they’re stirring from their slumber. Having been relegated again in 2016, they’ve ended their five-year absence from the Eredivisie. Cambuur nonetheless have two matches to go this season and the celebrations will proceed, however you sense De Jong would possibly attempt to tempo himself, whereas having a new-found appreciation for terra firma.
“Throughout take-off that factor shakes after all, however you then go quick the entire sudden, simply over the bottom and you then go up within the air,” he stated. “I used to be a bit of bit [nauseous] to be sincere. We went circling above Goutum [a small village near Leeuwarden] the place [former player and assistant manager] Martijn Barto stood however I stated ‘please go straight forward once more as a result of I get nauseous’ … however that additionally has to do with yesterday.”