‘Three months of no salary very common’

‘Three months of no salary very common’

NOS Football

  • Dean van het Laar

    editor of NOS Sports

  • Dean van het Laar

    editor of NOS Sports

After playing football at Udinese for five and a half years, Bram Nuytinck swapped one Italian club for another in January. He signed with Sampdoria, which is in dire straits athletically and administratively.

The club is penultimate in Serie A. And it is also very unsettled at the administrative level, partly because of a severed pig’s head and a bullet letter.

Bram Nuytinck at Sampdoria

In the eye of the storm, Nuytinck tries to focus on the tough relegation battle while secretly enjoying La Dolce Vita. For under the bright sun and with a house by the water, Nuytinck feels like a happy man in Genoa. The former NEC defender has been playing soccer in Italy for almost six years now and has fallen in love with the country.

“The other day we were talking about it with some teammates and came to the conclusion that Italy is the ideal country for a soccer player. Life apart from soccer is wonderful and the experience of the supporters is unparalleled. I have never experienced that before. Moreover, the level in the league is extremely high.”

Mafia practices

It sounds like a fairy tale, but the reality is a lot less rosy for Sampdoria. The club made negative headlines earlier this year after a severed pig’s head was found in front of the club’s main building and a bullet letter was delivered to the club.

Both were addressed to club owner Massimo Ferrero. Supporters hold him responsible for the club’s dire sporting and financial situation. For example, the club still has to pay 11 million in overdue salaries to players and technical staff by May 16.

February 2023: Sampdoria’s team before the game with Inter; standing second from right Bram Nuytinck

Nuytinck is trying to keep himself and his teammates out of it as much as possible. “I understand that the payment of salaries before the deadline in May is going to be fine,” he said.

“The players who have been here a bit longer are used to it by now. And I’m not very surprised by it either, you know. It’s very common in Italy to not receive a salary for three months in a row and then get everything neatly deposited.”

Focus on the field

Because peripheral issues he can’t use at the moment. “This club is too big to be relegated. We have put our heads together as a player group and found that we have little influence over the managerial vicissitudes.”

“Moreover, the supporters I speak to are not angry with the players either, but mainly with the president. Therefore, we cannot but do our very best to ensure that this club is not lost to Serie A.”

He feels Nuytinck owes that to Sampdoria’s supporters. “If I have to mention one thing that has struck me since my stay here, it’s the supporters. The intensity and pure passion with which they stand by us in large numbers during away and home matches is unparalleled.”

Bram Nuytinck in duel with Dusan Vlahovic of Juventus

“Recently we lost to Bologna in the last minute and where in Holland you are then treated to a whistling concert, here they were applauding loudly. I have never experienced that in my entire career. Not even at Udinese and Anderlecht.”

Nuytinck and consorts will need the support badly, because the gap to the safe seventeenth place, the position Spezia currently occupies, is no less than ten points. A big gap with ten rounds of play still to go.

Longer stay

For Nuytinck, retention would be extra nice, because in that case his contract at Sampdoria would be automatically extended by two and a half years. “My goal is to stay here a little longer, though. I’m going full steam ahead for that. I would love to live in this beautiful city a little longer.”

At the same time, Nuytinck is also thinking about the future and hopes to play soccer in the Netherlands again someday. “I know that I won’t stay in Italy for another five years, so should something present itself, I will definitely think hard about it. Until then, I’m right here and enjoying everything this country has to offer.”

Kayleigh Williams