‘As a trainer, you can also experience very different times’
“A Feyenoord home game is already a party and European is especially nice to experience. Yesterday in the stadium you think you’ve had it all, but then again this is the superlative.”
In short, even Feyenoord coach Arne Slot, who is always so subdued, had enjoyed himself on the steps of Rotterdam’s city hall on Coolsingel. There the national champion, who on Sunday secured the title that had been weeks away with a 3-0 home victory over Go Ahead Eagles, was cheered by a large crowd of supporters around noon.
Feyenoord coach Slot: ‘This is the superlative’
The players were sung to, but the coach, considered by many to be the key behind the success, also got his turn. “Very special,” Slot had to confess.
“Because you know that in the life of a trainer you can also experience very different times. So if you are so popular with the supporters, that’s fantastic. But I still owe that mainly to the good players I have and a great staff. Together we can be successful.”
One of those players is Gernot Trauner, who was introduced on the platform by Slot as the best singer in the selection. “Haha, I tried my best, but I still hope I play better soccer than I sing,” the Austrian responded to that commendation.
The 31-year-old defender, who watched the championship match from the sidelines due to injury, had also enjoyed the cheers. “A great experience. I am very happy to have been able to witness this. It’s my first title. I am very happy and proud that we grabbed the title. At the beginning of the league no one will have bet on us, but we have had a very stable season and have deservedly become champions.”
Although that penny has actually yet to drop. “It still hasn’t quite sunk in. Only in the coming days will we realize what has happened and what we have managed to do. But right now we are trying to enjoy the moment.”
‘Saving old club’
At least Mats Wieffer, who swapped Excelsior for Feyenoord last summer, did just that. “You kind of imagine what it will be like and of course I’ve seen the footage from 2017. But when you stand there yourself, it’s really enjoyable. All those people. And everyone is happy. You notice that everyone lives for it.”
The festivities will continue for a while, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Wieffer will be there again next weekend against FC Emmen. “I have to save my old club for a while,” he refers to Excelsior trying to avoid the nacompetition at Emmen’s expense. “We are going to do our best for that for a while.”