I woke up earlier than normal (always the way after a skinful) and felt awful but got up early to wolf down the excellent breakfast of salty speck and scrambled eggs, numerous bread rolls with ham and cheese and a Lake Baikal amount of Orange Juice and coffee. Back to bed I went with all this sustenance swimming around inside me and then came downstairs again to see 6 men who all looked like death. Still we all had a three and three-quarter hour railway journey with changes in Mönchengladbach and Venlo to look forward too didn’t we at, I might add, a bargain group price of 123 Euros. Surpisingly we all made it through the journey pretty well after a seamless change in Mönchengladbach and a hearty Frites Speciaal at Venlo station. A small sleep in a very affluent Dordrecht town centre hotel was followed by a quick Kebab on Voorstraat.
We still weren’t expecting much as we got off the bus and made our way down to the slightly ramshackle looking GN Bouw Stadion. It didn’t look like much but seemed to have the world’s biggest car park attached to it. We bought tickets for the all seater stand on the side and chatted to some incredulous local Dordrechtonians who could scarcely believe that seven Englishmen had decided to come and watch their team play on a Monday night when the game was on TV. They were good football people much more in the Belgian mould than the usual Dutch fayre of white socks, bomber jackets, far too much hair gel and a “Green Street” attitude to football.
We took our seats in the nicely elevated stand and we were joined by a decent crowd who actually wanted to be there. Most unusual for Holland. The differences got bigger as FC Dordrecht really like to attack with a bit of pace down the wings, usually a huge part of the pitch not particulary well used in Holland. Perhaps it had something to do with the bitterly cold night or the small but welcoming stadium but we really enjoyed our visit. The stadium is all seater. There are two small stands behind each goal. One half of one of these housed the hardy 20-30 souls from AGOVV and the other end housed the noisiest FC Dordrecht Schapenkoppen who seemed to favour ironic cheering and singing to keep the cold out. We all thought the Moussa Kalisse (on loan from Excelsior Rotterdam) was skillful but looked like he was carrying a decent amount of timber. Danny Post in midfield would be welcome in a Torquay United shirt any time though. He brought composure and a decent range of passing to an attacking FC Dordrecht side.
FC Dordrecht (or more accurately a football club in Dordrecht) have been around for almost 130 years now but in that time have undergone a few name changes from Dordrectsche Football club from 16th August 1883 to FC Dordrecht in 1972 when the amateur branch of the club turned away from the professional game. FC Dordrecht then became Drechtsteden’79 and were promoted to the first division only to be relegated again. In 1990 Drechtsteden’79 became Dordrecht’90 then merged with SVV Schiedam and became SVV/Dordrecht’90 who enjoyed a season or two in the top division before dropping the SVV/ part of the name and becoming Dordrecht’90 once more. But then in 2002 they reverted back to FC Dordrecht again and have been so for the last 11 years now. There you have it, a small potted history of the club. It does have a touch of the Only Fools and Horses “Trigger, how can it be the same bloody broom?” about it which so many name changes, but it does have the feel of a very decent little club with good support down to the old salts sitting up high in the stand we were in, to the noisy fans behind the goal and to the Fred Bassett dog in the coffee bar. It seems unfair that they’ve been derided in the past for their low attendances but a visit to the GN Bouw Stadion is well worth making, even on a bitterly cold Monday night. For the record FC Dordrecht won 2-0 against a poor but resolute AGOVV side.
JB then disgraced himself by buying a green and white scarf. Colours far too close to Plymouth Argyle for my liking but it was a nice scarf complete with a sheep’s head emblem nicely embroidered on it. We said our goodbyes and made our way to back to the station by foot but managed to get hopelessly lost. We walked for what seemed like ages only to make a left turn and see the GN Bouw Stadion again barely a couple hundred metres back down the road. We cursed our own stupidity.