Willem II (football club)

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Willem II
Willem II logo.svg
Full nameWillem II Tilburg
Nickname(s)Tricolores
Superkruiken (Super Pitchers)
Founded12 August 1896; 126 years ago (1896-08-12) (as Tilburgia)
GroundKoning Willem II Stadion
Capacity14,700
ChairmanJan van der Laak
Head coachReinier Robbemond
LeagueEerste Divisie
2021–22Eredivisie, 17th of 18 (relegated)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Willem II (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪləm ˈtʋeː]), also known as Willem II Tilburg, is a Dutch football club based in Tilburg, Netherlands. They play in the Eerste Divisie, the second tier of Dutch football, following relegation from the Eredivisie in the 2021–22 season. The club was founded on 12 August 1896 as Tilburgia. On 12 January 1898, the club was renamed Willem II after Dutch king William II of the Netherlands (1792–1849), who, as Prince of Orange and commander of the Dutch army, had his military headquarters in Tilburg during the Belgian uprising of 1830, spent much time in the city after becoming king, and died there.[1]

Notable former players for the club include Dutch internationals Jan van Roessel, Joris Mathijsen, Jaap Stam, Frenkie de Jong, Marc Overmars, Virgil Van Dijk and Finland's Sami Hyypiä. The club's shirt consists of red-white-blue vertical stripes, inspired by the colours of the flag of the Netherlands. Willem II plays its home matches in the Koning Willem II Stadion, also named after the King. The stadium, opened on 31 May 1995, has a capacity of 14,700 spectators. The average attendance in 2004–05 was 12,500 people.[1]

The club has won the Eredivisie and the Eerste Divisie three times each.[1]

History[edit]

Established on 12 August 1896 in Tilburg as Tilburgia, the club first played at the Gemeentelijk Sportpark Tilburg and in 1995 relocated to the Koning Willem II Stadion, the ground where they have played ever since. Willem were champions of the Eredivisie in 1916, 1952 and 1955. The Tricolores also won two KNVB Cups in 1944 and 1963 and were also crowned champs of the Eerste Divisie in 1958, 1965 and 2014.[1]

Willem II - Manchester United,
25 September 1963: 1–1

With regard to European competition, Willem II first appeared in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup of 1963 where they lost to Manchester United in the first round by an aggregate score of 7–2. In 1998–99, Willem once again competed in the Cup Winners' Cup and after beating Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia 6–0 in both legs, Willem then lost to Spanish side Real Betis in the second round, 4–1 on aggregate. A second place in the Eredivisie of 1999 guaranteed the club a UEFA Champions League berth for the first time. At the tournament's group stage, Willem only attained two points in their six group G matches and were thus eliminated. After reaching the KNVB Cup final in 2005 where they lost 4–0 against PSV Eindhoven, Willem II again qualified again for the UEFA Cup, in which they lost to French side AS Monaco in the first round by 5–1 on aggregate.[1]

At the end of the 2010–11 season, Willem II were relegated from the Eredivisie for the first time in 24 years. In the 2011–12 season under new manager Jurgen Streppel Willem II was promoted back to the Eredivisie, but they went right back down the next season after finishing bottom of the table. The club became champions of the Eerste Divisie in the subsequent season and were thus promoted back to the Eredivisie.[1]

In early 2015, journalists at De Volkskrant revealed that Willem II had its matches fixed by an "Asian gambling syndicate", who had paid Willem's players a total sum of €100,000 to lose matches against Ajax and Feyenoord (in October and December 2009). According to the journalists, midfielder Ibrahim Kargbo was the Asians' main contact within the club; Kargbo denies having accepted their money.[1][2] The Royal Dutch Football Association called the affair "the most concrete case of match fixing in the Netherlands" and took legal action as well as asking UEFA and FIFA to reevaluate previous matches.[3]

In 2019, Willem II reached the KNVB Cup Final for the fourth time in their history. They beat AZ Alkmaar in the semi-finals after a penalty shoot-out, but were defeated by in the final by AFC Ajax.

The fans of Willem II have close links with the fans of English championship club Bristol City. Willem supporters have been known to travel to Bristol, with Bristol City fans heading the other way to Tilburg. At Bristol City's game on 31 October 2009 against Sheffield Wednesday, some Willem II fans were seen in the 'Eastend' of the Ashton Gate Stadium, and songs were sung about Willem II by City fans.[4][5]

Rivalries[edit]

Willem II longest-running and deepest rivalry is with their nearest neighbour,NAC Breda. This rivalry originated in the 1920s. Matches between the two are referred to as the derby of Brabant. The two cities of Breda and Tilburg are just 20 kilometres apart, leading to an intense feeling of a cross-town rivalry, heightened by a feeling that it is city against city with local pride at stake. The cities differ culturally where Breda is considered a working class city and Tilburg is considered more elitist. This is also apparent from the fact that Willem II is named after a Dutch king.

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 13 January 2023

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Greece GRE Kostas Lamprou
3 DF Netherlands NED Freek Heerkens (2nd captain)
4 DF Netherlands NED Erik Schouten
5 DF Belgium BEL Thibaut Lesquoy
6 DF Netherlands NED Wessel Dammers
7 FW Belgium BEL Elton Kabangu
8 MF Spain ESP Pol Llonch (captain)
9 FW Netherlands NED Jizz Hornkamp
10 MF Belgium BEL Matthias Verreth
11 FW Sweden SWE Max Svensson
13 DF Netherlands NED Leeroy Owusu
14 FW Netherlands NED Joeri Schroyen
No. Pos. Nation Player
16 MF Netherlands NED Ringo Meerveld
18 FW Democratic Republic of the Congo COD Jeremy Bokila
20 DF Netherlands NED Valentino Vermeulen
21 GK Netherlands NED Joshua Smits
22 MF Netherlands NED Wesley Spieringhs
23 FW Netherlands NED Michael de Leeuw
24 GK Netherlands NED Connor van den Berg
25 DF Netherlands NED Lucas Woudenberg
27 MF Netherlands NED Dani Mathieu
29 MF Netherlands NED Thijs Oosting
32 MF Netherlands NED Jesse Bosch
37 FW Netherlands NED Nick Doodeman

Notable players[edit]

The players below had senior international cap(s) for their respective countries. Players whose name is listed represented their countries while playing for Willem II.

Domestic results[edit]

17
1
16
8
10
8
15
10
1
10
18
4
14
6
14
15
14
18
14
9
11
7
3
8
10
14
14
17
8
4
2
4
15
13
11
12
10
8
7
12
15
5
2
9
8
11
11
7
10
17
15
15
12
17
18
5
18
1
9
16
13
13
10
5
14
17
57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Eredivisie*
Eerste divisie

relegation
promotion

Below is a table with Willem II's domestic results since the introduction of the Eredivisie in 1956.

Club Officials[edit]

Position Staff
Manager Vacant
Assistant Managers Netherlands Reinier Robbemond
Goalkeeper Coach Netherlands Peter den Otter
Video Analyst Netherlands Rick Mennes
Chief Scout Netherlands Steven Aptroot
Club Doctor Netherlands Jan de Waal Malefijt
Netherlands Pieter Vioen
Physiotherapist Netherlands Gijs van der Bom
Team official Netherlands Henry van Amelsfort
Manager Netherlands Jos de Kruif
Team Manager Netherlands Jos van Nieuwstadt
Kit Manager Netherlands Paul Coenhorst
Performance Manager Netherlands Nils Thörner
Technical Director Netherlands Teun Jacobs

Coaches[edit]

Honours[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Historisch Overzicht". Willem-ii.nl.
  2. ^ "Goksyndicaat fixte duels Willem II" [Gambling syndicate fixed Willem II matches]. de Volkskrant. 17 January 2015.
  3. ^ "KNVB: meest concrete zaak tot nu toe" [Royal Dutch Football Association: most concrete case so far]. NOS. 17 January 2015.
  4. ^ "The club named after a king!". CCFC.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Video: Dutch fans pay emotional tribute to Bristol City supporter Mark Saunders". Bristol Post.co.uk.
  6. ^ a b c "Feiten En Trivia". Willem-ii.nl (in Dutch).

External links[edit]