Israel about Feyenoord reunion from 1970: ‘We had a great period’
They talked endlessly, while reminiscing about a distant past. The Feyenoord players who won the European Cup in 1970 met in Rotterdam a day before the second ever match against Celtic. Both teams will face each other in the Champions League tonight in De Kuip.
They are a bit more fragile than 53 years ago, when Feyenoord was the first Dutch club to win the European Cup. The favorite Celtic were defeated 2-1 at San Siro, thanks to goals from Rinus Israël and, deep in extra time, Ove Kindvall. But ask them about that May day in 1970 and their eyes start to twinkle.
“Of course it is great to see each other again,” says former defender Israel. “We had a very nice period together at Feyenoord. A great period.”
He is now 81 years old, Iron Rinus. “We have come to an age where we have to speak very loudly if we want to understand each other,” he says with some self-mockery.
The team of 1970 is no longer complete. Theo Laseroms (1991), Coen Moulijn (2011), Eddy Pieters Graafland (2020) and Wim Jansen (2022) have now passed away. Some widows are present. Willem van Hanegem had to cancel the reunion and Kindvall stayed in Sweden for health reasons.
But the other five basic players will be there on Monday afternoon in Het Zalmhuis, diagonally under the Van Brienenoord Bridge. Franz Hasil (79) came from Austria. Israel is there, just like Piet Romeijn (84), Theo van Duivenbode (79) and Henk Wery (80).
For the occasion, Romeijn wears a necklace that he received from the club after winning the European Cup. “250,000 people came to the ceremony. Great, of course,” the right back reminisces.
“But the most special thing for me was that the Celtic supporters stood in rows clapping at our hotel in Italy before we went home the morning after the final. I thought that was really nice.”
Romeijn: ‘I still go to Feyenoord every home match, but I’m the only one’
Israel makes another striking revelation about the success team: “We were not all good friends.”
“But when we were on the field, everyone knew what to do. We had all types of players in the team. Technically skilled players, physically strong players, players who saw the game well. It was a balanced team.”
Well on the way
Nowadays they rarely see each other. “I still go to De Kuip every home match,” says Romeijn. “But I’m the only one left there, you won’t see anyone else anymore. Unfortunately.”
On Tuesday evening, Feyenoord will save a spot in the grandstand for the heroes of 1970. Israel has high expectations for the Champions League match.
“Feyenoord is doing very well this season. They have attracted good players. Among the top Dutch clubs, Feyenoord is now in very good shape.”
The post first appeared on nos.nl