ADO Den Haag has a strong support within the local community. They are not a club that attracts the attention of foreign press or the money of passing spectators visiting the Netherlands. The club is deeply valued and loved by those in the local areas. It is such a shame that others do not visit out local team as the hospitality and friendship of the club is outstanding towards visitors from abroad and the fans from foreign clubs.
There is a strong friendship with fans of ADO with other clubs, the strongest bonds being with Legia Warsaw, Club Bruges, Juventus and Swansea City.
This article concentrates on the friendship between ADO and Swansea City of Wales. This is a long standing friendship that began way back in 1979. A young ADO fan called John van Zweden wrote to the Swansea club asking for penpals to write to, so he could improve his English skills. Penpals were found and friendships formed which still exist today. As John grew older he travelled to Swansea to meet his friends and go to watch Swansea City, i return his friends visited The Hague.
Later in life John became a very successful businessman in The Hague and when Swansea were in dire financial difficulties, he put his money in his pocket and invested heavily in the club, saving it from possible collapse. John is now a director of the club and the bond between the clubs has grown ever stronger with fans visiting each other on numerous occasions.
John van Zweden (L) with Play-off trophy
When Swansea got to the play-off final last year against Reading at Wembley: John made sure that 400 tickets were made available tlo supporters from ADO to attend the game, a game they won to join the English Premier league (EPL)
A while back, some Swansea fans came to The Hague to watch the ADO v Excelsior game. I tagged along to see just how friendly this relationship is. I met up with two of them, Andy Jones and his son Ryan. Andy had visited ADO many times and knew a few ADO supporters, but it was his sons first visit.
I met Andy at his hotel where he was meeting another fan from ADO. Andy was already happy with his treatment; as someone had already picked him up from the airport and droped him off at his hotel. From his hotel we went into the city centre where some posing with a Swansea flag was done before going to a bar.
Andy & Ryan centre in The Hague
In the bar more and more ADO supporters turned up and giving Andy and his son a great welcome, lots of hugs and handshakes all around. From the one bar they all went to another where they met with more fans and it was great to see the welcome given to the Swansea fans.
Andy & Ryan in a pub full of ADO friends
They were then driven to the Kyocera Stadion and taken to the front of the queue to enter the North Side of the stadium. The Welsh lads were invited to go and join the hardcore of support in the Midden Noord and treated with great respect, all making sure Ryan was ok.
After the game they were taken into the MFC (Multi Functional Centrum) supporters club outside the stadium. They had to pay for nothing and had to wait for nothing, even to the point of being escorted to the toilets. The Hague supporters making their Welsh guests feel very honoured.
After they had finished at the club bar they were driven back to their hotel and invited out for drinks into the city, but as Ryan is only 14, the offers had to be refused. By the end of the trip Andy and Ryan had been given, stickers, t-shirts and scarves as souvenirs of their trip.
Andy on the Midden Noord
I saw Andy and Ryan on the Sunday afternoon and asked them how they felt about it all. They were dead impressed and very thankful to everybody they had met. As we spoke he received many text messages wishing him well and a safe journey home from The Hague supporters. They both said more return trips to watch ADO would be coming up.
This trip is returned when ADO fans travel to Swansea games. The Welsh lads looking out for them and making sure everything runs smoothly for their visits. It is a friendship with a strong footballing bond that is going to last for many years to come. All thanks to John van Zweden and his Penpals.
Finally here are a few words from the man who started all the ADO and Swansea friendship.
My feelings about the ADO / Swansea link.
I am very pleased that the relationship between the two clubs is so strong. Nearly every Swansea City home game you can find Den Haag fans, and very often we can welcome Jacks over to Den Haag. It is a very strong relationship for almost 35 years.
I am very proud when I am at our Kyocera stadium when I see the Railway Inn Swansea flag or other Swansea City flags, or the permanent signs with the Swansea badge above Vakkie D. It is similar when I am in the Liberty stadium when I see all those Swansea / Den Haag scarves with friends for ever written on them, it is unbelievable.
The rest of the board can’t understand why there are so many Dutch Swans fans. I told them Swansea is so unbelievable popular in our country, especially in Den Haag.
Proud; that is what I am. Premier League !!!
Long may it continue.
John van Zweden.
Swansea City A.F.C. Director.