On Sunday afternoon, during the home match against FC Utrecht, the vilified supporters of ADO Den Haag showed what true and loyal fans they are.
Besides the football, the most important event of the day was the tributes to be paid to Silvio Roosa. The man was true legend of FC Den Haag support, as many of the older fans still prefer to call the club. He passed away suddenly and it was a shock to all that knew him.
The events following his death showed what a true peoples club ADO Den Haag is. The supporters and club got together to honour Silvio the best way they could. The club even asking the KNVB (Dutch F.A.) if it would be possible to break a few standard rules, like allowing fireworks to be taken into the stands, and to allow some previously banned supporters into the stadium so they too could show their respects to a friend. ADO’s requests were unfortunately turned down; this was a shame considering the circumstances. The club and fans still came to an agreement which was a compromise for all involved.
There has been much made in the past of ADO’s hooligan problem. An issue I am asked about on a regular basis. I have done radio interviews a few times and have talked about the safety of the new Kyocera stadium, yet they still go on about ADO’s hooligans and how dangerous it is to go to matches. I now refuse to do these interviews as they only seem to want to drag ADO down into its past.
The people who question ADO’s support should have been in the stadium on Sunday to witness the emotion, thought and camaraderie that was there for all to see.
The club had allowed a lot of fans from the Midden Noord stand to come onto the field of play before kick-off. The fans walked around the perimeter of the field and were warmly applauded by every area they passed. As the teams came onto the pitch before kick-off, the fans on the pitch lit fireworks that bellowed green and yellow smoke around the stadium.
What followed was very moving. Fans around the stadium sang loud the football anthem of “You’ll never walk alone.” The fans chanted Silvio’s name and applauded for a prolonged period of time. As the game began an area opened up in the centre of the Midden Noord. At a set signal a huge banner was unfurled which was emblazoned with an image of Silvio and the words: “Silvio Roosa. 05-05-1960 – 12-10-2012 Legends keep the North Side alive” A fitting tribute to a true supporter of the club. As the fans again chanted his name they released many white doves into the stadium, an action which caused my tears to fall around the stadium, a very moving moment.
Whilst writing of the magnificent behaviour by the ADO fans, a special mention must also go to the travelling fans of FC Utrecht. This is another club which is tarnished in the press about their fans behaviour. It was known that fans from ADO had been in touch with fans of Utrecht asking them to respect the memorial, they agreed to this, but you never know until the day itself.
The fans of FC Utrecht surpassed themselves. During the memorial by the ADO fans, the away support also sang Silvio’s name loudly and joined in the applause. Then to the amazement of many, a few of their fans climbed onto the top of the security glass and unfolded a large black flag with the words “R.I.P. Silvio, Bunnik side Utrecht.” This show of support drew a fantastic response from all ADO fans in the stadium. The Midden Noord chanting its appreciation “Utrecht bedankt!”
This is the message I want to put across to football fans in the region of The Hague. The fans of ADO Den Haag are not mindless, blood thirty, violent thugs! They are football supporters, who love their club and love those who support their club. I have been covering ADO for four years now and not once have I seen any incidents of trouble either home or away. They have supported fans and families of the sick and those who have passed away. Not only ADO fans, they have also shown their support for fans of other clubs who have been through bad times with illness etc. The fans of ADO are a great bunch. I have got to know some of them well over the years and they say they would like more fans to come from the expat community in The Hague.
The Kyocera is a super safe stadium, ranked to be the highest category by UEFA. The place always has a great atmosphere. The fan areas of the Midden Noord and Vak G are getting a nation wide reputation for their fan displays.
So I finish with this. Ignore what you see in the press about how dangerous ADO is to visit. They have had to increase the family section this season as more children wanted to go. So if families want to take their kids to games, why would you feel it was unsafe to go aswel? If you have doubts, please feel free to contact me and I will easily arrange for a group of expats to go in a group, so you too can enjoy the atmosphere of a great local club.
I think Silvio would be proud of his fellow supporters after the memorial. He was proud of his team and his city. You should feel the same. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL TEAM!!!
Rest in Peace Silvio