Behind the scenes at ADO Den Haag
Official supporters club chairman; Dennis de Bruijn
Dennis de Bruijn; 37 years old and was born and raised in The Hague. Dennis has been following ADO Den Haag for twenty eight years.
“I really loved the Zuiderpark stadium. I grew up there, my history is there. I grew up with my parents and with my football club. My feelings are for the old stadium, not the new one, it is not home for me.”
In the new Kyocera stadium Dennis sits in many different places but can now usually be found sitting in the comfortable, soft business seats in the main stand.
“I sit there now because of my connections with the club and it is easier for me to meet up with people from different departments of the club before and after the game if necessary.”
Dennis wanted to tell me more about his involvement with the club and the fans.
“I started with helping supporters back in 1999, I met up with Koos Roeg who was doing a lot for the supporters and we started to work together. We were organising the trip to away games. Then in around 2001 we elected a group of people and we started the official supporters club. We got together with the club, the security and police and other organisations like that so we could arrange good things for the supporters. It really started in 2001 with our first Fanzine. Koos then got a job working with the club, so we started working alone. Having a good relationship with Koos at the club has been very good for us; I have known him now for around fourteen years, since the days ADO were in the second division.”
In 2012 FAN SUPPORT celebrated their ten year anniversary; this is a separate group from the official supporters club, but one which is also associated with the fan club. In its beginnings it was just by the fans for the fans, but as of 2001 it came under the wing of the official fan club of ADO Den Haag. They have input with the club on many issues, security, atmosphere actions amongst others.
“I like what I do for the club. The people I grew up with know what I do, we have a history together and they know I do only good things for their club. You always have to be reasonable, and if sometimes people have gone onto the pitch, we have to say it is not a good thing. It is bad for the club. We never forget were we are all from; it is our club, a peoples club. If you do something wrong, to hurt the club, people must take their punishment. I see our group at the official fan club as a go between for the club and its supporters. Sometime we have to yes you were right, other times we say no, you were wrong, but we will always help you no matter what. When you need to be punished, you should be punished fairly, at times the people of the club have tried to punish people too hard. Now things are changed, there are more punishments for lesser things, but the punishments are now usually fair and nobody complains too much when they know they were wrong.”
It is a busy position for Dennis, as he said it is ok for club directors etc. At the end of the day it is a business for them, they go home and relax. When Denis is at home he gets lots of calls and e-mails from fans asking for help and information. He loves doing this.
“I am a fan, I am with the fans, the fans know me and I know them, we are a group who love our football team. It is a love, a passion and it means for me I am busy with ADO almost everyday, that plus my normal daily stuff. We are always on duty, you can call us, text us 24/7. It is a full-time job. When I go into the city I meet people and they always want to ask me something about the club. It is hard, but enjoyable too. It is difficult at times, when everything is going well on the pitch and for the supporters, you never hear anything, but if the club or I make a mistake, I get hundreds of messages with angry people, but this is The Hague way, so I know what to expect.”
There are roughly five thousand members of the official fan club. You automatically become a member if you have a season ticket. Being a member entitles you to four fanzines a season, all of which are produced by the fans themselves. If you are not a season ticket holder, you can pay 10 Euros to join the club. Club membership also gives you a 10% discount in the fan shop. The club also organises other events for supporters away from football, such as Christmas parties and a Queens Day market at the stadium: A lot of things to get the bond of fan and club to grow stronger.
“Our next event is on March 22nd in the club supporters home, the MFC. We are having a Haagse Feest. (Hague Party) Last year it was very good, a lot of fun and everybody wants to do it again. It is like a giant Karaoke night. We all sing traditional Hague songs like Oh Oh Den Haag. There is food and drink and it is a good atmosphere there.”
I would like to thank Dennis again for meeting me and telling me of his love for the club and his roll as chairman of the official supporters club.