The History of ADO Den Haag
ADO (Alles Door Oefening = Everything through practice) was founded on February 1st, 1905 in the cafe “Het Hof van Berlijn” in The Hague. Today the cafe no longer exists but at the time was owned by the father of one of the players (Jan van Gulik) who initiated the foundation of the club. The players were boys who played football after school at the foot of the Haagsche Toren. In those days football was a sport officially played by boys from the upper classes but eventually popularity reached all levels in the community.
In 1906-1907 ADO existed on paper only because default of payment of its members made the club financially lame. However, as time passed the club grew stronger and even managed to win its first championship in the 1907-1908 season, the 3rd division of The Hague Football Association. After the second win of this championship in the following season ADO jumped from the 3rd to the 1st division.\In 1911-1912 they were promoted to the 3rd division proper of the Netherlands Football Association.
On October 18th, 1925 the Zuiderpark stadium was officially opened and would remain ADO’s home ground until 2007. The grounds included an education center, De Aftrap (=the Kick off), for young football players which still exists at its premises today.
After the Second World War ADO, and other Dutch teams, lost many of their talented players to professional French and German football clubs. To stop this exodus ADO decided in 1954 to become a professional club instead of remaining amateurs. This was easier said than done as the Dutch football, unlike other European countries, had not yet been professionalized. It took some persuading by several Dutch clubs to convince the Dutch Football League to modernize as they were inclined to maintain amateurism, eventually though, sense was seen and the first professional football season in The Netherlands kicked off on November 28th in 1954.
The Zuiderpark stadium was then renovated in 1957 and the accomodation was extended to 19.000 seats.
FC Den Haag
The Municipality of The Hague suggested a merger between ADO and Holland Sport, another team based in The Hague playing in the Premier League. This was an emotional time for the supporters of both clubs.
The Municipality was willing to subsidize a substantial amount to found a base for the new club to compete at European level. Thus FC Den Haag was founded on July 1st, 1971.
Changes at the top
The merger caused a generation of boardmembers to leave despite their succesful management of the club. Their successors faced a hard task as the circumstances in professional football were getting worse. The financial difference between top clubs and the rest was growing. Besides that, FC The Hague was seriously confronted with football vandalism. In 1982 a number of supporters set fire to the grandstand because of their dissatisfaction with the impending relegation to the first division. Unfortunately, this downward spiral became reality. Only major investments would be able to regain territory that was lost during the business-like growth of professional football. This led to the formation of a professional junior football academy in 1984.
In the late eighties FC Den Haag’s chairman, who was also its major investor, withdrew from the club and the new board was unable to support the club neither financially nor sporting-wise. Another relegation into the first division was the result.
In the summer of 1994 the club faced an enormous debt and nearly went bankrupt. A local businessman together with a representative of the Municipality did their utmost to save the club from going-under and lose its license for professional football.
Their efforts finally paid off. The debts were purged and the club started from scratch. In the 1994-1995 season the club missed out on promotion by just one solitary point. Because of this succes, many of FC Den Haag’s players were bought by other clubs. With this financial input the debts were halved but unfortunately the players that left were dearly missed in the on-coming season, when FC Den Haag finished 15th in the first division. The lowest point in the club’s sporting history.
On July 1st, 1996 the HSV ADO Association and the Foundation FC Den Haag merged into Haaglandsche Football Club “ADO Den Haag”. With it came a new kit and a new manager.
The improved financial situation meant investments were possible to undertake much needed improvements and security measures of the stadium. In 1998 the stadium had been partially privatized. The club realized its plans gradually. Because of the large difference in finances between first division and Premier League clubs, ADO Den Haag kept losing their best players to Premier League teams.
There was a need for extending the financial and commercial footing as a necessity to compete with the top Premier League clubs. For this purpose a separate public entity was founded in 1999, known as NV ADO Den Haag. Any funds going into this public entity could be used to finance the football club.
On April 2nd, 1999 the modern business lounge at Zuiderpark stadium was opened. The club was now aiming more at local businesses for support. During a gala in June 2000 plans were revealed to build a new stadium on the outskirts of The Hague next to the major traffic routes. The Municipality was leading this proposal and helped ADO in many ways to move to the new stadium as a Premier League club.
Before the last home match of the 2003/2004 season the new club logo was presented. The circular logo with the black stork was replaced by a green/yellow striped “English” shield with a white stork.
With its up-coming centennial in 2005 ADO Den Haag introduced both a centennial logo and kit. This logo incorporates all the previous logo’s the club has known.
Besides the sporting goals the club’s main interest was its centennial celebration with a jubilee DVD, a grand gala and the jubilee match against West Ham United as its pinnacles. In many other ways the great history of the club was being highlighted throughout this year.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the new stadium also took place in 2005, on November 23rd.
For its Farewell Season, when ADO Den Haag would leave its homeground at Zuiderpark, a special logo was introduced.
The last match at Zuiderpark stadium on April 22nd 2007 should have been a celebratory event. Unfortunately, the match against FC Groningen ends in chaos. With ADO Den Haag 0-3 behind, the match is stopped in the 49th minute because fireworks were being thrown on the pitch repeatedly. Hence, the drama of the 2006/2007 season was complete.
The 2007/2008 season opened with one of the clubs greatest highlights. On Saturday July 27th, 2007 the spectacular opening of the new stadium was celebrated, only to be followed by yet another turbulent football season.
Now at home in the newly sponsored Kyocera Stadion, ADO have continued to grow financially into one of the better run clubs in the Netherlands.
In the season of 2010-2011 ADO managed to get into the play-offs and after a nail biting win on penalties qualified for the UEFA Europa League. ADO’s first European qualification for twenty four years.
This time as in the 1995 season, ADO players were on a lot of clubs shopping lists, only this time around, ADO were in the position to withstand the temptation to sell their star players. The future is looking good at ADO Den Haag.