6th of August 2005
Pre- Season friendly
AZ Alkmaar - Sunderland
score: 0-1 (52' min Tommy Miller 0-1)
6th of August 2005.
After a couple of quiet years we were pretty excited by the news that Sunderland came back to Holland again for a pre-season friendly. And the times before they chose their opponents from the "far" south of Holland. But now it looked almost like a home game for us. They came to Alkmaar! This was AZ Alkmaar's last season in their old stadium Alkmaarder Hout and we wanted to be part of that. Around noon a Hillegom delegation (Pep, Gup, Octo, Peur, Klaas and Nick) left by train and in Alkmaar they would meet up with Paddy (Utrecht) and Edgar (Etten Leur). Ofcourse we went straight into Alkmaar town centre to see if there was more red/white army around. But as expected, there weren't many. There were only a few because most of them decided to stay in Amsterdam and have a couple of beers there and head just before kick-off straight to the ground. We found a nice pub on the middle of the centre square in Alkmaar. The weather was good, so we stayed outside. There were more Sunderland supporters arriving, and they all picked out the big square for their pre-match drinks. There was also another group of Dutch Sunderland supporters sitting next to us. They were led by a Feyenoord supporter who visits the Stadium of Light very often. When I went to a couple of derby games in the Stadium of Light, I had spotted a St. George's Cross flag with the Feyenoord crest in it. We chatted for a while and we were amazed to hear from each other about our love for Sunderland…. After a while the sponsor of Hillegom 5 Janinho arrived. He lives around Alkmaar (Noord Scharwoude) and brought his son Jaydon with him. He also enjoyed a couple of beers and around 6 PM we headed for a snackbar. Janinho headed home and we were followed by a couple of hungry English Sunderland supporters. Well, they couldn't believe what they saw in the snackbar. What is a "kroket" or a "frikandel", a "bamibal" or a "nasischijf"? A "sateetje", "slaatje", "berehap", "mexicano", "pikanto" they had never heard of this before. Most of them just had French fries with a "safe" hamburger. But one of them decided to have a "kalfskroket" (we told him to) and he loved it!
Then we walked to the Hout. It was a long walk, but the weather was good, so worth it. We arrived on time and we went into the away area (Jonathan had arranged our tickets again) and we enjoyed the red and white tops, the flags and banners and the chanting ("my garden shed, is bigger than this…."). Straight before the kick-off we bumped into Brian and Eileen who were even surprised to see us here! As expected they arrived from Amsterdam and the were heading straight back to Amsterdam after the match. We heared that most of the Sunderland supporters would do the same, so we were in doubt again.
The match started and both teams were a bit even. There were some great chances on both sides of the pitch and on our side behind the goal we saw a brilliant safe from Sunderland's goalkeeper Kelvin Davis as he punched out an Arveladze chance. Half-time score was 0-0, but it sure was a nice game to watch. In the second half Sunderland attacked the goal where the visiting supporters were seated and they rewarded their visit with a goal. Stead controlled the ball wel and passed it wide to Whitehead. He sent in a low cross and Tommy Miller tapped the 0-1 in. A great goal and the 400 Sunderland supporters sang their hearts out for the Lads. (click here to see a photo of Brian, Eileen, Nick, Peur, Klaas, Octo and Pep celebrate after the goal on the front page of the Sunderland Echo) After this there were some chances on both sides, but there were no goals scored so we finally saw a win again on Dutch ground.
We walked back to the town centre (that was where the train left from as well) and we decided not to go to Amsterdam. It was not on the train-route of Paddy and Edgar, so we went into a pub in Alkmaar where we saw some red and white stripes inside. Of course this was the pub closest to the ground. We had another couple of beers to celebrate the win and then we headed back home by train. End of a nice day with a great result...
(written by Nick)