ROTTERDAM - Sparta can call itself the first Rotterdam champion of the Eredivisie. After the victory at DWS in Amsterdam (0-4) the team can no longer be traced by competitor Rapid JC. In Rotterdam, the team was awaited by certain 15.000 supporters on the Coolsingel.

The Sparta players returned around a quarter past eight Rotterdam after the successful match in the Olympic Stadium. Standing there many supporters have been waiting for hours on the Coolsingel.

“The thousands gave their champions an ovation, which must have been audible far into Rotterdam ”

(Het Vrije Volk, 19-05-1959)

Led by the PTT harmony, the procession of cars moved and supporters towards the party location. The players sat in an open carriage was pulled by four horses.

“Hundreds of youthful supporters with red and white umbrellas, Sparta balloons and all kinds of devices that produced a rattling sound surrounded the procession that drove past thick hedges of spectators to the Riviera hall. ”

(Het Vrije Volk, 19-05-1959)

The only side note was that it was so busy around Spartas champion procession, that the police had to divert traffic.

Wonderful match

All ingredients were present this afternoon at Amsterdam a great match. The sun shone on this Second Whitsun and from Rotterdam there were around 50 buses to the capital traveled along. Around the 5.000 Spartan supporters sat in the Olympic Stadium.

DWS started the game strong and the leader came long time not through. The team from Amsterdam even almost took the lead, but Klaas Smit's goal was rejected, because he's Sparta goalkeeper Andries from Dijk with the ball and all pushed over the goal line.

But after half an hour, the game turned and Sparta came on lead through a free kick from Ad Verhoeven. He had to be replaced moments later turn into, after sustaining a head injury.

In the second half, the team from Rotterdam finished the job. Joop Daniëls scored two goals. At the time, much of the Rotterdam supporters can hardly be kept anymore.

“There were twenty minutes left to play in the Olympic Stadium, even then many hundreds of young Sparta supporters could no longer control their great joy and they began to climb over the fences in large numbers. It was kindly admitted by the capital's attendants. ”

(Het Vrije Volk, 19-05-1959)

When Wim van der Gijp was fourth a few minutes later Rotterdam goal headed in, there was no stopping it.

“The hundreds rushed into the field enthusiastically to take the players on their shoulders. Even goalkeeper Andries van Dijk was taken out of his goal. For minutes the crowd hosted across the field, while the spectators in the stands enjoyed themselves particularly with this spectacle ”

(Het Vrije Volk, 19-05-1959)

Referee Aalbrecht from Hoek van Holland saw it all with sadness. But after a few minutes he thought it was enough (the match had to be played out of course!) and blew his whistle. The supporters on the field got the hint and quickly got off the field.

A few minutes later it was definitely over and the spectators were able to take possession of the field again. The Sparta players were literally adored towards the dressing rooms. Even Sparta-piet the canary / mascot of Sparta had been spotted on the field.

According to the Telegraaf, the party was partly interrupted by "boo" from the home crowd.


Sparta has made a strong impression all season. The team has been at the top of the Eredivisie continuously since October. After the win in Amsterdam, the lead on pursuer Rapid JC is six points. Fortuna’54 follows on nine points.

The team lost only twice this season (against MVV and Fortuna) and had the best goal difference by far. On average, the team conceded less than one goal per game.

Top scorer with the Spartans was Joop Daniëls with 22 goals. Then Tonny van Ede follows with 18 goals. Both have two more games to boost that number.

The Championship in the Eredvisie is Sparta's fifth national championship. The last time was in 1915.

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After the match Sparta coach Dennis praised Neville the quality of his team. “At the start of the season we hadn't really thought of a championship at all ”, says the British trainer in almost accent-free Dutch in front of the cameras of the television.

“But every game was important to us. We compete every match to get a good result. And I was lucky, with a good team this year. ”

(Trainer Dennis Neville, 18-05-1959)

The mentality of the players was one of the important factors which, according to Neville, made the difference. “There is a great team spirit with the boys ”, he says with a laugh. “But without a doubt, we also got it right played football and that is of course also my goal. ”

According to captain Tonny van Ede, he has "now experienced everything" at the club. It is the third championship in ten years. In addition, Sparta took the KNVB cup last season. “Ja, it's nice this way ”, he also says with a broad smile.

Van Ede: “But I have also been through the bad years. In 1947 we almost relegated to the second division. Then I was so lucky to score the winning goal in the match against ZFC in Zaandam, which kept us for the first class.”

Has thus reached the top for the Spartans? Nee, Neville thinks. There is still more to get out of the team, says the Briton. “Of course we always strive to build up. This is not the end, this is just the beginning. ”

Hoe ging het verder?

Without a doubt it was the national championship 1959 it sporting highlight of Sparta. That further expansion did not really work, because the Spartans finished only seventh the following season, with sixteen points behind champion Ajax.

The European Season, which followed the national championship was a success. In the first round, Sparta eliminated IFK Götenborg. Afterwards followed in the quarterfinals (there weren't that many rounds) Glasgow Rangers. In Rotterdam, with 2-3 lost, but in Ibrox Sparta won surprising with 0-1. As a result, a playoff was needed. The match (in Highbury, London) went with 3-2 lost. Yet never before had a Dutchman come this far in the European Cup 1 like Sparta.

Unfortunately, the top results lagged behind. The team won in 1962 en 1966 twice the cup. In the regular season, however, the team stayed always sticking in the sub top.

Flamboyant trainer Neville stayed on for another four seasons (so eight in total) involved in Sparta. He switched a few years later to SHS (the later Holland Sport) in the First Division. In 1964 he kicked it even became national coach.

In 1978 he also became trainer of an amateur club for a short time TOGB in Berkel en Rodenrijs. He died in 1995 in Rotterdam. One of the Sparta stands are named after the trainer.

Tonny van Ede left Sparta at about the same time. The then 39-year-old player took a step back and went to play football at Hermes DVS in the Second Division. After his career he also went to work as a trainer amateur football. He too was given a grandstand named after himself. That happened in 2008. That same year, he was included in a list of best Sparta players on the put in second place, after Bok de Korver. Van Ede died in 2011 in Zwijndrecht.


There is another separate issue about the party in the Rivièrahal story. During the party, trainer Dennis Neville even got on a camel put, but exactly how that came about, remains a big mystery. Most newspapers do not report anything about it.

It is remarkable that this can also be seen as the first ceremony on the Coolsingel. The team was admittedly not on the steps of the town hall, but the revelry was no less.


Het Vrije Volk – 19-05-1959 – Sparta-elf carried around in triumph after fourth goal

Het Parool – 19-05-1959 – Partying residents of Rotterdam take possession of the Olympic Stadium

Author: Dave Datema

published: 17-05-2019

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