ALKMAAR - The brand new AZ'67 player Willem van Hanegem has incited the anger of a large part of the police officers in the Netherlands. The midfielder made Sparta after the game – AZ’67 (1-1) the comment "I had the condition of a police officer". A Rotterdam police officer feels so attacked by the comment, that he challenged the former Feyenoord player to a running race.

The remark clearly went wrong for the Rotterdam municipal police. Officers have now challenged "De Kromme" to an endurance run of ten kilometers.

On behalf of the police, the Rotterdam agent Goedgebuur will do the honors. An adjutant of the police sports bureau asked him if he dared to challenge Van Hanegem for a long distance run through the Kralingse Bos in front of the rotating cameras of the TROS.. Goedgebuur immediately said yes.

Willem van Hanegem has responded in a sporty manner to the Rotterdam challenge. "I still have some things to arrange in Alkmaar", he announced in the Telegraph. “But let the officers train in the Kralingse Bos. I will certainly let you know when the ten kilometer race can be run. ”

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Van Hanegem's comment came after an eventful debut by the AZ novice in the away game against Sparta. The match at a sold-out Castle (24.000 spectators) ended in 1-1.

Van Hanegem, who unexpectedly left Feyenoord this summer, was emphatically in the spotlight in Rotterdam-Spangen, but was unable to make a positive impression on the game. "My condition was no better than that of a police officer", was Van Hanegem's apology after the match.

"What do you want? In recent weeks I have only been able to train a few times at an amateur club. In between, I tried it on my own and none of that was beneficial to my playing level. ”

(Willem van Hanegem, Het Vrije Volk, 23-08-1976)

Van Hanegem was emphatically present in his first game for his new employer, but he was particularly notable for his serious offenses. It was a small miracle that he was allowed to remain on the field after charges on the broken-through Henny Michielsen. The violations against Adri van Staveren and Terry Lees were also serious.

Yet Van Hanegem only disappeared with "yellow’ in the referee's booklet. That card can also give him a suspension of several games, because Van Hanegem still had a conditional suspension open from his Feyenoord time. That could mean that Van Hanegem will remain in the game for two to four games.

Willem van Hanegem
Willem van Hanegem in his Hitachi shirt. Foto: Rob Croes, National Archives / Anefo

Hoe ging het verder?

Ultimately, the endurance run will never come. Initially, Van Hanegem still reacts quite positively to the Rotterdam challenge, but after a few days little of it remains. In a column in the Parool, Van Hanegem says a few days later

“Police officers from Hendrik Ido Ambacht, my former residence, where I still play my game of tennis, have warned me that the Rotterdam neighborhood police officer who challenged me for one 10 km run in the Kralingse Bos is not a local police officer at all. First, he's not a cop, but brigadier. Second, he has no neighborhood at all ”

(Willem van Hanegem, password, 28-08-1976)

According to Van Hanegem, the man is a sports instructor and in any case is in "excellent condition". According to the midfielder, "the local police officer wants to do something to him".

After that, it remains silent for over a month. If the NRC Handelsblad asks about the challenge in October, there will be an answer. AZ has put a stop to the endurance run. They feared a disappointment for their newly contracted top player for the rotating television cameras.

There was still talk of a new appointment: an endurance run of less than ten, only two kilometers. In addition, the two runners would start at the same time and cross the finish line at the same time, where the camera crew is waiting.

The police force calls the proposal a "charade". The counter-proposal was then rejected. After that, AZ pulled the plug on the entire challenge.

Yet "the condition of a local police officer" is something you occasionally hear on and around the football fields.

Van Hanegem eventually played for AZ’67 for three seasons. He played 80 matches and scored 13 goals. He also won the KNVB cup with the Alkmaarders. Then he left for the United States, played at FC Utrecht for another two years, to then end his career at Feyenoord.


TVNZ – 23-08-1976 – Wim van Hanegem makes an eventful debut at AZ

Trouw – 23-08-1976 – Yellow card in game against Sparta will cost new AZ star a number of duels

Het Vrije Volk – 23-08-1976 – Neighborhood police officer

Het Parool – 24-08-1976 – Willem

De Volkskrant – 24-08-1976 – Condition test Van Hanegem and policeman

The Telegraph – 24-08-1976 – Neighborhood police invite "De Kromme’ out for test

Het Parool – 28-08-1976 – Neighborhood cop wants "cops’

TVNZ – 04-10-1976 – Cancelled

Author: Dave Datema

published: 23-08-2020

story number: 225

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