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Like being a turkey at Christmas - De Graafschap boss fumes as KNVB scuppers promotion bid

Fri 24 April 2020 | 19:52

Mike Snoei had led De Graafschap to the brink of promotion, so he was understandably furious by the KNVB's season-ending ruling on Friday.

De Graafschap head coach Mike Snoei said the move to close down the Dutch football season and cancel promotion and relegation left him feeling like a turkey at Christmas.

Snoei had put De Graafschap on the brink of a return to the elite ranks of the Eredivisie after suffering just one defeat in 29 Eerste Divisie games.

But rather than the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) make a sporting judgement on which teams should move up and down at the end of the season, it was determined no change would be made to either division.

Snoei took a swipe at KNVB director of professional football Eric Gudde, telling De Gerlander: "I see this decision as a certificate of inability for Gudde & Co.

"I am very disappointed in the indecision. Dare to make a decision."

The KNVB polled clubs before making its own choice on how to proceed, leaving everything in its current place.

"It's like asking turkeys how they feel about Christmas," Snoei said.

Snoei's team sat second in the second tier, in an automatic promotion slot and seven points clear of third-placed Volendam.

They and leaders Cambuur looked set for richly deserved promotions, only for the KNVB ruling, reached in an effort to regroup amid the coronavirus crisis, to pull the rug out from beneath both clubs.

"Just like Cambuur, we had a fantastic season," Snoei said. "We were on our way to promotion."

He said the decisions were "incomprehensible" and "incredibly sad news", stressing he was certain De Graafschap were promotion-bound.

While De Graafschap and Cambuur were big losers from the sorry situation, ADO Den Haag and RKC Waalwijk were clear winners, with both sides having been seemingly careering towards relegation from the Eredivisie.

It means former West Ham boss Alan Pardew has kept Den Haag in the top flight, after coming to the club in January.

Pardew could not inspire a miracle run, and it is hardly the way he would have wanted to guarantee safety for another season.

But general manager Mohammed Hamdi said it was a day for "relief" at the club.

"It is an exceptional outcome from a hard season," Hamdi said on Den Haag's website.

"Everybody knows we were having troubles, but we still believed we could get clear [of relegation] in the remaining eight matches.

"It's easy to say that obviously, but we believed in our chances. In the coming months we will work on our future. It is obvious that we are still facing big challenges in these times of the coronavirus crisis, which is the case for all football clubs."

Pardew's contract is due to expire in the close season.

RKC had only 15 points from 26 games and their technical director Frank van Mosselveld admitted it was a bittersweet day.

"This is the outcome we hoped for," he said.

"Last season we were promoted in a way that makes you love football, but the way we are staying in the Eredivisie is quite the opposite.

"You only win on the pitch. Therefore, we have nothing to celebrate. That would be inappropriate."

Pardew could not inspire a miracle run, and it is hardly the way he would have wanted to guarantee safety for another season.

But general manager Mohammed Hamdi said it was a day for "relief" at the club.

"It is an exceptional outcome from a hard season," Hamdi said on Den Haag's website.

"Everybody knows we were having troubles, but we still believed we could get clear [of relegation] in the remaining eight matches.

"It's easy to say that obviously, but we believed in our chances. In the coming months we will work on our future. It is obvious that we are still facing big challenges in these times of the coronavirus crisis, which is the case for all football clubs."

Pardew's contract is due to expire in the close season.

RKC had only 15 points from 26 games and their technical director Frank van Mosselveld admitted it was a bittersweet day.

"This is the outcome we hoped for," he said.

"Last season we were promoted in a way that makes you love football, but the way we are staying in the Eredivisie is quite the opposite.

"You only win on the pitch. Therefore, we have nothing to celebrate. That would be inappropriate."


source: SportMob