|Full name||Nijmegen Eendracht Combinatie|
|Founded||November 15, 1900|
|Chairman||Ron van Oijen|
|2018–19||Eerste Divisie, 9th|
The oldest remnant of the club, "Eendracht" (Dutch for unity), stems back to 15 November 1900. In 1910, Eendracht merged with Nijmegen to form the Nijmegen Eendracht Combinatie (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈnɛimeːɣə(n) ˈeːndrɑxt ˌkɔmbiˈnaː(t)si]). The team's home ground is the 12,500-seat Stadion de Goffert.
1900–1919: First yearsEdit
NEC Nijmegen is the 41st oldest club in the Netherlands. The first football club was founded by "ordinary" workers, 'real' people, and boys. Football was, in 1900, quite popular but elitist being played by the sons of wealthy industrialists, the middle class and other notables.
The founders of NEC had a very different background to other Eredivisie clubs. They were, without exception, from the old Nijmegen Lower City, the place where the poorest people lived. It was not much more than a slum. The boys from this area played football every day, not on a field, but on the streets and the Waalkade.
Unusually, some of those boys on 15 November 1900 made a decision to form their own football club. They did it by themselves, without help from outside. They coined the name Eendracht and decided that every week a fee of two cents would be paid. With that money, a new ball could be purchased from time-to-time.
In the first years, Eendracht only played games against teams from other parts of Nijmegen. The ploeggie from the Lower City started to play good football. When in 1903, a Nijmegen Football Association was formed, Eendracht was the first champion and was promoted to the Geldersche Football Association. The football at Eendracht became a serious matter, especially two years later after promotion to the second class of the KNVB.
In April 1910, Eendracht merged that year with a club called Nijmegen. Nijmegen had been established for only two years and was founded by former members of Quick 1888 who felt little empathy with Quick regarded, at the time, as an elite club. The Nijmegen Eendracht Combination seemed a golden find. The leading class of Nijmegen possibly looked down on NEC.
1920–1939: "Never first-class"Edit
At the beginning of the 1920s, NEC bought land and moved to Hazenkampseweg. Finally, the club had its own sports complex. On top of this, memberships increased rapidly and the club became more popular. However, despite a new home and increased membership, success on-field did not always follow. To achieve promotion into the Eerste Klasse (first-class) competition, it was not enough in those years to just become champion of the second class. Stressful play-off matches were regularly played. Although NEC became champion in 1928, 1929, 1931, and 1934, the club was not promoted. The club was mockingly titled: "Nooit eerste classer" (in English "Never first division"). Finally, in 1936, NEC took the last obstacle. They won the play-off matches and reached the First Class.
1940–1959: War then professional footballEdit
During the War, little football was played, but after liberation, NEC resumed competition and again became the champion of the East in 1946. In 1947, NEC retained the title and again became the third-most successful club in the Netherlands.
For NEC, the introduction of professional football in 1954 came at the wrong time. The club had internal problems at the time, was not as well established as other clubs, and was not doing well financially. More than 80 'paying' clubs were called together and the KNVB reorganised their structure. Each time the competitions were classified, NEC fell further from the top leagues. At the 11th hour, NEC was saved from a return to the amateurs.
At the beginning of the 1960s, NEC began to recover, growing slowly again. A major reason was support from the City of Nijmegen who began to see the importance of a 'paid' club like the Nijmegen Eendracht Combinatie. NEC were given financial support in 1963. In 1964, NEC was promoted to the Eerste Divisie (first division) again and three years later, reached the Eredivisie.
The ensuing years were ones that Nijmegen residents look back on nostalgically. The Goffert was full every game. Season averages of 14,000 spectators were normal. There was even a season (1970–71) in which NEC had attendances of 18,000 a game. NEC flourished, primarily on the back of great youth development and scouting.
Talented players were developed, played in the first team and, after a number of seasons sold for high fees. Frans Thijssen and Jan Peters are two such examples. Although the club never won a major prize, it was well regarded at this time.
However, the first signs of decline came quickly. NEC was not sustainable with its only major revenue sources being the sale of players and a healthy subsidy from the Nijmegen council.
Relegation in 1974 was a warning and although NEC was promoted a year later eventually finishing seventh, the club trajectory was heading the wrong way. Each year, the team fought against relegation and fewer spectators watched its matches. During this period, NEC ended every season as either a top club in the first division or a bottom club in the major league. In a little over a decade, they changed leagues six times: relegation in 1983, promotion in 1985, relegation in 1986, promotion in 1989, relegation in 1991, and finally promotion in 1994. NEC suffered many difficult years and disappeared almost from professional football from time-to-time. In 1981, the club was given support from the town when the professionals and amateurs separated. In 1987, the club was declared bankrupt. NEC continued to existent after 80% of creditors waived their claims.
Chairman Henk van de Water formed a sponsor's club OSRN which started to gather momentum. In the mid-1990s, NEC was on the way up again. In 1995, the club clung on to a place in the Eredivisie by the skin of its teeth. In 1998, it surprised many with an eighth-place finish. Its prospects had improved. Attendance numbers rose continuously, all the way up to 10,000. The sponsors' club prospered and there was a nice future ahead in the new Goffertstadion.
NEC has reached the KNVB Cup Final four times. On two occasions NEC were underdogs, but on 31 May 1973, the club was overwhelming favorite. At De Kuip against NAC Breda, it however, went completely wrong for the Nijmegen club. NEC, with coach Wiel Coerver and players of the quality of Jan Peters, Frans Thijssen, Harrie Schellekens, Jan van Deinsen, and Cas Janssens, were unable to live up to expectations. Infighting was cited as a major cause of under-performance, with NAC Breda winning 2–0.
In 1983, NEC unexpectedly reached the Cup Final despite having been relegated that season. Opponents Ajax, were in both matches clearly better, twice winning 3–1.
In 1994, NEC was again in the final. It was a first-division club at the time, but a very good team. A month after the cup, they were promoted via the promotion/relegation play-offs. NEC, with players of the ilk of Lok, Hoekman, van Wonderen, van der Weerden, and the lightning-quick Bennie Dekker, surprised in the semi-finals. Ajax were beaten in De Meer 2–1. In De Kuip at Feyenoord, Feyenoord won 2–1.
In the club's 100th year (2000), NEC again reached the Cup Final. The competition presentations were not too good and hardly participation at the promotion/relegation play-offs was averted. The final against Roda JC Kerkrade for the 20,000 fans from Nijmegen was more or less a disappointment. NEC lost with no scoring chances 2–0. The semi-finals (progressing after penalties against AZ) were a highlight for many fans.
Nijmegen played in European CupEdit
In 1983, during the darkest period of the club's history, there was also a highlight in club's the history. NEC played in the European Cup against Barcelona, while NEC was mid-ranked in the First Division.
In the Spring, NEC lost the cup-final against Ajax and were also relegated to the First Division. But because the Amsterdammers also became champion of the Netherlands, NEC made the unique fact that a First Division club was registered for the Eurocup II tournament; this performance was never repeated in the Netherlands.
In the first round of the European tournament, NEC defeated Norway's Brann. The club was a relative minnow, but NEC had problems defeating the club from Norway. In Nijmegen, it finished 1–1 and two weeks later in Bergen, Michel Mommertz scored the winner (0–1).
A few days later, the draw was completed for the second round. The city of Nijmegen eagerly anticipated the fixture and was not disappointed when Barcelona, the club that had world superstars Diego Maradona and Bernd Schuster, were coming to Nijmegen. Both star players were injured by 19 October and did not take part in the games. But this was no big disappointment for the 25,000 spectators in the Goffertstadion. NEC took the lead with strikes from Anton Janssen and Michel Mommertz. However, Barcelona hit back eventually winning 3–2. The second leg in Barcelona, was an easy game for the Catalans, ending in a 2–0 win for the home team.
29 May 2003 was a historic day for the club. For the first time in its existence NEC qualified on their own for the UEFA Cup. Following a late strike from Jarda Simr, NEC finished fifth in the Eredivisie. This led to unprecedented scenes with jubilant fans invading the Waalwijk pitch. Back in Nijmegen, there was an explosion of joy with over 5,000 supporters in the Goffert watching the game on a large video screen. Similar scenes happened in the centre of Nijmegen with over 25,000 people celebrating.
In 2008, NEC qualified for the third time in its history for European competition. With this, Mario Been followed in the footsteps of former-coach Johan Neeskens. After a disappointing first half of the year, the club was 17th place. But after the winter break, there was a remarkable turnaround. From January 2008, NEC played terrific football and scored many goals. Victory after victory resulted in an excellent eighth place in the Eredivisie. This position was rewarded by participation in the UEFA Cup play-offs. NEC was also superior in the play-offs beating Roda JC Kerkrade, FC Groningen, and NAC Breda. With 31 undefeated matches in a row and with a 6–0 home victory at NAC Breda the highlight, NEC reached European football again. The return match at Breda was a formality, but the team was also victorious. What followed was a great homage to many thousands of fans on the Goffertwei.
The year became even more successful following early rounds of the UEFA Cup. In the first round, the club defeated Dinamo Bucureşti in two heart-stopping matches. After a 1–0 winning home game, NEC drew 0–0 in Romania to reach the group-stage. It was then drawn against larger European clubs Tottenham Hotspur, Udinese, Spartak Moscow, and Dinamo Zagreb. All the experts gave the club little chance of reaching the next round, but NEC defied the odds. After a stunning match against Zagreb, with a goal from Dinamo in the last minute, there stood a disappointing 3–2 on the scoreboard. NEC were perhaps the better team but gained no points. After this, English team Tottenham came to the McDOS Goffertstadion and won 0–1. Nijmegen was on the bottom of the pool and was almost out of the tournament. But there was hope in the Netherlands after a 1–2 victory against Spartak Moscow in Russia with a very important goal from Lasse Schöne. NEC played its last match in Nijmegen against Udinese. To go to the next round, NEC and Tottenham had to win (against Spartak Moscow). Tottenham were behind and after 45 minutes, while there was a disappointing 0–0 on the scoreboard in Nijmegen. But in the 74th minute, there was a sensational moment: Tottenham scored twice to eventually draw 2–2 against Spartak and Collins John almost simultaneously scored to make the score 1–0 for NEC. With a second goal from Jhon van Beukering (his third European goal of the season), NEC reached the next round.
The last 32 draw of the UEFA Cup saw NEC fixtured to play against big German club Hamburger SV. The fairy tale ended for the club when the Germans won 0–3 in the Goffertstadion and 1–0 in Hamburg. However, the progression into the last 32 capped off the most successful year in the club's history. NEC was lauded for their terrific football and their sociability. Supporters were complimented in Europe, especially by Franz Beckenbauer, who said he had never witnessed such great ambiance from away-supporters and that Premier League clubs had never seen so many away-fans at a club-match (4,500).
Relegation and returnEdit
At the end of the 2013–14 season, NEC prevented direct relegation by holding Ajax to a 2–2 draw in Amsterdam on the last matchday with a brace from Alireza Jahanbakhsh. However, in the following relegation play-offs, NEC lost 4–1 on aggregate to Eerste Divisie's 16th placed Sparta Rotterdam and again relegated to the second tier of Dutch football for the first time in 20 years. They bounced back however on the first attempt after beating Sparta 1–0 on 3 April 2015 to clinch the Eerste Divisie title with six games left. On 28 May 2017, NEC relegated again after two years in the Eredivisie after losing 5–1 on aggregate against NAC Breda.
Rivalry with VitesseEdit
Vitesse from Arnhem are NEC's archrivals. The two clubs share a long history together and matches between the two clubs are called the Gelderse Derby (Derby of Gelderland). A confrontation between the two largest cities of the province of Gelderland, Arnhem and Nijmegen, two cities with major differences in attitude and culture. Since 1813, Arnhem has been the capital of Gelderland and is historically based on finance and trade. Arnhem is perceived as an office city with modern buildings. Nijmegen, on the other hand, is predominantly a workers' city, with middle and high-income groups in the minority. People from Nijmegen see Arnhem as arrogant and lazy. The two cities are just 24 kilometers apart, resulting in an intense crosstown rivalry. The meeting between the two teams is still considered to be one of the biggest matches of the season.
De Graafschap are also a rival of NEC, but these matches are not as loaded with the tension and rivalry of those with Vitesse.
|Played||Vitesse wins||Draws||NEC wins||Vitesse goals||NEC goals|
- Last two results
|GelreDome||2 April 2017||Eredivisie||2||1|
|De Goffert||23 October 2016||Eredivisie||1||1|
European Cup appearancesEdit
|1983–84||Cup Winners' Cup||1. Round||Brann||1–1||1–0||2–1|
|2003–04||UEFA Cup||1. Round||Wisła Kraków||1–2||1–2||2–4|
|2008–09||UEFA Cup||1. Round||Dinamo Bucharest||1–0||0–0||1–0|
|3. Round||Hamburger SV||0–3||0–1||0–4|
- Eerste Divisie
- Tweede Divisie
- Winners: 1963–64
- KNVB Cup
Below is a table with NEC's domestic results since the introduction of professional football in 1955.
|Domestic Results since 1956|
|Domestic league||League result||Qualification to||KNVB Cup season||Cup result|
|2017–18 Eerste Divisie||3rd||promotion/relegation play-offs: no promotion||2017–18||round of 16|
|2016–17 Eredivisie||16th||Eerste Divisie (losing prom./releg. play-offs)||2016–17||first round|
|2015–16 Eredivisie||10th||–||2015–16||round of 16|
|2014–15 Eerste Divisie||1st||Eredivisie (promotion)||2014–15||round of 16|
|2013–14 Eredivisie||17th||Eerste Divisie (losing prom./releg. play-offs)||2013–14||semi-final|
|2012–13 Eredivisie||15th||2012–13||second round|
|2010–11 Eredivisie||11th||–||2010–11||third round|
|2007–08 Eredivisie||8th||–||2007–08||round of 16|
|2006–07 Eredivisie||10th||–||2006–07||third round|
|2005–06 Eredivisie||10th||–||2005–06||round of 16|
|2004–05 Eredivisie||13th||–||2004–05||third round|
|2003–04 Eredivisie||14th||–||2003–04||third round|
|2002–03 Eredivisie||5th||–||2002–03||third round|
|2001–02 Eredivisie||9th||–||2001–02||group stage|
|2000–01 Eredivisie||12th||–||2000–01||round of 16|
|1998–99 Eredivisie||11th||–||1998–99||second round|
|1997–98 Eredivisie||8th||–||1997–98||round of 16|
|1996–97 Eredivisie||17th||(surviving promotion/relegation play-offs)||1996–97||round of 16|
|1995–96 Eredivisie||17th||(surviving promotion/relegation play-offs)||1995–96||second round|
|1994–95 Eredivisie||15th||–||1994–95||round of 16|
|1993–94 Eerste Divisie||2nd||Eredivisie (prom./releg. play-offs: promotion)||1993–94||runner-up|
|1992–93 Eerste Divisie||4th||(prom./releg. play-offs: no promotion)||1992–93||second round|
|1991–92 Eerste Divisie||8th||–||1991–92||third round|
|1990–91 Eredivisie||18nd||Eerste Divisie (relegation)||1990–91||second round|
|1989–90 Eredivisie||16th||(prom./releg. play-offs: no relegation)||1989–90||third round|
|1988–89 Eerste Divisie||4th||Eredivisie (promotion competition: promotion)||1988–89||first round|
|1987–88 Eerste Divisie||5th||–||1987–88||third round|
|1986–87 Eerste Divisie||6th||(promotion competition: no promotion)||1986–87||first round|
|1985–86 Eredivisie||17th||Eerste Divisie (relegation)||1985–86||semi-final|
|1984–85 Eerste Divisie||7th||Eredivisie(promotion competition: promotion)||1984–85||first round|
|1983–84 Eerste Divisie||9th||–||1983–84||quarter-final|
|1982–83 Eredivisie||18th||Eerste Divisie (relegation)||1982–83||runner-up|
|1980–81 Eredivisie||16th||–||1980–81||second round|
|1979–80 Eredivisie||15th||–||1979–80||third round|
|1978–79 Eredivisie||15th||–||1978–79||second round|
|1977–78 Eredivisie||15th||–||1977–78||second round|
|1976–77 Eredivisie||16th||–||1976–77||second round|
|1975–76 Eredivisie||7th||–||1975–76||first round|
|1974–75 Eerste Divisie||1st||Eredivisie (promotion)||1974–75||first round|
|1973–74 Eredivisie||17th||Eerste Divisie (relegation)||1973–74||third round|
|1969–70 Eredivisie||11th||–||1969–70||first round|
|1967–68 Eredivisie||10th||–||1967–68||second round|
|1966–67 Eerste Divisie||2nd||Eredivisie (promotion)||1966–67||first round|
|1965–66 Eerste Divisie||6th||–||1965–66||group stage|
|1964–65 Eerste Divisie||10th||–||1964–65||first round|
|1963–64 Tweede Divisie B||1st||Eerste Divisie (winning promotion play-off)||1963–64||third round|
|1962–63 Tweede Divisie A||3rd||(promotion competition: no promotion)||1962–63||semi-final|
|1961–62 Tweede Divisie||9th||–||1961–62||first round|
|1960–61 Tweede Divisie||4th||(promotion competition: no promotion)||1960–61||group stage|
|1959–60 Tweede Divisie A||8th||–||not held||not held|
|1958–59 Tweede Divisie B||6th||–||1958–59||fourth round|
|1957-58Tweede Divisie B||5th||–||1957–58||first round|
|1956-57Tweede Divisie B||10th||–||1956–57||"did not participate"|
- As of 15 September 2020
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
UEFA Current rankingEdit
- As of 26 April 2013
- "History at official N.E.C. website". N.E.C.] Archived from the original on 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-06-14.
- "Franz Beckenbauer about great ambiance N.E.C. Supporters". De Trouwe Honden. 2009-03-17. Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "NEC face play-off, Roda relegated". FIFA.com. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- NEC in één jaar van hel naar hemel – AD (in Dutch)
- "Selectie N.E.C. Nijmegen". www.nec-nijmegen.nl. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- UEFA Club Coefficients – UEFA.com
- "Managers". N.E.C. Nijmegen. Archived from the original on July 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
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