Pierre van Hooijdonk

Pierre van Hooijdonk (Dutch pronunciation: [piˈjɛr vɑn ˈɦoːi̯dɔŋk]; born 29 November 1969) is a Dutch former professional footballer who played as a striker. He had spells with clubs across Europe where he was a prolific goal scorer. Van Hooijdonk was capped 46 times for the Dutch national team, for whom he scored 14 goals and played in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2000 and Euro 2004. He was also noted for his spectacular free kicks.[2]

Pierre van Hooijdonk
Van Hooijdonk 2012 (2).jpg
Van Hooijdonk in 2012
Personal information
Full name Pierre van Hooijdonk[1]
Date of birth (1969-11-29) 29 November 1969 (age 50)
Place of birth Steenbergen, Netherlands
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1991 RBC Roosendaal 69 (33)
1991–1995 NAC Breda 115 (81)
1995–1997 Celtic 69 (44)
1997–1999 Nottingham Forest 71 (36)
1999–2000 Vitesse Arnhem 29 (25)
2000–2001 Benfica 30 (19)
2001–2003 Feyenoord 61 (52)
2003–2005 Fenerbahçe 53 (32)
2005–2006 NAC Breda 17 (5)
2006–2007 Feyenoord 37 (8)
Total 551 (335)
National team
1994–2004 Netherlands 46 (14)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Early lifeEdit

Van Hooijdonk was born in Steenbergen. His Moroccan biological father left Van Hooijdonk's mother before his birth. He grew up in a small village nearby Steenbergen named Welberg. While playing in one of SC Welberg's youth squads Van Hooijdonk became desirous of a footballing career. His favourite team was NAC Breda whose game he followed wholeheartedly. At the age of 11 years old he took part in a talent pool on the team's open day and so impressed the NAC scouts. He thus joined NAC where he played mainly as a right midfielder. When he was 14 he was cut from NAC's academy and he then went into amateur football.[3] As so he then switched his position to be a striker only to rejoin NAC and thus ascend to the club's first team.[3]

Club careerEdit

RBC RoosendaalEdit

As RBC were in financial trouble they were obliged to having youth players feature within their senior teams. As such in the 1988–89 season Van Hooijdonk made his debut for RBC Roosendaal as a substitute. Whilst playing as a sub for the club he soon scored three goals. With the club's main striker suffering from an injury Van Hooijdonk played almost the majority of the season's second half, scoring a total of six goals in 32 matches. He signed his first professional contract with RBC soon thereafter. Van Hooijdonk made a greater impression in the following season within which he became a key player for the team, scoring 27 times in 37 matches. Several teams went on to show interest in him such as NAC Breda. Van Hooijdonk thus didn't hesitate in signing a contract with NAC, and so rejoined his boyhood club.


NAC paid 400,000 guilders for the transfer of Van Hooijdonk. In returning to NAC, he was both positive in his outlook as well as determined to illustrate his quality. Van Hooijdonk succeeded at such as he went on to help the team win promotion to the Eredivisie in 1993. During his time at the club he got his first call up, in December 1994, to play for the Netherlands. During the rest of that season he set a scoring streak in 11 consecutive Eredivisie matches. Within the 1994–95 winter break, Celtic made a deal with NAC which saw Van Hooijdonk join up with the Scottish outfit at once. Altogether he scored a total of 81 goals, being capped 115 times in all for NAC.


Van Hooijdonk made his Celtic debut on 11 January 1995 in a league match against Hearts at Hampden Park. The striker made an instant impact for his new team by scoring a stunning opening goal. Hearts went on to equalise and so the game finished 1–1. Van Hooijdonk settled quickly at Celtic and he became an instant favourite with the fans. When Van Hooijdonk arrived at Celtic they had not won any trophies in six years. With Van Hooijdonk in tow Celtic won the Scottish Cup of that season with him being the only goalscorer in the final against Airdrie in May 1995.[4]

The following 1995–96 season, saw Van Hooijdonk in outstanding form for Celtic. He scored 32 goals, including 26 in the League which saw him finish as top scorer. Of particular note was his prowess at scoring from free kicks. However, despite Van Hooijdonk's goals and the attractive football being played by manager Tommy Burns' side, Celtic still finished the season without any silverware. Van Hooijdonk's next season at Celtic, 1996–97, was an unhappy time for both the player and the club. A row with the Celtic chairman/owner, Fergus McCann, would rumble on and as a result he often ended up on the bench. The manager of the Dutch national team Guus Hiddink then told him he wouldn't be selected for such as long as he wasn't a regular at Celtic.

He eventually left Celtic over a wage dispute towards the end of the 1996–97 season, stating that the reputed £7,000 a week rise he was being offered might be "good enough for the homeless" to live on "but not for an international striker." In total Van Hooijdonk scored 52 goals for Celtic in 84 appearances.[5] He went on to join up with Nottingham Forest in a deal worth up to £4.5 million.

Nottingham ForestEdit

Van Hooijdonk arrived as Forest were in deep relegation trouble, struggling to maintain their position in the Premier League. He made his debut for Forest in a 1–1 draw against Blackburn on 11 March 1997. It was hoped the arrival of van Hooijdonk would kick-start their survival, but he scored just one goal in his eight games for them that season. Although only one of those games was lost, the other seven were drawn and Forest were relegated. He immediately pledged his future to helping the club regain their status. The following season was an unqualified success, both for him and Forest. Forest won the title and promotion in a competitive league (facing stiff opposition from Sunderland, Charlton and Middlesbrough), with van Hooijdonk scoring 34 goals and building up a good partnership with strike partner Kevin Campbell, who scored 23 times. He was a regular in the Dutch national squad, and was named in the Dutch squad for 1998 FIFA World Cup in France where he scored as a substitute in the match against South Korea.

After the World Cup had finished he discovered that the promised strengthening to the Forest squad to enable them to cope back in the Premier League had not transpired, indeed that his strike partner Campbell (who had an ongoing back injury) had been sold to Trabzonspor for £2.5m. The club had also announced that Scot Gemmill was dropped from the first team for refusing to sign a new contract, and that club captain and terrace hero Colin Cooper was being allowed to leave to the team promoted alongside them as runners up, Middlesbrough. Van Hooijdonk asked for a transfer. The club's new owners refused. Van Hooijdonk announced that he had been told previously that he could leave the club at the end of the 1997–98 season if he so wished, that he felt betrayed by the club's owners who had failed to deliver on their promises to him regarding the strengthening of the team, and that he felt he could no longer play for his employers. Forest, desperate for a striker, refused to allow him to be transfer-listed again, so van Hooijdonk announced his intention to strike. He kept fit by training with his former club NAC Breda.

Because of his behaviour Van Hooijdonk received criticism both from fans and from his teammates, not least from team-mate Steve Stone and manager Dave Bassett. The club refused to listen to offers for him, as they needed a top striker and the stand-off lasted until early November when van Hooijdonk, realising that he had no choice, agreed to return. By this time the club was again in relegation trouble: bottom of the league without a win in nine games. He played sporadically between then and the end of the season, outlasting Dave Bassett and Steve Stone. He scored 6 goals in his 19 starts in the Premier League, including his first goal in his third game back against Forest's fierce rivals Derby County, helping them to a draw. Infamously after this goal most of his team-mates refused to celebrate alongside him, instead going to Scot Gemmill, the man who crossed the ball to him. He also scored a last minute home equaliser against rivals Liverpool with a trademark free-kick that protected Forest's proud unbeaten home run against them that went back to 1984.[6] Forest ended the 1998–99 Premier League season bottom and were relegated. In 2015, van Hooijdonk expressed regret at going on strike, saying that the situation "could have been handled differently".[7]

Vitesse, Benfica and FeyenoordEdit

At the end of the 1998/99 season he returned to the Netherlands with Vitesse Arnhem in a £3.5m move to continue his career after and did much to convince his critics of his goal-scoring abilities when he helped the Arnhem team to a UEFA Cup spot with 25 goals in one season. He also returned into the Dutch national team in this period.

Van Hooijdonk then signed a three-year deal for Benfica in 2000 where he joined up with one of the former Celtic F.C. 'three amigos' Jorge Cadete. He eventually only played one season for them with 19 goals. At Benfica he faced the same structural problems as he faced at Nottingham Forest and the team used three different managers throughout the season. The new chairman at the club had no faith in Van Hooijdonk and he was set back into their second team. Benfica were planning on selling him to another foreign club, but all Van Hooijdonk wanted was to return to his home country. At the end of the 2000/01 season, he signed for his fourth Dutch club, Feyenoord Rotterdam.

While at Feyenoord, he will always be remembered for his free kick abilities and his integral part in the UEFA Cup 2001–02 win. He scored two goals against Borussia Dortmund in the final at De Kuip and his performances helped Feyenoord beat Freiburg, Rangers, PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan in earlier rounds.[8][9]


Never one to settle down, van Hooijdonk joined Fenerbahçe SK at the beginning of the 2003–04 season where he featured in 52 games for the Turkish club and scored 32 goals (24 in his first season). He was nicknamed Aziz Pierre (means Saint Pierre in Turkish) by fans. He wore the number 17, the same number that he wore for the national team. He won the Süper Lig title in 2003–04 (first championship in his career) and again the following year in 2004–05 with Fenerbahçe.

The final yearsEdit

In mid-2005, he signed again for his former club, NAC, playing 17 games, scoring 5 goals. During the winter transfer window of the 2005–06 season, he signed for another former club, Feyenoord, where he scored 8 goals in 37 appearances. On 17 October 2006, Van Hooijdonk announced his retirement at the end of the 2006–07 season.[10] On 13 May 2007, he eventually played his final professional match after a draw with Feyenoord against FC Groningen in the play-offs,[11] having played 550 games (335 goals) in the highest leagues in 18 seasons of professional football.[12]

Personal lifeEdit

Van Hooijdonk is the father of Sydney van Hooijdonk, who is also a professional footballer.[13]

It was reported in May 2008 that van Hooijdonk had been a victim of fraud and had lost £2,000,000 to a scam, which involved him investing in a Chinese textile company which did not exist.[14]

Career statisticsEdit

Club League Season League Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
RBC Eerste divisie 1989–90 32 6 0 0 32 6
1990–91 37 27 0 0 0 0 37 27
Total 69 33 0 0 0 0 69 33
NAC Eerste divisie 1991–92 35 20 0 0 35 20
1992–93 33 26 0 0 0 0 33 26
Eredivisie 1993–94 31 25 0 0 0 0 31 25
1994–95 16 10 0 0 0 0 16 10
Total 115 81 0 0 0 0 115 81
Celtic Premier Division 1994–95 14 4 5 4 0 0 19 8
1995–96 34 26 4 4 3 2 3 0 44 32
1996–97 21 14 2 1 2 1 4 0 29 16
Total 69 44 11 9 5 3 7 0 92 56
Nottingham Forest Premier League 1996–97 8 1 0 0 0 0 8 1
First Division 1997–98 42 29 1 1 4 4 47 34
Premier League 1998–99 21 6 0 0 1 0 22 6
Total 71 36 1 1 5 4 77 41
Vitesse Eredivisie 1999–2000 29 25 3 1 4 2 36 28
Benfica Primeira Liga 2000–01 30 19 3 2 2 2 35 23
Feyenoord Eredivisie 2001–02 33 24 2 0 12 9 47 33
2002–03 28 28 4 0 5 1 37 29
Total 61 52 6 0 17 10 84 62
Fenerbahçe Süper Lig 2003–04 34 24 3 1 37 25
2004–05 19 8 2 1 5 1 26 10
Total 53 32 5 2 5 1 63 35
NAC Breda Eredivisie 2005–06 17 5 3 3 20 8
Feyenoord Eredivisie 2005–06 11 3 0 0 0 0 11 3
2006–07 26 5 2 0 4 0 32 5
Total 37 8 2 0 4 0 43 8
Career total 551 335 34 18 10 7 39 15 634 375




Nottingham Forest






  1. ^ "Pierre van Hooijdonk" (in Turkish). Turkish Football Federation. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  2. ^ "World Football: Ranking the Top 10 Long Free Kick Specialists of All-Time". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  3. ^ a b "V.V. "Steenbergen"". Vvsteenbergen.nl. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Celtic's compensation". The Independent. 27 May 1995. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  5. ^ Gordon Thomson. The worst sporting diplomats Archived 2 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine Observer Sport Monthly, 2 March 2003, Retrieved 11 January 2007
  6. ^ "head to head". Racing Post. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  7. ^ "Raheem Sterling should consider the consequences of Pierre van Hooijdonk's decision not to play for Nottingham Forest". The Daily Mail. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Feyenoord seal Uefa Cup win". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 8 May 2002. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Final joy for Feyenoord". UEFA. 9 May 2002. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Van Hooijdonk sets retirement date". UEFA.com. 17 October 2006. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  11. ^ "FC Groningen schiet Feyenoord verdiend uit de play offs". Dagblad Noorden. 13 May 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2009.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Footballdatabase profile". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
  13. ^ "Cookies op bndestem.nl - bndestem.nl". www.bndestem.nl.
  14. ^ "Pierre van Hooijdonk conned out of €2.5m". DutchNews.nl. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  15. ^ Pierre van Hooijdonk at National-Football-Teams.com
  16. ^ "Van Hooijdonk". ForaDeJogo. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Remembering Pierre van Hooijdonk, the original football 'striker'". ShortList. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  18. ^ Ross, James M. (5 June 2014). "Premier League & Football League Div 1 Leading Goalscorers 1993–2004". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Pierre van Hooijdonk's reason for going on strike at Nottingham Forest was 'spot on' says ex-Red". Nottinghamshire Live. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Europa League 2001/2002 » Top Scorer". WorldFootball.net. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  21. ^ "Eredivisie 2001/2002 » Top Scorer". WorldFootball.net. Retrieved 26 March 2015.

External linksEdit