Willem II (football club)

Willem II (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪləm ˈtʋeː]), also known as Willem II Tilburg, is a Dutch football club based in Tilburg, Netherlands. They play in the Eredivisie, the top tier of Dutch football, following promotion from the Eerste Divisie in the 2023–24 season. The club was founded on 12 August 1896 as Tilburgia. On 12 January 1898, the club was renamed Willem II after Dutch king William II of the Netherlands (1792–1849), who, as Prince of Orange and commander of the Dutch army, had his military headquarters in Tilburg during the Belgian uprising of 1830, spent much time in the city after becoming king, and died there.[1]

Willem II
Full nameWillem II Tilburg
Nickname(s)Tricolores
Superkruiken (Super Pitchers)
Founded12 August 1896; 127 years ago (1896-08-12) (as Tilburgia)
GroundKoning Willem II Stadion
Capacity14,800
ChairmanMeindert van Duijvenbode
ManagerPeter Maes
LeagueEredivisie
2023–24Eerste Divisie, 1st of 20 (promoted)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Notable former players for the club include Dutch internationals Jan van Roessel, Joris Mathijsen, Jaap Stam, Frenkie de Jong, Marc Overmars, Virgil Van Dijk and Finland's Sami Hyypiä. The club's shirt consists of red-white-blue vertical stripes, inspired by the colours of the flag of the Netherlands. Willem II plays its home matches in the Koning Willem II Stadion, also named after the King. The stadium, opened on 31 May 1995, has a capacity of 14,700 spectators. The average attendance in 2004–05 was 12,500 people.[1]

The club has won the Eredivisie three times, and the Eerste Divisie four times.[1]

History

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Established on 12 August 1896 in Tilburg as Tilburgia, the club first played at the Gemeentelijk Sportpark Tilburg and in 1995 relocated to the Koning Willem II Stadion, the ground where they have played ever since. Willem were champions of the Eredivisie in 1916, 1952 and 1955. The Tricolores also won two KNVB Cups in 1944 and 1963 and were also crowned champs of the Eerste Divisie in 1958, 1965 and 2014.[1]

 
Willem II v Manchester United,
25 September 1963: 1–1

With regard to European competition, Willem II first appeared in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup of 1963 where they lost to Manchester United in the first round by an aggregate score of 7–2. In 1998–99, Willem once again competed in the Cup Winners' Cup and after beating Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia 6–0 in both legs, Willem then lost to Spanish side Real Betis in the second round, 4–1 on aggregate. A second place in the Eredivisie of 1999 guaranteed the club a UEFA Champions League berth for the first time. At the tournament's group stage, Willem only attained two points in their six group G matches and were thus eliminated. After reaching the KNVB Cup final in 2005 where they lost 4–0 against PSV Eindhoven, Willem II again qualified again for the UEFA Cup, in which they lost to French side AS Monaco in the first round by 5–1 on aggregate.[1]

 
Historical chart of league performance

At the end of the 2010–11 season, Willem II were relegated from the Eredivisie for the first time in 24 years. In the 2011–12 season under new manager Jurgen Streppel Willem II was promoted back to the Eredivisie, but they went right back down the next season after finishing bottom of the table. The club became champions of the Eerste Divisie in the subsequent season and were thus promoted back to the Eredivisie.[1]

In early 2015, journalists at De Volkskrant revealed that Willem II had its matches fixed by an "Asian gambling syndicate", who had paid Willem's players a total sum of €100,000 to lose matches against Ajax and Feyenoord (in October and December 2009). According to the journalists, midfielder Ibrahim Kargbo was the Asians' main contact within the club; Kargbo denies having accepted their money.[1][2] The Royal Dutch Football Association called the affair "the most concrete case of match fixing in the Netherlands" and took legal action as well as asking UEFA and FIFA to reevaluate previous matches.[3]

In 2019, Willem II reached the KNVB Cup final for the fourth time in their history. They beat AZ Alkmaar in the semi-finals after a penalty shoot-out, but were heavily beaten by in the final by Ajax.

The fans of Willem II have close links with the fans of English championship club Bristol City. Willem supporters have been known to travel to Bristol, with Bristol City fans heading the other way to Tilburg. At Bristol City's game on 31 October 2009 against Sheffield Wednesday, some Willem II fans were seen in the 'Eastend' of the Ashton Gate Stadium, and songs were sung about Willem II by City fans.[4][5]

Rivalries

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Willem II longest-running and deepest rivalry is with their neighbour, NAC Breda. This rivalry originated in the 1920s. Matches between the two are referred to as the derby of Brabant. The two cities of Breda and Tilburg are just 20 kilometres apart, leading to an intense feeling of a cross-town rivalry, heightened by a feeling that it is city against city with local pride at stake.

Players

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Current squad

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As of 18 May 2024

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
3 DF   NED Freek Heerkens (captain)
4 DF   NED Erik Schouten (2nd captain)
5 DF   ISL Rúnar Þór Sigurgeirsson
6 MF   BEL Matthias Verreth
7 FW   NED Nick Doodeman
9 FW   SUR Jeredy Hilterman (on loan from Almere City)
10 MF   NED Max de Waal
11 FW   SWE Max Svensson
16 MF   NED Ringo Meerveld
17 FW   NED Patrick Joosten
18 FW   COD Jeremy Bokila
20 DF   NED Valentino Vermeulen
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 GK   NED Joshua Smits
22 DF   BEL Rob Nizet
23 FW   NED Michael de Leeuw
24 GK   NED Connor van den Berg
27 MF   NED Dani Mathieu
29 MF   NED Thijs Oosting
30 DF   AUT Raffael Behounek
32 MF   NED Jesse Bosch
33 DF   NED Tommy St. Jago
34 DF   NED Amine Lachkar
44 DF   NED Niels van Berkel

Notable players

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National team players

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The following players were called up to represent their national teams in international football and received caps during their tenure with Willem II:

  • Players in bold actively play for Willem II and for their respective national teams. Years in brackets indicate careerspan with Willem II.

National team players by Confederation

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Member associations are listed in order of most to least amount of current and former Willem II players represented Internationally

Total national team players by confederation
Confederation Total (Nation) Association
AFC 0  
CAF 10   Morocco (3),   Guinea (2),   Burkina Faso (1),   Cape Verde (1),   Gambia (1),   Ghana (1),   Sierra Leone (1)
CONCACAF 7   Curaçao (5),   Suriname (1),   United States (1)
CONMEBOL 3   Ecuador (2),   Peru (1)
OFC 2   New Zealand (2)
UEFA 40   Netherlands (18),   Finland (5),   Belgium (3),   Armenia (2),   Greece (2),   Hungary (2),   Sweden (2),   Czech Republic (1),   Israel (1),   Kosovo (1),   Luxembourg (1),   Northern Ireland (1),   Slovakia (1)

Players in international tournaments

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The following is a list of Willem II players who have competed in international tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Copa América, Africa Cup of Nations, Amílcar Cabral Cup, and the Caribbean Cup. To this date no Willem II players have participated in the AFC Asian Cup, or the OFC Nations Cup while playing for Willem II.

Cup Players
  1994 Africa Cup of Nations   Sékou Soumah
  Mohamed Sylla
  1994 FIFA World Cup   Earnie Stewart
  1995 Copa América   Earnie Stewart
  1995 Amílcar Cabral Cup   Jatto Ceesay
  1998 Africa Cup of Nations   Ousmane Sanou
   2000 Africa Cup of Nations   Adil Ramzi
  Ousmane Sanou
   UEFA Euro 2000   Geert De Vlieger
   2002 FIFA World Cup   Geert De Vlieger
  2014 Caribbean Cup   Charlton Vicento
  Jason Wall
  UEFA Euro 2016   Adam Němec
  2017 Caribbean Cup   Darryl Lachman
  2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup   Darryl Lachman
  2019 Copa América   Renato Tapia

Domestic results

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17
1
16
8
10
8
15
10
1
10
18
4
14
6
14
15
14
18
14
9
11
7
3
8
10
14
14
17
8
4
2
4
15
13
11
12
10
8
7
12
15
5
2
9
8
11
11
7
10
17
15
15
12
17
18
5
18
1
9
16
13
13
10
5
14
17
4
57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Eredivisie*
Eerste divisie

relegation
promotion

Below is a table with Willem II's domestic results since the introduction of the Eredivisie in 1956.

Club officials

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Position Staff
Manager   Peter Maes
Assistant manager   Peter van den Berg
Goalkeeper coach   Peter den Otter
Data and Video analyst   Rick Mennes
Chief scout   Steven Aptroot
Club doctor   Jan de Waal Malefijt
  Pieter Vioen
Physiotherapist   Gijs van der Bom
Manual therapist   Jasper de Langen
Team official   Henry van Amelsfort
Manager   Jos de Kruif
Team Manager   Jos van Nieuwstadt
Kit Manager   Paul Coehorst
  Guus Bierings
Performance manager   Nils Thörner
Technical director   Martin van Geel (interim)
General director   Martin van Geel

Coaches

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Honours

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See also

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References

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  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Historisch Overzicht". Willem-ii.nl.
  2. ^ "Goksyndicaat fixte duels Willem II" [Gambling syndicate fixed Willem II matches]. de Volkskrant. 17 January 2015.
  3. ^ "KNVB: meest concrete zaak tot nu toe" [Royal Dutch Football Association: most concrete case so far]. NOS. 17 January 2015.
  4. ^ "The club named after a king!". CCFC.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Video: Dutch fans pay emotional tribute to Bristol City supporter Mark Saunders". Bristol Post.co.uk.
  6. ^ a b c "Feiten En Trivia". Willem-ii.nl (in Dutch).

Notes

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  1. ^ A Dutch-born footballer, Raymond Victoria represented Netherlands Antilles internationally, prior to the countries dissolution in 2010, with Curaçao considered by both UEFA and FIFA as the only inherit successor to the national team of former Netherlands Antilles.
  2. ^ A Dutch-born footballer, Nuelson Wau represented Netherlands Antilles internationally, prior to the countries dissolution in 2010, with Curaçao considered by both UEFA and FIFA as the only inherit successor to the national team of former Netherlands Antilles.


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