Wednesday, March 12, 2008

PSV FC

PSV 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1 - UEFA Cup, Round of 16 2nd Leg

(PSV won 6-5 on penalties as the tie was drawn 1-1 on aggregate)

Eindhoven is a municipality and a city located in the province of Noord-Brabant in the south of the Netherlands, originally at the confluence of the Dommel and Gender brooks. The Gender was dammed off in the post-war years, but the Dommel still runs through the city. In 1232, when Duke Hendrik I of Brabant granted city rights to Endehoven, then a small town right on the confluence of the Dommel and Gender streams. The city's name translates literally as "End Yards", reflecting its position at the southern end of Woensel. At the time of granting of its charter, Eindhoven had approximately 170 houses enclosed by a rampart. Just outside of the city walls stood a small castle. The city was also granted the right to organize a weekly market and the farmers in nearby villages were obliged to come to Eindhoven to sell their produce. Another factor in its establishment was its location on the trade route from Holland to Liège. The industrial revolution of the Nineteenth Century provided a major growth impulse. Canals, roads and railroads were constructed. Eindhoven was connected to the major Zuid-Willemsvaart canal through the Eindhovens Kanaal branch in 1843 and was connected by rail to Tilburg,   Venlo and Belgium between 1866 and 1870. Industrial activities initially centred around tobacco and textile and boomed with the rise of lighting and electronics giant Philips, which was founded as a light bulb manufacturing company in Eindhoven in 1891.

Although often referred to as PSV Eindhoven, the correct title for the club is Philips Sport Vereniging. As its name indicates, the club started out as a company-sponsored sports club for Philips employees on August 31, 1913 to celebrate the centennial independence of the Netherlands from France. PSV has evolved into a fully professional football club.

Philips Stadion (capacity 35,000) was first used in 1913. The stadium is located in the Philipsdorp ('Philips village') part of the Eindhoven borough of Strijp, close to Eindhoven's city centre. As late as 1933, its capacity was only 300, and remained that size until its expansion in 1941 to 18,000 spectators. The final days of World War II witnessed great destruction in the city of Eindhoven and also to the stadium itself. Repairs were duly made, culminating in the expansion of the stadium capacity to 22,000 in 1958. Further expansions of the North stand (1995) and the four quadrants (in 2000 and 2002) of the stadium led to its current capacity.

We travelled to Eindhoven on the Eurostar service from London St Pancras via Brussels, from where we caught a train to Maastricht and from there another onward to Eindhoven. The Philips Stadion is no more than a five-minute walk from the main Eindhoven railway station. The ground, as expected, is fully enclosed, with visiting supporters housed in one corner of the ground. I would say that the ground is of a good standard but was not impressed with the view afforded from the away section, spoilt by large netting (but still better than the visitors section at Newcastle – Ed).

Tottenham Hotspur trailed 1-0 from the 1st leg at White Hart Lane and a better performance would be required if they were going to progress in the competition. Spurs certainly improved and took the match to their hosts with a very positive showing. Despite a number of missed opportunities, Spurs did eventually draw level in the tie, when Dimitar Berbatov netted with a fine instinctive strike 10 minutes from time.

Extra time failed to produce a winner and so it was left to a penalty shoot out to settle the matter. Since defeating Anderlecht in the 1984 UEFA Cup Final, Spurs have added only Peterborough United to their list of scalps via penalty shoot outs (a few significant failures in that time –Ed). PSV ensured that they would not be added to that brief list with a 6-5 victory after the sides were locked together at 4-4 prior to the sudden death scenario.

After the match we were escorted via a connecting tunnel, to a railway platform over the road from the ground. Not wishing to travel on the special trains to Amsterdam, we went downstairs, past the coaches (did not want those either - Ed) and then were escorted back through the stadium at pitch level and out the other side of the ground - Different I guess!

En route back to Brussels, Ciderman and I took time out to explore Maastricht as recommended by Uncle Joe. Being close to the Belgian border, the variety of beers available was extensive and your correspondent enjoyed the contrasting styles and flavours.



Attendance: 33,000 according to THFC
Admission: 37.5 Euros
Programme: Free, 24 pages

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