I’m spending a couple of days on a business junket in Rotterdam. My employers HQ is at the southern end of the Waalhaven harbour, one of numerous harbours that form the Port of Rotterdam. It’s just up the road from the home of Smit, a Dutch marine engineering company best known for its involvement in salvage operations such as that of the Herald of Free Enterprise and the Russian submarine Kursk. It owns some pretty serious waterborne kit some of which can be seen tied up on the quay’s right outside our office window (sans camera on this trip so picture shown is from Wikipedia).
Just a short distance away is the Feijenoord Stadion, or ‘De Kuip’ as it is better known (Dutch for Tub), which back in 1975 was the venue for my first ever European adventure with Ipswich as they took on, and beat, Feyenoord 2-1 in the first round of the UEFA Cup. I was reminded of this great night by the brochure in our hotel lobby advertising tours of the stadium (something I did during my second visit to Rotterdam in 1979).
The victory over Feyenoord ranked as their finest in Europe at the time, although it would later be eclipsed by many other memorable nights, not least a 4-1 victory over Michel Platini and St Etienne in 1981. In torrential rain on that September night in 1975, David Johnson headed the winning goal a quarter of an hour from the end. It looked as though Town were to be denied victory, after the home side had equalised Trevor Whymark’s opener, but Jonty, with a looping header from the edge of the area, sent myself and the 2,000 traveller Town fans into a state of near delirium.