The launch of Sky Sports 5 centres around Sky’s broadcasting deal to show the Eredivisie exclusively in Britain. Rupert Murdoch has secured a deal for the rights to the Dutch top flight for €1bn, which will last for the next 12 years in America, while the Sky deal on top of that will prove to be a huge financial boost for Dutch clubs. Eredivisie clubs have struggled to hold on to their star players, due to the lack of finances in the league and the fact they fall short to compete in European competitions, but the new broadcasting deals could see that change in the coming years writes Jacob Jackman.
The Eredivisie was founded in 1956. Since then, Ajax have been the most successful club, winning the title 25 times, while PSV Eindhoven are the second most decorated club, winning 18 league championships. Feyenoord, Sparta, AZ and FC Twente are the other sides who have won the Eredivisie since it was formed. In terms of European qualification, the champions qualify for the group stage of the Champions League, while the runners up qualify for the third qualification round of the competition. Then, the third placed side qualify for the Europa League play off, and fourth place for the Europa League third qualification round. The fifth to eighth placed sides compete in a play off to qualify for the Europa League second qualification round.
When it comes to relegation, the bottom placed side is automatically relegated to the Eerste Divisie (second tier), while the winners of the Eerste Divisie win promotion to the Eredivisie. Then the second and third bottom sides in the top flight compete with eight sides from the Eerste Divisie for two spots in next season’s Eredivisie.
There will be a lot of excitement surrounding the launch of the new Eredivisie season, mainly due to the excellent performance from the Netherlands at the World Cup and subscribers of Sky Sports could do a lot worse than following the league this campaign. They may not have the world class clubs that the Spanish league has, but the games are a lot more exciting and quicker paced than La Liga. There is always good football on show as one of the biggest clubs in the history of football, Ajax, continue to play attractive passing football under Frank De Boer, who could be in line for a move to the Premier League in the coming years.
Also the Eredivisie has a reputation as a league which develops a lot of players for the so called bigger leagues. That was particularly evident this summer as Southampton and Newcastle United both shopped in Holland. Southampton landed the very impressive duo of Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic, while Newcastle signed Siem de Jong and Daryl Janmaat. Meanwhile, Holland World Cup star Bruno Martins Indi joined Porto and last season’s top scorer Alfreð Finnbogason left Holland to sign for Real Sociedad. It’s not unusual for there to be a large exodus of talent and the impressive academies in Holland mean that there are always youngsters keen to make their mark in the Dutch top flight.
To bring you up to date with what happened last season, Ajax won their fourth successive Eredivisie title overcoming second placed Feyenoord by four points, therefore it will be these two clubs playing in the Champions League this season. Meanwhile Twente and PSV qualified for the Europa League through finishing third and fourth respectively. Groningen won the Europa League play off, while PEC Zwolle qualified for Europe’s second competition by winning the Dutch cup. RKC Waalwijk, NEC and Roda JC were all relegated, with Willem II (champions of Eerste Divisie), FC Dordrecht and Excelsior (winners of promotion/relegation play offs) taking their place in the Dutch top flight.
Chelsea fans will be intrigued to watch more of Vitesse Arnhem, who take a lot of young players on loan through the official tie up they have with the English club. Wallace and Bertrand Traore are the two players on loan currently, but that will no doubt increase in the coming weeks. Meanwhile PSV have made some impressive moves in the transfer market, bringing in Luuk de Jong, who was brilliant during his last spell in the Eredivisie for FC Twente, while they could also bring in Steven Defour before the new season, which would be a real coup. With the likes of Jeroen Zoet, Jetro Willems, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Maher, Memphis Depay and Jurgen Locadia already in the squad, the Eindhoven club have a great chance to push Ajax all the way this year. Last season’s runners up Feyenoord are likely to be less of a threat this season after losing several key players.
This season promises to bring a lot more excitement in the Eredivisie, with room for new exciting players to breakthrough. When it comes to the top scorer, American Aron Johannsson could be the man this season. He has all the attributes to play at a higher level, but he will have to show his consistency in front of goal for AZ before such a move comes along. Meanwhile Luuk de Jong could be a contender for the golden boot if he rediscovers the form he showed during the 2011/12 season. Luc Castaignos, Memphis Depay and possibly Bas Dost (if he does indeed join Feyenoord) will be other contenders when it comes to being top scorer. Or it could be somebody else as there are always new players breaking through in the Eredivisie.
Now the Eredivisie will be on Sky regularly, it’s certainly worth taking up the interest and getting into, due to the entertaining football that is regularly on show. Also with Louis Van Gaal and Ronald Koeman managing in the Premier League, a lot more Eredivisie talent could be coming to England in the coming years, therefore it will be useful to know about the stars of the Dutch league.
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