As we near the end of the mid-season break, many supporters around the Netherlands (and indeed the world) are taking stock and hoping for better from their respective clubs in 2014-15 (Part II). Paul Gellard’s own belief is that there is better to come from Feyenoord in the second half of the campaign, and central to that will be Turkish striker, Colin Kazim-Richards.
When Kazim-Richards arrived in Holland on a season-long loan from Turkish club, Bursaspor, it raised a few eyebrows. The winner of 35 caps for his country, the man who originally started his career with English League Two side, Bury, had primarily been a winger in his early career in England and also for the Turkish national side. However, Fred Rutten has chosen to employ him as a lone striker, with often devastating effect.
Feyenoord’s season did not start well (an opening day win at ADO Den Haag aside) and the loss of Graziano Pelle to Southampton was keenly felt in Rotterdam. The Italian had netted 23 goals for “De Club aan de Maas” but it was hoped Mitchell te Vrede would step up to the mark in his absence. To be fair to the Dutch forward, 5 goals in the opening 8 Eredivisie games speaks volumes. However Feyenoord still lacked a real physical presence in the final third as their form remained erratic.
Enter Colin Kazim-Richards, who made his debut for Feyenoord as a 63rd minute substitute for the aforementioned te Vrede in a 2-1 defeat to Willem II at De Kuip. Indeed, it didn’t take long for the London-born Turk to open his account, scoring just 12 minutes later. This was then followed by a 1-0 home loss to bitter rivals, Ajax, but Kazim-Richards then grabbed his second Feyenoord goal with a 4-0 win at Go Ahead Eagles in Deventer on 27th September before going on what can be fairly described as a lean spell. Indeed, the next goal did not come until 6th December when he scored the opening goal in a 5-2 thrashing of neighbours, Excelsior.
By the time of the Excelsior goal, the knives were sharpening for the striker and criticism of his lack of goals was deafening in some quarters. However it was always appreciated by the Feyenoord faithful his willingness to chase down a lost cause and put himself about opposition defences.
As it happened, the Excelsior goal seemed to kickstart Kazim-Richards’ form as he went on to score a goal in each of the remaining three Eredivisie fixtures prior to the mid-season break. Indeed, who can forget his 89th minute header at the Philips Stadion that appeared to have earned Feyenoord a well-deserved point when trailing 3-2? Only a 93rd minute winner by Memphis Depay ultimately rained on the Rotterdammers’ parade in a game many have named as their top moment of 2014.
And so a record of 7 goals from 13 Eredivisie appearances is how it stands at the mid-season point. It is quite possible that Kazim-Richards is cursing the break as he hit such a rich run of form. However, for this writer, it is key that Fred Rutten and Feyenoord attempt to sign Kazim-Richards on a permanent basis. Apart from his goalscoring, he has also shown he can play the lone striker’s role and sacrifice himself for the side. He has a powerful physique and pace and is the sort of striker a lot of supporters will hate when he plays against their side, but they’d secretly advocate having him wearing their club’s shirt.
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