PSV: The Lowdown
I think all in all that draw could have been a lot worse (i.e Barcelona), but I feel a cliche in the offing. At this stage of a competition there are NO easy ties (except Lille, but we all knew Man Utd would get the easiest draw possible for the hundred and thirty fourth consecutive occasion). Cliches are cliches because they are generally true, nevertheless, this should be a tie that Arsenal can be confident about over two legs. So here is a little lowdown, history, miscellany and all, that Little Dutch has managed to accrue from his network of scouts and spies.
If we were playing Chelsea this section would be much easier, but PSV actually have quite a fascinating past. They were formed in 1913 by employees of the Philips company, in celebration of the Napoleonic Wars centenary. PSV have a limited European pedigree in comparison with their compatriots Ajax Amsterdam having won one UEFA Cup (1978) and one European Cup (1988). They are 19 times Eriverdisie winners, eight times Dutch Cup Winners and, to the consternation of Spurs fans, they have also won the Peace Cup. (In 2003, which was the year war was declared in Iraq, a case for trading standards?) PSV can rival Ajax for the conveyor belt of talent they are credited with; current manager Ronald Koeman, Ruud Gullit, Romario, Ronaldo, Jaap Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben and Eidur Gudjohnsen have all passed through their doors. Willy van der Kuijlen is widely credited with being their greatest ever, he served them for 18 years from 1964 (their equivalent of Tony Adams).
PSV always seem to have an active transfer window with something of a revolving door of talent leaving them, only to be replaced by other unknown gems. This summer, DaMarcus Beasley and Andre Ooijer left them, yet they accrued forgotten man Patrick Kluivert and Liverpool flop Jan Kromkamp. PSV are an exuberent and quick side grounded in experience. Ivorian forward Arouna Kone will keep his compatriot Toure busy, as he can match 'The Magnificent Toure' for speed and strength. Jefferson Farfan has been called into Robben's stead as he supplies the stock in trade speedy attacking wing play. PSV have a decidedly more sturdy midfield, with the experienced Philip Cocu providing the adhesive effect. But the player to watch is Finn Mika Varynen, distinctive by his ridiculously blond hair. He provides the fodder for Kone and Farfan and he possesses an eye for goal. Eric Addo impressed for Ghana in the World Cup shielding his back four, while Alex, Salcido and Reiziger provide experience and stability at the back. Of the current squad; Jan Kromkamp, Michael Reiziger, Michael Ball and Patrick Kluivert have plied their trade in the Premiership.
PSV'S Hiidink inspired European Cup win in 1988 set an unuaual piece of European Cup history. PSV did not win a single match from the Quarter Final onwards, all five matches were drawn, with PSV disposing of Bordeaux and Real Madrid on away goals and beating Benfica on penalties in the Final. Curiously, they also drew the consequent World Club Cup Final, this time losing on penalties.
PSV Eindhoven is effectively a franchise, as it outlets seventeen other sports teams (a phenomenon more typical of Spain). Their swim club won 8 medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
PSV were also the centre of one of the more bizarre hoaxes in European history. The UEFA Cup was stolen from their stadium, with the culprit and the circumstances unknown for years. One night a Dutch comedian named Theo Maassen was on a sports television talk show in which the guests were discussing rare football artefacts they owned. Maassen bided his time, listening to the other guests pretentious attempts at one upmanship, before calmly pulling the UEFA Cup out of his bag live on air!
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