‘We are better than the competition’

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ANP
Roda JC player Ouaissa is disappointed after the match against De Graafschap

NOS Footballtoday, 3:27 PM

Barely recovered from one blow, Roda JC took a second. And now the change has to be made to prevent a third and still reach the Premier League. In the play-offs, starting with a double confrontation with NAC, tonight in Breda and Friday in Kerkrade.

So it already went wrong twice; First, the whole of Roda wrongly thought for a few minutes that the club had been promoted, a week later FC Groningen proved to be too strong in a direct duel for the last direct promotion spot.

Yet Ard van Peppen, who played more than a hundred matches for Roda JC and is now the club’s vitality manager, is looking forward to attempt three with confidence. “NAC away is always difficult, so we can get to work. But I think we are the favourites.”

NOS
The schedule in the play-offs for promotion

Van Peppen is logically disappointed with the end of the season, but can put the situation into perspective. “Over an entire season, unfortunately, the final score is correct. It is extremely disappointing that you lose that place on the last match day, but it has been the case for a few weeks that the results could have been better.”

Van Peppen is referring to matches of Roda itself, such as a draw against Jong Ajax, but also to matches of the competition. Willem II and FC Groningen won a lot in the second half of the season and achieved good results at times when it was bad for Roda. As a result, the club still finished third.

“But you can be proud of where we are now as a club. I have the feeling that we are now in good order at Roda, both in terms of organization and ‘football’.” That was sometimes different in the past, with multiple owners in a short time.

Promotion a ‘must’?

Roda’s last minutes in the Premier League date back to 2018. An eternity for a club that plays in a large stadium (capacity: almost 20,000) and was still active in Europe this century, for example. Does that make promotion a ‘must’?

“We could continue in both the first division and the premier league next year,” says Van Peppen. “Because the club’s organization is in good shape. But in the long term we have to get promoted. That is the ambition and we are convinced that we will succeed.”

This season seems ideal for that. Roda JC enters the play-offs as the highest ranked team and has already beaten all competitors this season. “No matter how difficult it will be, we are better than the competition,” says Van Peppen. “We can draw confidence from the previous results. Although past results do not guarantee future results.”

Pro Shots
Vitality manager Van peppen (left) and general manager Peters of Roda JC

Roda will have to do it in Breda without some of the fans. Some supporters’ associations have announced that they will boycott the away match with NAC due to the strict regulations surrounding the purchase of tickets.

For example, Roda was only allowed to bring 500 supporters to an away section that could accommodate 750 people, there was a mandatory bus combination and there were stories that fans with German or Belgian nationality, for example, would not be welcome. The latter is denied by the authorities.

Van Peppen would find it a shame if there were no fans, but is looking forward to the match. “This could be a good moment to shake off the disappointment of Friday.”

The article is in Dutch

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