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RIP Johan Cruyff

Aged 7, the 1974 World Cup appeared in my life like a thunderbolt. My head already turned by the 1973 FA Cup Final when Bob Stokoe ran across Wembley’s perfect turf and the year after when Keegan and Heighway defeated Newcastle. I sat for an entire month watching pictures on our little telly from West Germany. I was enthralled.

The orange-shirted Haan, Neeskens, Krol, Jansen, Rensenbrink, Rep, the Van Der Kerkhof brothers and my idol Johan Cruyff were responsible for my falling in love with Charlton. It wasn’t as complicated as it sounds. For a whole year after the 1974 World Cup I nagged my Dad to take me to football, to see close up this game that had captivated me. Total football, the Cruyff Turn, the Arie Haan thunderbolt. My Dad finally caved and took me to the only ground that he was ever going to take me to, The Valley. The rest as they say, is history.

I dedicated my 10-year Blogging anniversary the Dutch no.14 and without any help I can recite that ’74 Dutch team without even thinking. I cried my little eyes out when The Kaiser lifted the trophy in Munich. Today, I felt like crying again when a news flash came up on my email that Johan Cruyff had lost his battle to lung cancer aged just 68.

image6Johan Cryuff was a magician, a trailblazer, a pioneer and he transformed the way football was played. The Dutchman helped take the game of football into a different era. He didn’t just do that once. He did it as a player, a coach and as a manager. A leader, both headstrong and honourable. I have everything to thank him for because he alone, well along with my Dad, are the sole reason why I fell in love with the beautiful game.

As generations move on, there are constant comparisons to football’s greats. The next Maradona, Zidane, Pele, Best. Undoubtedly there will be the next Messi and Ronaldo. But there will never be another Johan Cruyff. RIP.

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. R.I.P Johan you were one of the games greats. We are all sadden at your passing. Teach the angles how to play the game you loved. FOOTBALL. The game has lost a great ambassador but heaven has gained a real gentlemen of the sport we all love. God bless you

    March 24, 2016
  2. I worked in a bar in LLoret de Mar Spain meny years ago. And Johan and team mates from the Amsterdam team would be with him, and use our bar most afternoons.They all new how to party but they were true gentlemen and I’m shore still are to this day. RIP Johan.

    March 24, 2016
  3. ExpatCyp #

    Arguably the best player never to have won the World Cup. The man is dead but the Cruyff turn lives on. Unforgettable !

    March 25, 2016
  4. Jacco #

    As a Dutch Addick it is good to read this very good blog.
    Our nation is shocked by the lost of our biggest hero ever, and therefor it is good to see that people from abroad have so much respect for Johan. Thanks again.

    March 25, 2016
  5. Raith C Chattonell #

    Great tribute CA enjoyed reading that.

    March 25, 2016
  6. Mark #

    Hearing of his sad passing was one of those “oh no……” moments when you hear of the death of someone whom you greatly admired.

    Johan was a man way beyond his time – he led a revolution in football, indeed he was a total footballer. I feel that the game lost its way to a certain degree when he stopped playing and again when he stopped managing.
    He did all of that for a pittance compared to the over-paid prima donnas of today – indeed many of today’s “stars”, who are mere twinklings compared to Johan’s North Star, owe him such a lot in terms of the financial reward and world-wide exposure that they now enjoy…

    Your skill, your artistry, and your dashing play will long live in the memories of everyone who saw you either live or on tv …. rest in peace Johan but enjoy a few kick-abouts with Bestie and the others on that big pitch in the sky.

    March 25, 2016
  7. Yes, a fine tribute. Cruyff was the leader, the fulcrum, of that fantastic Dutch team. 1974 was my first World Cup too. Wonderful memories of a wonderful footballer.

    March 30, 2016

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