An afternoon at the PLUS in Wildervank, Dick Lukkien’s thermometer when it comes to FC Groningen

The PLUS in Wildervank is an ordinary supermarket in itself. But FC Groningen coach Dick Lukkien doesn’t just get his groceries there. In the aisle he is also casually told what is going on with the Pride of the North.

Just an afternoon in the Wildervank shopping center. An elderly man sits in a mobility scooter in front of the entrance to the PLUS. When he looks to the left, he sees the monumental villas on the other side of the Oosterdiep. To his right are Restaria Royaal, pizzeria-grillroom Cairo, Chinese-Indian restaurant King Man and hair salon Fenneke (also without an appointment).

The sun comes out every now and then, but it is very cold on Apollolaan. June, the month in which Dick Lukkien was presented at FC Groningen, seems like an eternity ago. He was very proud in the summer. The trainer did everything he could to bring the Pride of the North back to the Premier League.

Feeling temperature at FC Groningen

Lukkien illustrated his assignment with an example from everyday life. A day before the presentation, the most famous resident of Wildervank was approached by a fan in the PLUS. The message he was given while shopping: enough talk, time for action.

The supermarket now seems to be his thermometer when it comes to the perceived temperature at FC Groningen.

Now it is October. The grumpiness is back. Never completely gone either. FC Groningen is still a gray middle class in the KKD. The gap to leader Roda JC is already enormous. When Lukkien shuffles between the shelves in the PLUS, the polonaise will not immediately start.

The elderly man in the mobility scooter at the entrance shrugs his shoulders. Great trainer, that Dick Lukkien. No, he hasn’t encountered him yet in the bread department or at the dairy. Elsewhere in the village, by the way. Shut up, he would at most say to him. It can always be worse. When he still walked like a lapwing, he regularly walked to De Langeleegte. But SC Veendam is no more.

‘Dick Lukkien? Never seen’

In the meantime, supermarket visitors are coming and going in the parking lot. But most people are not looking forward to talking about FC Groningen while loading the trunk. “Dick Lukkien? Never seen.”

It still happened in front of the Fenneke hair salon (closed on Mondays). Two women are talking to each other. Yes, they have bumped into Dick Lukkien in the supermarket. Nice guy. Remained very normal too. Although there is of course little to celebrate now. He has looked tired on TV lately. It’s no small feat, they say. That pressure at FC Groningen. Just stand there.

Oh well, says the elderly man in the mobility scooter in front of the entrance to the PLUS. Dick Lukkien has to continue doing his shopping here. He won’t say anything. But if Lukkien is wise, he will strike before Friday evening. And then immediately for a whole week. Saves money, a few rides and, not unimportantly, a lot less hassle.

Reporter Ernst Slagter describes FC Groningen’s unwanted adventure in the first division in Let us cheer again once a week. This is episode 14. Read the latest episodes below.