AZ without support in Poland for a crucial match: “Logical decision”

The AZ selection landed in Poland this afternoon, where the Alkmaarders are preparing for the crucial European match against Legia Warsaw. In the Polish cauldron, AZ will have to do without the support of its own supporters tomorrow evening. “A logical decision,” says AZ fan Henk. “You shouldn’t take any risks for your fans in these types of matches, so it’s very sensible of AZ.”

AZ supporters – Photo: Pro Shots/Jasper Ruhe

“We really wanted to go to this competition in Warsaw,” says Henk. The loyal AZ fan is often there when his club has to act European. Henk was also present in London last season, when the Alkmaarders took on West Ham United in the semi-finals. “We are now being denied this trip to Poland. It’s a shame, because there is a lot at stake and AZ could have used our support.”

“Neutral terrain”

AZ informed its supporters at an earlier stage that there were no tickets for sale for this match. “It is very logical that AZ has done this,” says René. The AZ supporter from Waarland is almost always present at European away matches. “I actually hoped that this match would take place on neutral ground without supporters from both clubs. Seemed the most fair to me given the skirmishes earlier this season.”

That will not happen, because this last group match of the Conference League will take place at the home of Legia Warsaw: Wojska Polskiego. Probably with about thirty thousand fanatical Polish fans. René: “Normally you are already behind 1-0 when there are so many supporters against you. The audience can often be a twelfth man. On the other hand, fans do not kick the ball, the AZ players have to do that themselves.”

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In sunny and warm Spanish Malaga, Alkmaar supporter Henk is now following his club’s match tomorrow. “When Warsaw was cancelled, the five of us flew here. We are now watching the match against Legia Warsaw in the pub.”


Not bad of course, although Henk is not happy with this whole situation with the Polish club. “I find it annoying that we are coming forward in this way, although I think AZ could do little about it at the home game at the beginning of October.” Unfortunately, it is not the first time that trouble has broken out at the Alkmaar club. Last season the home match against West Ham United also got completely out of hand. “For years, AZ was known as a family club,” Henk continues his argument. “Only recently the atmosphere has become a bit more fanatical, which I personally appreciate. Unfortunately, it is accompanied by these types of incidents and that is not good for the club.”

AZ landed in Poland on Wednesday afternoon. The club says that this is a somewhat different trip than normal. For example, the traditional city walk has been canceled tomorrow morning. Now the selection stays in the hotel on the morning of the match day. Furthermore, the Alkmaar club does not want to elaborate too much about other precautions.

“Behavior of supporters that I absolutely do not approve of,” Henk is clear about football violence. “Yet I don’t think you can only point at supporters. AZ is sometimes good at that, because I think the club should sometimes provide better guidance.”

Goalkeeper dilemma

Then there is the goalkeeper’s dilemma. Who will take over for the injured Mathew Ryan? The older and more experienced Hobie Verhulst or the great talent Rome-Jayden Owusu Oduro. René: “Let Verhulst play the matches this week against Legia and PSV. They are crucial matches and I think the risk is too great to start with Owuso-Oduro. Let him play goalkeeper in the cup match with HHC Hardenberg.” An opinion that Henk does not share. “Owusu-Oduro is a great talent. Show it and throw him to the lions.”

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Rome Jayden Owusu-Oduro dives for the ball – Photo: Orange Pictures

Both supporters obviously hope that AZ will win in Poland, but are anything but certain. “I keep it a bit at 50-50,” René says. The AZ fan will now watch the match tomorrow in the supporters’ home in the stadium. The Alkmaarders must win against Legia Warsaw to hibernate in the Conference League.

Legia Warsaw – AZ starts tomorrow evening at 6.45 pm. You can follow the report of this competition here on our site.

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