Hard to walk, visually impaired, fan of FC Emmen and finally attending a home game again. Supporters Jan and Hannie can’t believe their luck with a new elevator at the stadium

They really wanted to, but for the last three years they couldn’t: visit a home game of FC Emmen. On Sunday, Jan Wolters (73) and Hannie IJzer-Kremer (74) were back in the stands. Thanks to a brand new elevator that took them there.

Jan Wolters and Hannie IJzer-Kremer move forward with great difficulty. Wolters has already fallen several times while walking and IJzer-Kremer uses braces that give her legs extra support from top to bottom.

Both Emmen residents are also visually extremely limited. ,,I only see three percent and Jan even less”, says IJzer-Kremer. Still, they like to go to FC Emmen’s home matches. They are football fans and supporters of the only professional club in Drenthe.

“Even if you see nothing or hardly anything, it is nice to be in the stadium. The atmosphere you experience there when you listen to the live match report with one ear is very different from sitting at home”, says Wolters. For years they were present in almost every home game. Then they were able to climb the high steps of the grandstands with the help of their supervisors. About three years ago that became too risky, so there was no other option than to stay at home. FC Emmen has a place on the ground floor in front of the main stand for people in wheelchairs and other disabled people, but there is no room there anymore.

‘Very well spent’

Wolters and IJzer-Kremer are not the only supporters who had to drop out for physical reasons. The supporters association Rood Wit thought that this was no longer possible. An action was launched to purchase a lift for the East Stand. So that people like Wolters and IJzer-Kremer can simply encourage their favorite club with their supervisors along the line. Rood Wit put money into the pot and the municipality of Emmen, sponsors and the social foundation FC Emmen Naoberschap also contributed.

“In total it cost 30,000 euros. No minor behavior, but very well spent”, says Johan Huizinga of the supporters association. “There are plans for a new stadium. We assume that the elevator can also be used there. If that is not the case, we can return the lift to the supplier and then we will receive an acceptable amount for it. Diagonally behind the east stand, according to Huizinga, is a place where people who have to use the lift can park their car ( let) park.

Safe upstairs

With some ceremony, the lift was put into use on Sunday before the game against FC Twente. The device initially faltered, but Wolters and IJzer-Kremer surfaced safely. Then they and their supervisors Jeffrey Kamps (24) and Jan Hoiting (73) sat down on chairs in the front row of the grandstand. The weather and the atmosphere were fine, the end result on the field not for FC Emmen and its fans. We lost 0-3. But for Wolters and IJzer-Kremer there are no longer any obstacles in the stadium to be present again next time.