In his first life, he was a professional football player. An injury ended his career prematurely, he could have been huge, now he was only big in Belgium (where he spent the best years of his playing days), representing his country a few times in the Dutch national team. As the end was near, he was asked to write a column about football in a newspaper. He was different from others. He saw the beauty in missing chances. He loved heroic struggles and was soon seen as a dreamer. Someone who noticed details though sometimes missed the main story. He was very pleasant to read.
Nowadays, after playing football and writing columns, his third career as a TV pundit/critic/expert has opened doors. His popularity grows. This book consists of columns and stories from years ago, put together and republished. Over 400 pages about the beauty of sport. About players who should have been great, but never were. About the shorts of the Italian football team, about away games in East Groningen, the region of his childhood days, about red tape in extremis, about the viewpoint of a cameraman at a women's hockey team, about the Swiss German accent of former legend Neeskens, about applause substitutions inflation and a zillion other things.
I love his style, his eye for the unusual, sometimes dream of writing one column in his league. There are two other collections waiting for me, this was only part one. I'll keep them on the shelves a bit longer. Just to know that I've got them coming still.