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am 19. September 2000
I will tell you right off that I've been waiting for this book for 26 years. I, like the author, fell for the "total football" of Ajax Amsterdam (a Dutch soccer club which won three consecutive European Cups-'71,'72,'73) and the Dutch national soccer team, which impressed the world during the 1974 and 1978 World Cups. Being an American, I was starved for information about this generation of players who brought a revolution in tactical thinking to world soccer. I'm sure a lot was written about them at the time (some still is), but most of it was not in English or not easily availble in the States. I was convinced at the time that the progressive thinking of these teams must be, in some part, a function of the Dutch mentality. This book is an attempt to show that connection. The chapters essentially alternate between factual information and interviews with some former players and coaches and factual information and interviews with people unrelated to soccer but involved in other creative areas, i.e. architecture, art, etc. The book is not all about the positive side, either. The Dutch national soccer team has had a history of self-destructing at important tournaments and this too is linked with certain aspects of Dutch thinking.
The book also covers some of the more recent vintages of Ajax and the Dutch national team in the same way. This shows not only a continuity of cultural thought, but also helps to deal with situations that occurred after the early '70's, such as the influx of other ethnicities into the soccer teams, and the accompanying problems this brought.
"Brilliant Orange" is essential reading for all those who love Dutch soccer. But it will also be entertaining and insightful for anyone interested in the way cultural thought manifests itself in specific areas of life.
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