“The winner takes it all, the loser has to fall.” So declared Agnetha Fältskog in ABBA’s acclaimed 1980 single. Regardless of the metropolis serving as house to the band’s official fan membership, it’s extremely unlikely this track was written with Roosendaal Boys Combinatie in thoughts. However, one can be arduous pressed to discover a extra applicable anthem for this Dutch soccer membership, who in the area of six years went from mixing it with Ajax to enjoying in the tenth division.
Beginning from the starting, the membership generally referred to as RBC have been based in 1912 in Roosendaal. A metropolis of some 80,000 in the southern province of North Brabant, it’s famed for being a regional railway hub and headquarters of the KCT, a Dutch commando unit.
One in every of the fundamental exports from the metropolis is certainly RBC, who took on their present identify in 1927. For the majority of their existence they’ve performed in the decrease reaches of Dutch soccer, with the membership being newbie as lately as 1983. Earlier than then that they had loved a spell in the Eerste Divisie, the second tier, though in 1971 have been banished to newbie soccer owing to a league restructuring.
Promotion to the Eerste Divisie regained skilled standing, and RBC quickly gained nationwide notoriety. Reaching the 1986 KNVB Beker ultimate while nonetheless a second division aspect, they might sadly be no match for Ajax, who beat them Three-Zero. With that, the membership would transfer out of the limelight for the subsequent decade or so.
This was till the 1999/2000 season when, in Robert Maaskant’s first teaching job, RBC stunned everybody to attain the playoffs. In the Netherlands, these are extra in depth than different European leagues, with eight groups, together with relegation-threatened Eredivisie golf equipment, cut up between two teams. Six video games are performed and the two first-placed sides earn the proper to play in the following season’s prime flight.
Positioned in a difficult draw with Zwolle, who had ended the common season with 17 extra factors, Excelsior and Eredivisie outfit Cambuur, RBC gained three and drew two of their six video games. Incomes a extra level than Zwolle, this meant a primary top-flight promotion in the membership’s historical past. Sadly, it was to show an excessive amount of of a step up, with RBC ending backside after profitable simply 4 video games all season.
Undeterred, the membership have been to bounce again instantly with one other slender playoff triumph, this time at the expense of Den Bosch. RBC led to the relative consolation of 13th of their first season again, some 4 factors away from the playoffs, main to a number of years of first division soccer.
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While performances have been admittedly unspectacular, it’s truthful to say simply being in the Eredivisie was far past RBC’s wildest goals. Keep in mind that this was a membership that till lately had been enjoying novice soccer. They weren’t used to enjoying such giants as Ajax and PSV, each of whom have been drawn with in the 2003/04 season. This marketing campaign additionally included a document excessive of 12th.
Issues, nevertheless, weren’t really easy the following yr, with the familiarity of the playoffs wanted to retain top-flight standing. If something, such wrestle foreshadowed two nice declines.
First got here the 2005/06 season, the spotlight of which was a 2-Zero win over NEC Nijmegen. It might not sound like a lot, however sadly there weren’t any others to select. RBC ended their four-year top-flight spell in embarrassment, ending all-time low with the lowest factors return in Eredivisie historical past: a grand complete of 9 from 34 matches.
In 2006/07 they have been shut to one other immediate return, though narrowly misplaced 2-1 on combination to Excelsior in the playoffs. A number of seasons of monetary mismanagement and second-tier mediocrity adopted, culminating in a catastrophic collection of occasions in 2011 that have been to sign the demise of RBC Roosendaal.
Having drunk from the waters of the Eredivisie, RBC tried to get again there, spending past their means. In November 2009, it was revealed €500,000 wanted to be urgently raised to guarantee the membership’s survival, with enforced finances cuts hampering efforts on the pitch.
Two weeks after narrowly avoiding the drop in the 2010/11 Eerste Divisie, RBC introduced they might not meet mortgage prices on their MariFlex Area. In determined search of a €1m assure from the Municipality of Roosendaal, this was rejected by an awesome majority of 29 votes to 5 on 30 Might 2011.
To the supporters it signalled recreation over, with a small numbers gathering outdoors the stadium to lay flowers and console each other. Maaskant remarked: “I can barely control my tears,” whereas Pierre van Hooijdonk, who kickstarted his profession at RBC having been rejected by NAC Breda, labelled affairs “a great pity”. A number of potential buyers and an formidable plan to merge with NAC have been explored, however in the finish, each avenues have been to flip into cul-de-sacs.
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One has to ask questions right here of the Roosendaal municipality, who appeared most apathetic to RBC’s plight. Nevertheless, any potential chapter stood to place an enormous monetary burden on the metropolis, with the municipal authorities appearing as guarantor to the €Three.4m mortgage on the MariFlex Area. With RBC ceasing to exist, that meant all monetary legal responsibility transferred over to the municipality, which doesn’t often have to cope with such big numbers. Promoting the stadium was additionally out of the query, with discovering a purchaser seemingly unattainable.
It appeared more and more doubtless the membership wouldn’t play at any degree in the 2011/12 season. These fears have been confirmed when a day later RBC filed for chapter. Bailiffs entered the MariFlex Area every week prior to the verdict, eradicating synthetic turf from the premises alongside rented automobiles. Then got here eight June 2011, when a courtroom in Breda declared RBC Roosendaal bankrupt.
In the midst of this, the KNVB afforded every week additional to the membership to decide whether or not they might restart as an newbie membership. The date of 15 June arrived, the consequence grimly summarised in a slicing board assertion that merely learn: “We did not succeed.” An extra drawback involved the proven fact that, in the eyes of the KNVB, RBC had ceased to exist, and any continuation can be seen as a brand new membership.
This level is one thing that RBC fought profusely, with a bitter confrontation with the KNVB that lasted a number of months. The brand new board demanded a spot in the Hoofdklasse, the second highest degree of newbie soccer in the Netherlands and what was then the fourth tier, citing superior fan base and historical past. The KNVB, nevertheless, have been unmoved, viewing the new entity as precisely that. This meant RBC have been pressured to begin once more from the very backside, getting into the depths of the tenth division.
For a membership that simply 5 years earlier had been enjoying in the Eredivisie, the shock should have been spectacular. Such feeling was eloquently summarised by Noud Bominaar, a member of the membership’s new board: “RBC is not dead, but lying in a very deep coma.”
So as to carry out the required resuscitation, the new board wrote to 575 beneficiaries asking for his or her help. The goal was to increase a minimum of €100,000, a determine that was simply achieved after ex-players resembling Van Hooijdonk, Henk Vos and Rob Penders chipped in, alongside coach Maaskant. Additional members have been efficiently sourced at a becoming a member of charge of €75 per head, which means on 2 December 2011 the new RBC affiliation was formally established.
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The membership registered for the 2012/13 Vijfde Klasse, nevertheless issues remained far from settled. RBC lastly had a league to play in, however seemingly nowhere to play. The municipality continued to be uncooperative, arguing there was no want for a tenth soccer group in the metropolis, while native golf equipment refused to floor share. In the finish, RBC have been pressured out of the metropolis, ending up on a area in the close by village of Wouwse Plantage.
After a season out of soccer, RBC resumed proceedings on 31 July 2012, precisely a century after the institution of the membership. It was a full eight divisions under the place that they had final performed. In the meantime, there have been simply 18 gamers in the complete squad. Nevertheless, just one factor really mattered: every and each considered one of them was sporting an orange shirt emblazoned with the letters RBC.
The brand new period opened with a 2-1 win over MOC ’17 and continued on this trend to finish in the league title. It was the tenth tier of Dutch soccer however RBC have been slowly on their means again.
A welcome return to Roosendaal got here in time for the following season, with RBC returning residence to the now renamed Herstaco Stadion. Central to this was new chairman Jos Hermsen, whose brother Paul had bought the floor shortly after it fell into the municipality’s palms. He proceeded to renovate the dilapidated pitch earlier than renting it out to RBC, making certain they might resume enjoying in the metropolis.
Regardless of now possessing a stadium of Eredivisie normal, on the pitch RBC failed to reside up to this. In 2013/14 they have been fortunate not to get right into a relegation battle, levelling off in eighth place earlier than two failed promotion makes an attempt. The 2016/17 season, nevertheless, noticed one other ascent on the lengthy climb again to their rightful place, with RBC topped champions of the Vierde Klasse.
A weird 2017/18 noticed RBC begin off in a relegation scrap, though they went on an excellent run in the second half of the season to climb the desk and finish in the playoffs. Sadly they have been to blow it in a recreation with Unitas ’30, throwing away Three-1 and Four-2 leads in the second half to lose on penalties. It might seem the playoffs will not be required this time round, with RBC wanting confidently at the seventh tier above them.
Ought to issues go in accordance to plan, RBC will go up to the Tweede Klasse subsequent season. For a membership that simply over a decade earlier than have been enjoying in the prime division, this will likely seem demeaning. On the opposite, RBC Roosendaal are one in every of the greatest examples you can find of how soccer golf equipment, regardless of how hostile the circumstances, typically discover a means to survive.
By James Kelly @jkell403
With thanks to RBC Roosendaal press officer Paul Kuipers for his invaluable assist.