The last Dutch coal-mines were closed in the 1960s, but the Netherlands' most southern province, Limburg, is still referred to as the Mijnstreek ('mine district') today. The coal-mines are still industrious in folk songs in the regional dialect and in the stories of old miners, reminiscing of an era that will never return. Southern Limburg will always be their home. Their team, in most cases, is Roda JC.
Roda are known as a 'coal-miner's club'. Fans of MVV, from the provincial capital of Maastricht, pronounce those words condescendingly, in Kerkrade and surroundings they are pronounced with pride. Roda JC are Limburg's numbers last club, now that Limburg rivals VVV Venlo, MVV and Fortuna Sittard are relegated from the Eredivisie. Roda's club honours include seven European campaigns and six KNVB cup finals, of which the latter two were won. One of the predecessors in Roda's 'family tree' of mergers, Rapid JC, were champions of the Netherlands in 1956. Ten out of eleven players on that Rapid JC team were coal-miners.
Few Dutch football clubs have such a complex history of mergers as Roda JC (full name: Roda Juliana Combinatie). The story in short: Kerkrade football club (of 1926) and Bleyerheide (of 1914) became Roda Sport in 1954. In the same year Juliana (of 1910) and Rapid (of 1954) became Rapid JC. The two mergers, Roda Sport and Rapid JC, existed for only eight years, forming Roda JC in 1962. The newly born club got promoted to the Eredivisie in 1973 and did not get relegated since. Today, the club play in Parkstad Limburg Stadium.
Since their promotion to the highest level in 1973, Roda finished in the top ten of the Eredivisie more than twenty times. It is one of the select handful of clubs that regularly qualify for 'Europe' and manifest themselves as tough opposition for the 'Big Three'. Roda, for one, reached their all-time high in the 1994-1995 season: the yellow and black side were the only team in the country not to lose to unbeaten national and European champions Ajax. Both league confrontations ended in 1-1 and Roda JC finished second in the Eredivisie, their best league achievement ever.
The club's most memorable European campaign was in 1988-1989, when Roda made it through the winter in the European Cup Winners Cup before succumbing to the superb strikers of Bulgarian PFC CSKA Sofia: Hristo Stoichkov and Emil Kostadinov, who were soon to become superstars in Europe's major football leagues. Roda's most memorable European game, however, was played thirteen years later on 28 February 2002: after a 0-1 defeat to AC Milan in Kerkrade, Roda caused panic at the San Siro by winning the return leg by the same score. Roda even took the lead in the penalty shoot-out, but ended up losing the series. One penalty away from eliminating AC Milan.
Roda's position in Dutch football is best illustrated by their history in the KNVB Cup. Roda were good enough to make it to six finals, but the first three times and the last time the opponent in the final was one of the 'Big Three' - and Roda went home with the silver medal: PSV won in 1976 and 1988, Feyenoord in 1992 and 2008. In the club's latter two cup finals, however, a 'non-Big Three' side was the opponent. Both times the cup went to Kerkrade: Heerenveen were beaten in 1997, NEC in 2000.
Roda can keep up with the big ones, even in times of financial trouble (2002-2003), but without being unfaithful to the real Roda soul. Typically, the club's eternal fan hero was a scion of a local coal-miner's family. A history of Roda would be incomplete without his name: Eugène Hanssen, long-time Roda captain during the 1980s and early 1990s, and still a working-class hero of Limburg's 'mine district'.
|RODA JC MANAGER||FROM||TO|
|Jacques Koole||1971||November 1972|
|Hennie Hollink||November 1972||February 1974|
|Fritz Pliska||February 1974||1974|
|Piet de Visser||1980||1983|
|Hans Eijkenbroek||1984||November 1984|
|Eugene Gerards||November 1984||December 1984|
|Frans Körver||December 1984||1986|
|Rob Baan||1986||October 1987|
|Rob Jacobs||October 1987||1988|
|Adrie Koster||1991||March 1993|
|Huub Stevens||March 1993||1996-10-09|
|Martin Jol||1996-11-01||March 1998|
|Theo Vonk||March 1998||June 1998|
|Jan van Dijk||2001||2001-09-19|