Rudi Krol

May 25, 2009 at 4:49 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 1 Comment

Other than Alan Ball, it is hard to think of a bigger player who played for the Whitecaps than Rudi Krol.  Krol played in two world cup finals for Holland, played for the almighty Ajax of the early seventies, and played for Napoli in Italy as well. 

The Vancouver Whitecaps of 1980 were not a happy team.  After the 1979 Soccer Bowl victory in Giant’s Stadium over the Tampa Bay Rowdies, the players fell out with management over bonuses. Apparently, the story goes that English teams would match the prize money given to players after they had won a cup like the FA Cup.  The NASL gave the Players a winning bonus, but the Whitecaps refused to match the bonus.  There was a big dispute and there were hard feelings, which bled over in to the 1980 squad.  

Players who were key to the Soccer Bowl drive, Willie Johnston and Alan Ball, left mid season in 1980.   

Ruud Krol came into the squad part way into the 1980 season and it was hoped that his presence would galvanize the squad.  It did not work, however.   The 1980 team was a huge disappointment. The team went out early in the playoffs. losing to Seattle, of all teams… 

When Ruud came to town there was a huge buzz about his signing, and the excitement was palpable. To sign a player who had played in the World Cup final just two years earlier was quite a coup for our little “village”.  I must confess that I was in awe of him, and after our team had been composed of players from Great Britain, to have a Dutchman in the squad was quite exotic!  

As a player Krol was strikingly composed and graceful, a player whose brain was just as important as his strength.  He was a part of the Dutch revolution in football, which was called “Total Football”, or as some called it the “Clockwork Orange”.   Krol played with the brilliant Johann Cryuff at Ajax and with Holland. Cryuff was the player who personified Total Football. The fact the Dutch never won a World Cup during this period is one of the injustices of football history, rather like the failure of the Hungarians to win the World Cup.

There is not much information on the time that Krol spent with the Whitecaps.  If anyone has any memories, please let me know.

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  1. I was at a game when Rudi Krol played against Johann Cruyff. Still remember them walking and chatting during the pre-game warm up on the field. Found it hard to believe they didn’t converse prior to the game! Anyway, that was the most vivid memory of that game for me. Rudi Krol is my favorite Whitecaps fullback of all-time! I also wanted to mention Peter Beardsley was unbelievable when he played with the Whitecaps as well.


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