Football club De Kennemeren is looking for a sports club to collaborate with. Too few volunteers, an aging population and fewer board members and trainers threaten to destroy the club in the long term. Beverwijk’s oldest football club hopes to continue to exist with new partners. “The Jeu De Boules association is also welcome at our sports park!”
The solution to all problems recently seemed near, when De Kennemeren and neighboring football club Jong Hercules decided to merge. But this plan finally failed when the municipality of Beverwijk indicated that it did not agree to Jong Hercules’ demand for a new clubhouse, which would cost around four million.
This closed the door for Young Hercules. Chairman Henk van den Hoff and ex-chairman Marcel Herwegh think it’s a shame. “Collaboration is necessary for the long term, aging is a fact.” By the way, De Kennemeren is not the only club that suffers from this, it is a national problem.
The failure of the merger was a major setback. “It’s as if you are standing in front of the altar and your partner chooses someone else at the last minute,” Herwegh describes. The talks between the clubs were well advanced, but have now come to nothing. And so De Kennemeren finds itself back at the starting point.
And that is more than a shame, because according to the KNVB statistics, the future is bleak. “In the coming years, fewer seniors will be added than will retire. That is a general development and one that Beverwijk will not ignore,” says Herwegh.
The club won’t collapse tomorrow. “But we have to look ahead,” says Van den Hoff. “We are financially healthy, but our volunteers are getting older. If you want to retain enough volunteers, we have to work together and join forces.”
In addition, collaborating with other sports clubs offers several advantages. It strengthens the club’s management, brings financial benefits, promotes economies of scale and can put a stop to declining membership numbers.
Now that a collaboration with Jong Hercules is far away, this means that Beverwijk’s oldest football club must once again look for a suitable partner. “We are going to explore how we can work together, regardless of a merger. If other parties have ideas, we are open to them,” says Herwegh.
The club has a brainstorming group that meets regularly to discuss various issues. The question of what to do next was also discussed. “Very nice things have already been devised, but until these have been worked out in more concrete terms, I don’t want to say anything about them yet,” says Van den Hoff. Herwegh adds: “We should think more about omnisports.”
The football club is prepared for any form of cooperation. “Whether it concerns korfball or Jeu De Boules. It doesn’t matter to us. We simply want to join forces. Fortunately, the municipality has helped us well and is still ready to support us in discussions about possible collaborations “See this as an open application,” says Van den Hoff.