Soccer fight club continues to grow

The first rule of Fight Club is that they are located in the central Netherlands, an hour’s drive from Rotterdam.

The second rule is that we should all talk about them, as they’ve made one of the most intriguing managerial appointments of the season.

Dutch second-division strugglers Den Bosch – whose very name sounds like one of those cartoon words that flashed up on screen during fights in the Adam West-era Batman TV series – have appointed ex-kickboxer René van Eck as their new coach.

It’s a move that continues soccer’s long association with the martial arts: ex-FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman is a master of self-defense, who can bring a grown man to his knees with just a touch.

Of course we all know about beach soccer legend, actor, and sometime kung-fu maestro Eric Cantona.


This tete-a-boot between West Ham teammates Eyal Berkovic and John Hartson in 1998.


And pretty much every tackle Nigel de Jong has ever made.


Says the Guardian: “Van Eck, whose last managerial role was at German side Alemannia Aachen in 2013 but spent four years at Den Bosch as a player, is known for his unorthodox approach to training, having previously used kickboxing methods to prepare his teams. A close friend of the former world champion Xhavit Bajrami, Van Eck has alternated between the two sports since retiring as a player in 2001.”

A training session at one of his former clubs left a player with a split lip. Also, because he’s not quirky enough, Van Eck “takes his pet labrador to every training session”. To bite players if they’re not showing enough aggression, probably.