Go Ahead Eagles

Go Ahead Eagles (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɡoː əˈɦɛt ˈiɡəls]) are a Dutch professional football club from the city of Deventer. They play in the Eredivisie, the top tier of Dutch football, having achieved promotion from the second tier Eerste Divisie in the 2020-21 season. The club's home stadium since 1920 is De Adelaarshorst. The club have won the national championship on four occasions, in 1917, 1922, 1930 and 1933.

They have produced numerous notable players including Raimond van der Gouw, Rene Eijkelkamp, Marc Overmars, Paul Bosvelt, Jan Kromkamp, Victor Sikora, Bert van Marwijk and Demy de Zeeuw while providing Henk ten Cate and Leo Beenhakker with their first tastes of management.

History

Early successes

The club was founded in 1902 as Be Quick by the Hollander brothers. The name was soon changed to Go Ahead at the request of the Dutch Football Association in 1905.

Go Ahead started in the second-tier Tweede Klasse. In 1911, the club reached promotion to the Eastern Eerste Klasse. In 1916, Go Ahead became champions of the Eastern Eerste Klasse for the first time, after which they faced off for the national championship in a competition with the other regional champions. In this championship playoffs for the national championship, however, the southern champions from Willem II proved too strong. A year later, however, Go Ahead took their first league title, a feat repeated in 1922, 1930 and 1933.

In the period between the First and Second World War, Go Ahead was by far the most successful team in the Eastern league. The club won the regional championship fifteen times during that period, and even won the title eight times in a row from 1916 to 1923. The last pre-war Eastern Championship was won in 1937. After that, the club fell on tough times. In 1941, Go Ahead suffered relegation to the Tweede Klasse. The following year, they promoted again. In 1948, the club became champion of the Eastern First Division for the sixteenth and final time. In the playoffs for the national championship with the other regional champions, Go Ahead finished third behind eventual champions, BVV Den Bosch, and Heerenveen.

Professionalism and Europe

The introduction of professionalism in 1954 was initially unsuccessful for Go Ahead. In 1956, the club finished second to last in the Tweede Divisie. In 1959, promotion to the Eerste Divisie was secured. On 7 October 1962, Go Ahead recorded their biggest win in club history. In Deventer the final score was 11–1 against Roda JC. Promotion to the top-tier Eredivisie followed in 1963. In the twenty-four years that followed, the club continuously played at the highest level. Especially in the second half of the sixties, Go Ahead did well in the Eredivisie. For example, from 1966 to 1969, the club finished in the top five four times in a row, with the 1967–68 season as high point when Go Ahead finished third behind Ajax and Feijenoord.

Go Ahead also had successes in the KNVB Cup in that period. The club reached the semi-finals four times in a row from 1965 to 1968. Those of 1966, 1967 and 1968 were lost, but in 1965, Go Ahead reached the final. This was lost 1–0 to Feijenoord, but because Feijenoord was also national champion, Go Ahead qualified for European football. In the first round, Scottish side Celtic, who would eventually go on to win the European Cup a season later, was drawn. Go Ahead lost the two legs, 0–1 and 6–0.

On 1 July 1971, the suffix "Eagles" was added, following a suggestion from then head coach Barry Hughes, as the professional department of Go Ahead separated from the parent club. The eagle is the charge in the coat of arms of the city of Deventer. The club had a strong start with their new name. Go Ahead Eagles were famously the only side to defeat Ajax in any competition during the 1971–72 season when they won 3–2 at De Adelaarshorst in the Eredivisie.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Go Ahead Eagles was a stable Eredivisie club. Relegation followed in 1987. A short Eredivisie period followed from 1992 to 1996, but afterwards the club played in the second-tier Eerste Divisie. Partly due to the constant postponement of the construction of a new stadium, major financial concerns arose. Thanks to the help of investors, the club managed to survive. In exchange for that help, the investors acquired 80% of the club's shares. The club is thus privately owned. The determining factor was former chairman Hans de Vroome, who owns approximately 25% of the shares.

Recent seasons

After almost two decades in the Eerste Divisie, Go Ahead won promotion to the 2013–14 Eredivisie at the end of the 2012–13 season, winning the promotion play-offs. The club remained in the top division for the 2014–15 season, finishing 13th.

Go Ahead Eagles would compete in Europe in the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League due to the Netherlands' first place in UEFA Respect Fair Play ranking. National Fair Play winner Twente withdrew due to financial difficulties, making the place for Go Ahead Eagles. However, they also suffered relegation after losing 2–0 on aggregate to De Graafschap in the May 2015 promotion/relegation play-offs. In July 2015, they were beaten 2–5 on aggregate by Hungarian side Ferencvaros in the first Europa League qualifying round with the home leg played in Emmen due to the Adelaarshorst being renovated, and the away leg without spectators because the Hungarians were serving a ban by UEFA.

The club bounced back to the Eredivisie on the first attempt in May 2016 after beating De Graafschap 5–2 on aggregate in the promotion/relegation play-offs, but were relegated again at the end of the 2016–17 season.

In May 2021, Go Ahead finished second in the Eerste Divisie, earning promotion back to the Eredivisie after four seasons in the second tier.

This page also has a version in other languages:  Гоу Эхед Иглс (russian)

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