PEC Zwolle is a Dutch football club based in Zwolle, currently playing in the Eredivisie, the country's highest level of professional club football. They have played in the Eredivisie for a total of 16 seasons, reaching sixth place in 2015. They won the KNVB Cup in 2014 and also reached the final in 1928, 1977 and 2015.
This is the second incarnation of the club; its predecessor of the same name went bankrupt in 1990. The current club was founded immediately afterwards as FC Zwolle before renaming back to PEC Zwolle in 2012.
PEC was founded on 12 June 1910, the name being an abbreviation of PH EDN Combinatie (PH EDN Combination). The club was formed by a merger of Prins Hendrik (1 April 1906; Prince Henry) and Ende Desespereert Nimmer (1904; And Never Despair). PEC has been a professional football club since 23 February 1955. The club name was changed to PEC Zwolle in 1971 and to PEC Zwolle '82 in 1982. Instantly after the bankruptcy a new name was chosen for the new club: FC Zwolle. On 14 April 2012, after the promotion, the club name was changed back to PEC Zwolle.
PEC was one of Zwolle's three top football clubs, along with ZAC (founded in 1893) and Zwolsche Boys (1918). ZAC was associated with the local high society, Zwolsche Boys were associated with the working class, while PEC was the club of the local middle class. There was considerable rivalry between these three clubs, especially between Zwolsche Boys and PEC. Not only were their stadiums within walking distance from each other, the clubs frequently met each other in league matches.
Despite this rivalry, PEC and Zwolsche Boys merged in 1969, taking the name PEC. In 1971, this became PEC Zwolle, in an attempt to promote the image of the city of Zwolle. In 1977, PEC Zwolle reached the finals of the KNVB Cup, losing to Twente in extra time, and missed out on promotion to the Eredivisie by one point. In 1978, the club won the Dutch first division title and was promoted to the Eredivisie for the first time in its history. In its first season in the Eredivisie, the club finished eighth, which remained PEC Zwolle's highest ever league position until finishing sixth in 2014–15. Their most impressive result that season was a 0–1 away victory at PSV. These results were achieved by a talented group of players bought from other clubs, such as Rinus Israel. The money for this came from the Slavenburg's bank, which was led by FC Zwolle chairman Jan Willem van der Wal. By 1982, the club had built up a debt of six million guilders and was on the verge of bankruptcy.
PEC Zwolle '82
Real estate developer Marten Eibrink took over power in PEC Zwolle in 1982. He managed to end the debt and restructured the club, which was epitomized by a change in the name: PEC Zwolle '82. He also had the club's stadium renovated and decided to name the stadium's main stand the Johan Cruyff Stand, because Johan Cruyff had played his last official match against PEC Zwolle '82 on 13 May 1984. Eibrink brought legendary players like Piet Schrijvers, Johnny Rep and Cees van Kooten to the club. The club managed to revive, but the revival was short-lived. In 1985, PEC Zwolle '82 were relegated to the Dutch first division, largely due to an injury-ridden main squad. They managed to return after only one season, having finished in second place. That team was led by the coach Co Adriaanse and the player Foeke Booy. Eibrink, however, grew increasingly disappointed in sponsors and local authorities, accusing them of not loving the club in the way that he did, and he left the club in 1988. Despite a promising start to the 1988–89 season, the club finished in 16th place, which meant that it was relegated to the First Division. The financial crisis worsened, as sponsors refused to invest in the club any longer. The players' wages could not be paid, and a debt to the Slavenburg's bank appeared which had been overseen by the board for around ten years. This led to the club's bankruptcy in March 1990.
After the bankruptcy, it was decided that the club had to sever all ties with the troubled finances of the past and make a fresh start. The club got a new name (FC Zwolle), a new organisational structure, new sponsors, new club colours (blue-white shirts with white shorts instead of green-white shirts with black shorts) and a new crest. The first years of the 'new' club were hard, but after 1992–93, a new team filled with talents such as Jaap Stam (who would later play for PSV, Manchester United, Lazio, Milan and Ajax), Bert Konterman (Feyenoord and Rangers), Johan Hansma (Heerenveen) and Henri van der Vegt (Udinese) played attractive and successful football. In 1992–93, FC Zwolle narrowly missed promotion to the Eredivisie. In the KNVB Cup, FC Zwolle reached the quarter-finals, losing to Feyenoord in a penalty shootout.
After many failed attempts in the play-offs, FC Zwolle finally managed to secure a return to the Eredivisie by winning the First Division in 2002. In the 2002–03 Eredivisie season, the club finished in 16th place and escaped relegation via the play-offs. A year later, they made a miserable start to the season, and had scored only seven points halfway through the season. An impressive run, with victories over the likes of SC Heerenveen and AZ, proved in vain, as FC Zwolle dropped from a 16th place (which would have placed them in the play-offs) to the 18th place (direct relegation) on the last day of the season. They lost 7–1 away at Feyenoord, while their rivals Vitesse and Volendam managed to beat their opponents Utrecht and RBC Roosendaal.
At the beginning of the 2004–05 season, FC Zwolle was considered one of the favourites for the title in the First Division, along with Sparta Rotterdam. However, it was another club from the province of Overijssel, Heracles Almelo, that won the title. FC Zwolle finished the season in fourth place, and had to play play-off matches against the second- and sixth-placed teams of the First Division (Sparta and Helmond Sport) and the 17th-placed team of the Eredivisie, De Graafschap. They finished bottom of their group, with one point from six matches, while Sparta won the group and clinched promotion and De Graafschap was relegated.
The 2005–06 season started well, with FC Zwolle fighting for the league's top spot in the first months. However, the results dwindled in November and December. Angry supporters threatened trainer-coach Hennie Spijkerman after a 0–5 home defeat against Excelsior, and Spijkerman resigned a few days later. The club's chairman announced that he would crack down on the supporters involved, and said that some had already received stadium bans of up to 9 years. Spijkerman's assistant trainer Harry Sinkgraven finished the season, leading the club to the play-offs, in which Eredivisie side Willem II proved too strong.
Former Feyenoord and Ajax player Jan Everse, who had already trained the club between 1996 and 1999, was presented as the new trainer-coach. He was faced with financial problems at the club, and the departure of key striker Santi Kolk. Many players from the club's youth teams were brought into the main squad, with mixed results. The team ended at the ninth place of the table during the 2006–07 season.
During the 2010–11 season, FC Zwolle held the top spot for a long time, but had to leave the title to RKC Waalwijk. Zwolle ended in 2nd place and didn't achieve promotion. The 2011–12 season was more successful. FC Zwolle won the title and secured their return to the Eredivisie in the 2012–13 season.
First trophies and European appearance
Shortly after winning the championship of the Eerste Divisie, the club announced that the name will be changed to PEC Zwolle again.
In 2014, under the guidance of new head coach Ron Jans, PEC Zwolle earned their first major silverware by winning the KNVB Cup, beating league champions Ajax 5–1 in the final. Thus, PEC Zwolle qualified for the UEFA Europa League for the first time. On 3 August 2014, PEC Zwolle also won the 2014 Johan Cruijff Schaal (Dutch Supercup) by defeating AFC Ajax, this time by 1–0.
By winning the KNVB Cup, PEC Zwolle qualified for the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League. In the play-off round, Zwolle played AC Sparta Prague and after a 1–1 draw in Zwolle it lost 3–1 in Prague, losing 1–4 on aggregate.
This page also has a version in other languages: ПЕК Зволле (russian)