Saturday, May 14, 2022 at 09:13• Mart Oude Nijeweeme • Last update: 11:36

Toon Gerbrands will retire on Sunday after twenty years as club director. The 64-year-old general manager of PSV will be succeeded by Marcel Brands after this season. Gerbrands has been employed by the Eindhoven club since 2014. Before that he worked at AZ, the DSB skating team and the Dutch volleyball team. The driver experienced his lowest point at PSV, where he had to deal with persistent threats regarding the dismissal of head coach Mark van Bommel. “I accept that my Twitter will explode. Only then everything took too long.”

Gerbrands experienced many highlights during his career, but is in his farewell interview in the General Newspaper also consider the dark side of football. “I can say it now: the most undisputed topic in the football world is personal threats and how to deal with them,” said the retiring director. “You also hear a lot from colleagues from other clubs. But hardly anyone says anything about it in public. Partly to not make it bigger. Partly because there is also shame about how far it sometimes goes. In the end there is never one with us. rock went through the window. But it didn’t matter much.”

Gerbrands was confronted with a bullet letter during his time at AZ. “Then it was explained to me that people who send bullet letters will not do anything. But then, go and tell it at home… In a very short time you are confronted as a person with the question: do I want this? Where are the boundaries? How do I want to live? I then said: no van in my street. I didn’t want to have to tell neighbors that there was a threat in the neighborhood,” Gebrands continues. “One period has been really difficult, after Mark van Bommel’s resignation from PSV. I accept banners, I accept chants, I accept that my Twitter explodes. Only then everything took too long. And what really shocked me was that the Police said there’s a new generation of ‘supporters’, between the ages of 15 and 19, and it’s uncontrollable.”

It ensured, among other things, that furious PSV fans stormed the entrance of the Philips Stadium in January 2020 after the home game against FC Twente. Rocks and crush barriers were thrown. Due to a disappointing fifth place in the Eredivisie, the fans screamed for the departure of John de Jong and Gerbrands. “The amazing thing was that the old hard core immediately let us know: we do not accept this, these are not the rules of the game. But the uncontrollability continued, the police wanted a van with me and with John de Jong (technical director, ed.) at home in the street. Permanent surveillance. And John and I were not allowed to walk to our car alone unaccompanied.”

Gerbrands has since had a camera system around his home. The CEO acknowledges that the hectic business environment has had a significant impact on his private life. “Suppose a stone comes through the window. Do you have to stop? Yes, that sucks, of course, but you don’t want power to lie with a group of ‘wrong’ supporters. But what if that stone goes through the window and it hits the dog, who dies. Is that the limit then?” Gerbrands wonders aloud. “We couldn’t resolve that discussion at home. In the end we agreed that I would act according to the circumstances.”