Often Partisan

Where Are They Now? Part XIX

I thought I’d go back to the 2007/08 and take a look at a player who in some ways didn’t really get a fair crack of the whip at Blues despite coming to the club on the back of a stunning performance at the Euro u21 championship in 2007. I am of course referring to Daniël de Ridder.

Daniël de Ridder

image courtesy Birmingham Mail

Signed by Steve Bruce in the summer of 2007 on a free from Celta Vigo, de Ridder never really made a mark on the Blues. His year at Blues yielded a measly twelve appearances and his release was the start of a slippery slope that left him plying his trade in the Israeli and Swiss top flights.

It could have been so much different. De Ridder came to Blues on the back of a very successful Euro 2007 u21 Championships where he was part of the Dutch side that knocked out England in the semis and then made three assists as the oranje swept aside Serbia 4-1 in the final.

My chief memory of De Ridder was the 2-1 defeat to Villa in the November of 2007, which was to be Bruce’s last game in the Blues hotseat. De Ridder had a good game, providing the cross for Forssell to equalise from and being unfairly booked for diving when Laursen caught him in the area.

De Ridder only made six more appearances for Blues after that game, with his last being the exit in the FA Cup 3rd round to Huddersfield. De Ridder wasn’t fancied by McLeish, who said that the Blues game didn’t suit de Ridder enough (which if you read the article in full translates to “he didn’t track back.”)

The Dutch winger then followed Steve Bruce north to Wigan Athletic but in three years there he only played 23 times. Wigan sent de Ridder out on loan to Hapoel Tel Aviv for six months due to him not being in the first team picture, and whilst in Israel de Ridder arguably had the most success in his career, winning the league and cup double.

Following his release from Wigan De Ridder moved onto Grasshoppers of Zurich in Switzerland. He made 22 appearances there in the 2011/12 season but didn’t settle, being released again at the end of the season.

After an uncertain summer, De Ridder signed up with Heerenveen in his native Holland, reuniting with former Ajax coach Marco van Basten. The winger is yet to make an appearance for De Superfriezen but De Ridder is eager to make his mark for the side, telling the fans on the official Heerenveen website that he felt fitter than ever right now.

His move to Heerenveen has turned his career full circle, as he looks to start again under the coach who brought him through as a youngster with Ajax. Hopefully it will be a fruitful union for him – meanwhile, I’m still convinced Laursen caught him.


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