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Marcel Boekhoorn is CEO of Ramphastos Investments NV. The born and bred NEC supporter is also the owner of Ouwehands Zoo and has an interest in more than thirty companies with a combined turnover of 5 billion euros.
NEC Nijmegen

Text: Jaap de Groot 
Statue: NEC Nijmegen

What does the NEC shirt mean to you? 

Marcel Boekhoorn: “A lot. From an early age. It is the classic story of a Nijmegen boy who is injected with NEC by his father from birth. The club was introduced to me from an early age. I lived in Nimrodstraat, near Hazenkamp where the stadium is located. Behind our house, in Wolfstraat, lived the legendary goalkeeper Nico de Bree. I encouraged them on Sunday from the boys' section at Standing Place East, because we didn't have money for a seat. NEC was everything to my father, who has been a supporter for more than 75 years. I can still see that old man standing there, with his pajama pants under his trousers and his brandy in the inside pocket. These are memories that are directly linked to the club. That says enough."

Have you ever worn the shirt?

“As a supporter, never as a player. As an active football player, I have always played for Oranje Blauw from Nijmegen. I was a fast right winger who sometimes scored a goal. Nothing special. In that respect, I can play table tennis better. As a footballer, not good enough for NEC, but that doesn't make the supporter in me any less. After my childhood days with my father, I have been going to NEC with the boys from Oranje Blauw 4 for forty-five years now. I have my own box in the stadium that is known as the nicest pub in Gelderland. I have a good time there with my club and friends, all of whom I know from the time when I didn't have a cent in my pocket. Those are the real ones.
Oh yes, I have once been on the shirt with a few of my companies. First with Telfort and then with Ouwehands Zoo, after we brought the pandas from China. So I never wore the competition shirt, but I did have it.”

What is your most cherished moment with NEC?

Marcel Boekhoorn: “I don't have to think about that for a second: December 3, 2008, the away match in the UEFA Cup against Spartak Moscow. Five minutes before the end, NEC was 1-0 behind and we were eliminated. Jhonny van Beukering and Lasse Schöne suddenly score two and we win 1-2. I will never forget that explosion in the stands and then the party in the hotel. Players, trainers and all the supporters were there and we all went completely crazy. I had an account opened and the whole of Nijmegen could drink for free. That has become the highest bar bill in Russian history. Then we won against Udinese and even wintered in Europe. It couldn't be done. Ultimately, NEC was eliminated by HSV Hamburg, but that did not spoil the fun. They won't take that evening in Moscow away from me again. “

The cult competition NEC-NAC has been ruined because they only want to talk about 'ENIESÉ' in Nijmegen.

“It is and remains ENIESÉ. That comes from the heart. That's the feeling. No Nijmegen resident talks about NEK. Never in our lives. Apparently they don't have those emotions at NAC. Too bad."

Any future dreams with NEC? 

“Yes, definitely, we will be back in the Eredivisie next year. Unfortunately, that won't be possible this year, but that will really be the last time. I'm completely fed up with the First Division. So get out of there quickly and immediately go to the left row.”