The 1974 Bild swimming pool incident…
Oranje had qualified for the WC1974 finals. Cruyff and Neeskens beat Brazil and West Germany – not playing a very impressive tournament so far – was to be the next nudge on the …eh…football shoe.
German tabloid Bild wanted to milk the situation.
They had a plan. They knew where the Dutch players resided. They had some loose Deutsch Marks to chuck around. And they had the phone numbers of some juicy escort girls.
“I love it when a good plan comes together…”
The money was used to bribe the security guards. The escort girls were….eh…escorted into the pool area where the Dutch players were chilling out. The girls undressed and jumped giggling into the pool, amongst the players. And the Bild photographers were happily snapping away in a bush somewhere.
The photo’s were prominently on the front page: “Oranje has big orgy with naked women in Hotel pool”. Or something like that.
They obviously didn’t write that it was a big set-up, nor that the players almost immediately left the pool and made for their rooms to escape this scandal. With Neeskens, Krol and Rep in their midst, it was quite a feat. Gullit and Kluivert were never put to this test. Koeman wished he was… But, I’m am drifting…
The images were quickly used in the Dutch media as well and a huge debacle was born. Team supervisor Rinus Michels thought it was amusing. Players (Van Hanegem, Krol, Jongbloed) laughed it all away, but the damage was done.
Danny Cruyff was on the phone immediately to her hubbie JC to check what happened. Johan Cruyff was named as one of the players canoodling with a couple of Bambi’s (while in fact he wasn’t even in the pool that day!) and Danny was in tears. The players were gone for weeks already and tension rose. JC was on the phone for quite some time and made a promise to his wife, never to leave her that long. At night, Johan couldn’t sleep and paced the room, smoking one cigarette after the other.
The connection between Jopie and Danny is well-known and Johan was shocked by the way the German tabloid tried to influence the game.
Out for revenge, when the ref blew the whistle to start the game, Johan had only one goal: humiliate the Germans. He picked up the ball on his own half and dribbled past three or four opponents until Vogts stopped him illegally in the German box. Penalty! No German had had a touch yet and even before Sepp Mayer touched it, the score line was 0-1, thanks to Johan Neeskens’ penalty.
In the minutes after the goal, Oranje switched to gallery play. They didn’t set out to win the cup, they set out to crush and ridicule the Germans. Not a shabby team by the way, with Muller, Beckenbauer, Grabowski, Hoeness and Overath. And one Sepp Mayer. He wasn’t going to be humiliated. The big goalie stopped everything coming his way, and we all know how this game ended.
JC had a strong first minute, but was pedestrian in the remaining 89. Van Hanegem, Rep, Rensenbrink…they were close to scoring, but it was Paul Breitner and Gerd Muller finding the net.
We lost. Bild won.
(Note: I’ve been searching for the Bild photo’s but they are nowhere to be found… Although the actual photographer should have a couple in their private collection….)
For years, people thought JC didn’t go to the WC1978 because of his promise to Danny…we’ll find out later what the real reason was… Check out Memories on WC1978 (to be published soon )
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