July 21, 2021
Le Gym in 'Oranje'
With the signings of Calvin Stengs and Justin Kluivert, OGC Nice has been tinted with a shade of 'Oranje' this summer. Before the two international wingers, who are the other six Dutch players to have worn the red and black jersey? A brief journey through 117 years of history.
Dick Van Dijk
The mark that he left at Le Gym and Ajax was so strong that it inspired a friendly between the former players of both clubs to honour his memory 20 years after his death. Magnificent, Van Dijk spent two seasons in Nice between 1972 and 1974. Enough time to dribble, seduce, delight and make an impact on all those who were lucky enough to see him play. All of those fans who were privileged to support that team of magicians, who were so entertaining, yet never managed to lift a trophy, and who are still talked about with such fond memories. With the eagle on his heart, Van Dijk, a forward "from another world" who picked up 7 caps for the Dutch national side, scored 33 goals in 72 matches.
Rudolph Hendrick (Ruud) Kaiser
Born in Amsterdam (in 1960) and a product of the Ajax Academy, Ruud Kaiser was signed with Antwerp when he played his first matches as Aiglon during the Coupe d’Eté 1982. His transfer was confirmed before the third encounter of the competition, and he scored eight goals in 43 matches in Nice colours, between 1981 and 1984. That included a one year hiatus on loan at Coventry (1981-82).
Sometimes just one memory is enough to sum everything up. Especially when it led to the last trophy to be lifted by the Club. On 10 May 1997, when he took on his responsibilities after Bruno Valencony had denied Claude Michel during the penalty shootout, the Niçois held their breath.
With the number 12 on the back, head-band adjusted, Arjan Vermeulen made no mistake, wrong-footing Angelo Hugues, before heading on a crazy run across to Le Gym's fans, to celebrate the Coupe de France victory over Guingamp. Above and beyond this moment that will forever remain in memories, the Culemborg born defender made 31 appearances for Les Aiglons. The majority were during a paradoxical season, during which the squad lifted the Coupe de France but were relegated to D2. He took part in just six matches in D2 before returning to his motherland to sign for Maastricht.
Hendrik Jan - nicknamed "Erik" – Regtop made a brief appearance with OGC Nice during the 1998 season. Another product of the Ajax Academy, before playing for Groningen, Velsen, Heerenven, Bradford and Saint-Gall, the defensive midfielder played nine matches for Le Gym's first team, between January and March 1998. At the time, Les Rouge et Noir were playing their football in D2. In those 9 appearances, Regtop scored two goals, against Toulon (in the Coupe de France) and Nancy in the league.
A Dutch youth international, Luigi Bruins signed for Le Gym on 15 January 2013.
An elegant playmaker, but he never quite found his form in Nice, despite his impressive technical ability. He featured in 27 matches over two seasons (from 2012 until 2014) and scored one goal at the Stade du Ray against Troyes.
A footballing global superstar and ever present in the Dutch national side, with whom he played in the final of the World Cup in 2010 (0-1 defeat to Spain), Wesley Sneijder got hearts racing when he arrived in the Comté during the summer transfer window in 2017.
A Champions League winner with Inter in 2010 and considered one of the best players in the world, the n°10 spent six months in Nice, during which he was constantly trying to get back to his best physically. After just 8 matches, he left Nice on 5 January 2018 and signed for Al Gharafa SC in Qatar.
Born to Hungarian parents and becoming a French citizen on 27 January 1950, Koczur Ferry (Ferenc Koczur was his name at birth) was also born in Van Gogh's native land. A talented defender, he was called up to the French national side (3 caps) and took part in 130 encounters during his time with Le Gym (10 goals) between 1956 and 1961. Crowned Champion of France in 1959 with Les Aiglons, the man who also played for La Combelle and Saint-Etienne became Le Gym's coach for the 1978-79 season. He made it into the history books and left his mark in the capital of the Comté, and a stadium bears his name to this day in the north of the city.
Source: Michel Oreggia