Gerard Meijer

Gerard Meijer

Gerard Meijer (born August 12, 1935, Rotterdam) is a masseur and physiotherapist, currently employed to football team Feyenoord. As of July 2007 he is already contracted 48 years at Feyenoord, which makes him the longest serving employee in Dutch football history.

In his youth he was confronted with World War II. His father was a boxing coach and physio and Gerard was always allowed to join him. As a result he started to learn how to massage people and it didn't take long for him to massage professional boxers like Bep van Klaveren. Meijer joined Feyenoord aged 24 in 1959, just a few seasons after professional football started in the Netherlands. During his spell at the club he has witnessed successes and extremely weak performances from a close range. He saw the team win the 1970 European Cup, the Continental Cup in the same year, the 1974 and 2002 UEFA Cups as well as various Eredivisie and KNVB Cup titles. On the other hand he saw the club balancing on the edge of bankruptcy more than once.

Whether it is Coen Moulijn, Ruud Gullit, Wim Jansen, Willem van Hanegem, Johan Cruijff, Julio Ricardo Cruz, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Dirk Kuyt or John de Wolf, they have all been undergoing massages by Meijer in their way of rehability to perform at their best when needed. Meijer used to be nicknamed "The fastest physio on Earth". When Meijer ran on the pitch to help an injured player he was always chanted by Het Legioen who made motorcycle noises.

In August 2004 Meijer was honoured at the pitch of the Feijenoord Stadion for his efforts in his 45-year anniversary at the club. Former chairman Gerard Kerkum, also a former Feyenoord footballer, was one of the first ever footballers to undergo Meijer's massages. He was the one that gave him flowers in front of the fans. Also Patrick Paauwe gave him some flowers, to show the respect from the current squad in these days.

Beside a masseur Meijer has always been an important man for players to tell the problems they were and are facing. He has been asked to write a book about these stories, but as of today he has always denied to do this.

References

* [http://www.journalism.fcj.hvu.nl/index.php?id=5165 hvu.nl] nl


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