Heard in Europe

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans fired up his favourite football team with a stirring speech that inspired them to an unlikely and thrilling victory.

Roda JC came back from two goals down against NAC Breda to triumph in extra time during their two-leg promotion play-off.

That condemned Breda to relegation, while handing Roda promotion back to the Dutch first division – much to Frans’ delight.

The fightback was all the more impressive as it was away from home, and came hot on the heels of a 1-0 defeat to Breda in the first leg.

It was after that first match that FAN-s Timmermans gave his rousing team talk.

Such was its impact that Roda Captain Ard Van Peppen mentioned it in a post-match interview.

“The speech was great,” he said, “it helped us realise we had to do it as a team.”

Video footage showed the pumped-up veep bear-hugging the players on the pitch, before getting himself a traditional match-day pint.


Frans, named 2015 Roda supporter of the year, also took a selfie (above) with celebrating fans and posted it on his Facebook page. Many members of the public praised him as a true aficionado of the beautiful game.

Except one churlish fellow, who opined he should have used a selfie stick to get a better picture. Honestly, there’s no pleasing some people.

Perhaps Frans could parley his man of the people image into a public relations coup for the Commission?

Maybe by doing something to sort out the massive mess at Fifa?

Selfie photo courtesy of Frans Timmermans/Facebook. Frans with fans courtesy of Henk Kuijpers/Facebook.

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