Dirk Kuyt and the art of going out on a high

Dirk Kuyt and the art of going out on a high

Born the third of four children in the coastal town of Katwijk. Kuyt initially planned on following in his fathers footsteps and becoming a fisherman.

It was after showing promise as a young footballer on the streets of Katwijk that he first attracted the attention of local sides before moving north to play for Utrecht at 18. 

His big break came when Foeke Booy arrived as the manager and moved the industrious Kuyt from his position on the wing into a more central role, the now 23 year old Kuyt responded immediately, bagging 20 goals in his first season up top.

His goals were being noticed by the giants of Dutch football and Feyenoord paid €1 million euros for his services at the season's end.

 

 

While the move had the potential to unsettle the young striker he took it in stride and again he hit 20 goals in his first season. His 29 goal season in 04/05 earned him the armband before he got another 25 in his final season while paying in a fearsome strike partnership with a young Salomon Kalou.

By the time he left his homeland to head to Merseyside he had missed just five games in seven seasons - including playing 179 games in a row between March 2001 and April 2006.

His work ethic and durability were already becoming legendary.

 

 

In six years with Liverpool, he became a fan favourite with key goals - including a game-winning hat-trick against United, a victory ensuring double against Everton and a cooly dispatched penalty that sent his side into the Champions League final.

Three years with Fenerbahce and a league title followed before he returned to his beloved Feyenoord at 34.

The next year Kuyt captained his side as they won their first title since 1999. The title was clinched on the final day when he scored a hat-trick as Feyenoord won 3-1. He retired from professional football a day later.

 

 


“I knew when I came back two years ago that we could win the championship and everyone laughed at me when I said so."

When Feyenoord were in the top half of the league everyone used to celebrate. When we drew 1-1 with Ajax people were dancing on the table.

That shouldn’t happen—you should only be satisfied when you are winning trophies.”

– Dirk Kuyt


 

Words by Andy Gallagher

 

 

 

 

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