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De Graafschap celebrated their 70th anniversary, thanks to a spectacular visual display by their loyal supporters’ group, Brigata Tifosi, before and during their league match against Willem II on February 9.
Background information about Brigata Tifosi
Brigata Tifosi was officially founded on October 24, 2003, during De Graafschap’s match against TOP Oss. In October 2023, they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a five-part tifo display. This included a depiction of the Joker from Batman holding a cake with ‘20’ written on it while holding up balloons with the De Graafschap badge on them.
The group is famous for their creative tifo displays, banners, flags, and chants. On their club website, Brigata Tifosi said: “We strive to make every promotion bigger, nicer, better, and more original than previous promotions.”
Motivated by the motto “always and everywhere,” Brigata Tifosi are not hesitant to protest ever-changing kick-off times, supporter bans, and ticket prices. They have protested against the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) regularly, describing them as “corrupt.” Brigata Tifosi said: “Principles and beliefs are there to make us stand up…. Freedom for tifo and supporters is a great asset and in observance of it we will never make any mistakes!”
There are almost 60 supporters who are officially part of the group, and they often cite unity as their principal value. They conclude their synopsis about the group’s history by stating, “In win and loss, in promotion and relegation, for better or for worse: connected for life!”
Memorable De Graafschap Shirts
Before the match, a video was played with former players and managers telling stories of successful matches and seasons. The main theme of the video was the importance of togetherness and loyal supporters to De Graafschap's identity.
The first part of the display saw Brigata Tifosi present ‘1954’ in blue writing with a white background. As well as this, the badge of De Graafschap was placed in the middle of the display. De Graafschap have used a new badge for this season to commemorate 70 years of the club. At the top of the new badge, “1954-2024” is written in gold.
At the bottom of the stand, there was a message in large white writing, which read: “Professional football club De Graafschap”, in the blue and white colours of the club.
After this, seven huge blue and white De Graafschap shirts were shown in the middle of the stand. Famous shirts from each of the club’s seven decades were lifted up by the Brigata Tifosi.
At half-time, Brigata Tifosi showed off the next part of their display. Twenty-five historical and contemporary scarves showing the De Graafschap badge and colours covered the whole stand.
Below the scarf spectacle read: “With a scarf in hand, several generations have been standing here for 70 years.” Brigata Tifosi’s message aimed to acknowledge the importance of supporter culture to the history and traditions of the club.
De Graafschap lost the match 2-0 to Willem II in the Eerste Divisie, which is the second division of Dutch football. Goals from Thijs Oosting and Ringo Meerveld in the 9th and 49th minutes, respectively, secured the three points for Willem II.
De Graafschap sit in fourth place, 11 points behind the leaders Willem II, and six points behind ADO Den Haag, who occupy the second automatic promotion spot.