Burnley to face Holland's oldest club

Last updated : 08 May 2013 By Tony Scholes
Het Kasteel, Sparta Rotterdam's home since 1916

Sparta will face the Clarets at Turf Moor on Saturday 27th July, just one week before our league season gets underway in what will almost certainly be our final pre-season friendly.

Our opponents, one of three clubs in Rotterdam alongside Feyenoord and Excelsior, are currently playing in the Eerste Divisie, the second tier of Dutch football, below the Eredivisie.

Last season they finished as runners up to FC Zwolle but only one team is guaranteed promotion with eight other clubs going into a promotion/relegation play off.

Sparta have played at the top level. They'd always played there until 2002 before suffering relegation and they spent five more seasons in the Eredivisie from 2005 until 2010 when they were again relegated.

This season they are right up there again in fourth place, behind Volendam, Camburr and Helmond Sport at the time of writing.

Their home ground is Het Kasteel (The Castle). They first played there in October 1916 and it was renovated in 1999. They play in red and white stripes because, in 1899, the board of directors watched a match in Sunderland and were impressed with their colours and decided to adopt them.

They've been national champions six times in their history although five of them were between 1909 and 1915. More recently they won the league in 1959. They've also three times been cup winners, in 1958, 1962 and 1966.

There are Burnley connections although former Burnley manger Jimmy Adamson is not one. Adamson, having been sacked by Burnley, initially accepted the job as Sparta manager in 1976 but had a change of mind before taking up the position.

In 1980 striker David Loggie, who had left Burnley for York in 1978, signed for them. He went on to score 25 goals in 49 appearances in two years. He moved on to a number of other clubs but remained in Holland for much of the rest of his career which ended with AZ Alkmaar.

Central defender Peter Robinson, who like Loggie hails from Newbiggin-on-Sea, signed for Sparta at the same time, although he moved directly from Burnley. He too had two years there, playing 58 times, before returning to England to play for Blyth Spartans.

Henk ten Cate has recently become manager. He was with Chelsea between 2007 and 2008 working as Avram Grant's assistant, giving up the manager's job at Ajax to move to London. He was assured his job was safe when Grant left but was sacked two days later.

They are the first Dutch club to visit Turf Moor since Ajax in a post-season friendly in 1992 when their team featured such as former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Saar and current Barnet boss Edgar Davids.