By Joe Brayne
Altrincham are embarking on an extraordinary European adventure this Saturday, facing off against Dutch top-flight club NEC Nijmegen at the Sportpark de Kamp Stadium (1pm BST / 2pm CET kick-off).
For Robins' fans, this prestigious match-up shines as the most thrilling fixture of our pre-season campaign, as we go toe-to-toe with one of the Eredivisie’s household names.
Our hosts, a two-time UEFA Cup competitor, will provide an incredibly stern challenge for Phil Parkinson’s men, but one we will relish. There is reason for quiet optimism, however, especially after Justin Donawa's long-range rocket secured our first victory of pre-season against Wythenshawe Town on Tuesday.
As the pieces fall into place following a whirlwind of summer transfer activity, several senior squad members have returned from knocks and niggles, ensuring Phil Parkinson’s side are well-prepared for this momentous fixture.
With just over two weeks remaining until we kickstart our Vanarama National League campaign, Altrincham has a golden opportunity to grab a victory in our first-ever European away fixture setting the stage for an exhilarating season ahead.
Phil Parkinson spoke with AltyTV after our pre-season friendly victory against Wythenshawe Town on Tuesday.
About the Opposition
NEC Nijmegen clinched a comfortable 12th-place finish in the Eredivisie last season, firmly establishing themselves in the Dutch top-flight after making their return two seasons ago.
Former Ajax and Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen played a crucial role in their Round of 16 run in the KNVB Cup, helping them to push powerhouse Feyenoord to penalties before narrowly losing.
Under the leadership of manager Rogier Meijer, NEC Nijmegen has welcomed seven new signings this summer, with winger Lars Olden Larsen's arrival drawing particular excitement following his €325k move from FC Pari Nizhny Novgorod. Additionally, the capture of Ajax academy star Sontje Hansen on a free transfer has added depth to their attacking prowess.
NEC will however be without the highly-rated youngster Ibrahim Cissoko, who was recently acquired by Toulouse for €3 million.
Our hosts enjoyed a victorious start in their 2023-24 pre-season opener after veteran defender Bram Nuytinck’s sole goal secured a 1-0 friendly win against fellow Eredivisie side RKC Waalwijk last Saturday.
ALERT – The advance tickets for the away allocation have sold out. While N.E.C. have advised that attendees will be able to pay on the day, we would like to remind our supporters that this is subject to availability.
Tickets cost a flat fee of €7.50 (approx. £6.50)
TRAVEL & MATCHDAY INFORMATION
Gates will open one hour before kick-off (12pm BST).
A variety of food and drink options are available in the ground.
Train services run between Eindhoven (Eindhoven Central) and Nijmegen, with travel time taking just over an hour. If you are traveling solo, it is advised that you purchase a ticket via Trainline or at the station. For group purchases, an off-peak group ticket is available through NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) by clicking here.
From Nijmegen train station, the Sportpark de Kamp stadium is a 20-minute bus ride away or a 50-minute walk.
An unofficial meeting for Altrincham fans has been organised by supporters group Union Golf Road. Travelling Robins are invited to meet at Tierney’s Irish Bar before the match before returning to Grote Markt in the main square following the game.
You can claim your own memento of Alty's first ever European away fixture with a limited edition NEC Nijmegen vs Altrincham commemorative pennant. To purchase, please click here.
Radio Robins is broadcasting live commentary on RadioAlty.
Join Brian Flynn, Niall Flynn & Bill Waterson from 12.45pm (BST).
Listen live on RadioAlty: https://streams.radio.co/s4d51ef3bf/listen
Listen live on RadioAlty: https://www.radioalty.co.uk/listen.html
And last but not least…
We sincerely hope that both sets of fans enjoy the game.