Time Tunnel - Ivo Den Beimen
In the Tunnel today is very much a Mo fans favourite from the early 1990’s, Ivo den Beiman - From Match Programme 15th February 2014
Time Tunnel caught up with Ivo a few weeks ago when he just happened to be passing through Montrose on a Sunday morning and popped by at Links Park to have a peek at the old stadium and have a nostalgic ‘dream’ about the good days he encountered there. Fortunately there was somebody at LP that morning so Ivo was able to have a proper look around and in exchange we managed to get an Email address for him. So there you go – or here we are. This is how Ivo remembers his time here and his football career in Scotland generally.
Ivo, I understand you are living in your homeland of the Netherlands. What town or city are you in and do you have a big family now?
I live again in my hometown of Wamel, which is a tiny village quite central but also close to the German border. I live there with my Scottish wife Ann and our three sons; Luc who is 12, Jake who is 10 and Zach who is 6. We built our own house 5 years ago after living close to Utrecht since 2000 when we returned to the Netherlands.
What are you doing for a living these days, and how do you spend your spare time?
Since my return I have worked for Securitas, an international security company, in different positions on the operational / commercial side. I made the right steps at the right time and stayed with them for 12 years. In 2012 I resigned because I couldn't make another step. I planned to take a break and then start looking for a job again. It all went different. I was asked to work as a consultant for Securitas, first in The Netherlands, then to Sri Lanka and in 2013 I spend 6 months for them in the UK travelling the whole country working with the Board on strategy, culture and communication. I recently went back to The Netherlands to start a project with a tiles business but I’ve just finished that project. So currently I am diving into my network to secure another project at home or abroad.
Do you get back to Scotland at all and do you still look out for the Scottish football results?
I do go back to Scotland but mainly to visit relatives of my wife. So every Xmas we spend up- north in Fraserburgh. As far as the results go I follow the lot. So easy of course with all the apps and the internet around. When in Scotland I also try to visit a game of some sort.
You played for Montrose for two seasons, 1990/1 and 1991/2. How did the move come about as you started off at Netherlands club SV Leones I seem to recall.
Yes Leones was my amateur club during those days. I played my games there and after one game a Scottish business partner of one of the committee members came up to me and congratulated me on the game and the performance. Nothing happened then for 8 months until I was holidaying in Italy for the World Cup. When I phoned home my mum said a letter had arrived. That was the invite to travel to Manchester to join them on their pre-season tour. The Scottish gentleman was a scout and had asked around to get me trial for Montrose. After the games against Altrincham and Northwich Victoria I spent another week on trial in Scotland and signed for two years during that week. Then it was back home to pack my bags for good.
From Montrose you went on to Dundee but only played 24 games for them. How did the move come about and why such a short stay there?
I moved to Dundee after the last game of the season. We were relegated but played the last game against champions Dundee. We were up for it and they weren’t which meant we beat them 2-1 at Dens Park. Seemingly I played well enough to earn a move. I scored one and laid one on for I think Charger (Ed: Colin Maver). I signed for 1 year plus an option for another on the clubs side. It was my first taste of full-time football but I got in the team and played a respectable 24 games. Did enough I think to earn an extension but they bought Paul Tosh for my position and that was the end of me. Did more or less the whole pre-season and then ten days before the season started I was released together with Stevie Campbell.
Although you played 78 games for Montrose it was Dunfermline you played most games for, 139 in total. How did you enjoy it there and what games stand out best in your memories there?
Dunfermline picked me up straight after the release and I played as a trialist against West Ham United. Linked up with Hamish French and we beat them 2-1. That was the start at Dunfermline. 139 were of course in 5 years and a bit more than the 2 years at Montrose. The time at Dunfermline was great. We had some great teams during that time with players that came from lower divisions and worked hard for each other. The camaraderie was special mainly in the first few years. The games that stand out were the run-in to the championship in 1996. We were fighting with Dundee United and Morton to become champions. We had been beaten to the line twice before so we had a reputation. Second last game was against United at Tannadice. The championship trophy was already there because with a victory United would be champions. We beat them 1-0 and we were leading once again.
The last game was against Airdrie our bogey team. The tensions were rising but we held on to win the 1st Division Championship. We also had some great games in the Premier League but for drama and importance that game at Tannadice stands out.
I understand you and Hamish French were referred to as ‘Fish and Chips’ because you could not think of one without the other. Were you aware of that and do you keep in touch with each other?
Honestly, I never heard that myself. The good thing about Hamish was that he had more grey hair than me, so he got the pressure off me from the start. Hamish was a true professional and a true gentleman. We did a lot of after training sessions together and it was also good to get involved with the young lads at the club. Unfortunately we are not now in touch but the times I visited Dunfermline we caught up.
You had a very brief spell at Ross County before moving on to Falkirk. How did all that happen?
In 1998 I was spending more time in the stands and on the bench that I appreciated. Not my ideal of a professional’s life. So I had my contract terminated and Neale Cooper was manager at Ross County. I played several years with Neale at Dunfermline and he had moved on before me. I signed a months contract but got the flu, my worst one ever, after two games and that was it. I was living near Kinross and my wife was working as a Procurator Fiscal. So the travelling was not ideal and Alex Totten came in to pick me up for Falkirk.
Coming back to Montrose, you were involved in our promotion season 1990/1. What do you remember of that season?
I remember quite a bit. We started awful and were fourth bottom after 17 games I think. Then we went on a run till the end of the season with only one defeat against champions Stirling. More teams were going for the second spot so it was topsy-turvy for a while. I remember the second last game against East Stirlingshire where we beat them comprehensively to set us up for the final game at Palmerston. It was warmish but very dry and the pitch was as bad and bumpy as you can imagine. The game was never in doubt and we beat them 3-0. So that was some run from early December. 22 games was some run and the end result was of course great. And it meant we were in the First Division with mainly full-time opposition.
Great challenge but unfortunately no happy ending.
Who were the best players in your time at Montrose and who could well have played at a higher level?
Quite a few players had been in the youth set-up of bigger teams but didn't make it or were focussing on their regular career. A choice that I can only respect as football is a fickle career then and ever more now. Players that really had more to offer were Stephen King for example. Extremely fit and disciplined. But was in the oil industry and that was his priority. Charger already had had his days. Colin Maver was a fine player too, but had his business in Aberdeen; Same with John Fleming. Great on the ball good attitude but a career outside football as a baker I thought.
What Montrose games stand out in your memories and do you have a favourite goal you scored for either Montrose or Dunfermline?
The ones I mentioned before stand out and also the one against Dundee at Dens. But I am really bad at that kind of recollection. I normally know the game in general terms or the pressure that was surrounding the game but have no clue about my own performances or goals. Perhaps a good question for the fans to answer.
In your second season at Montrose we had cup games away at Celtic and Dundee United. We lost 0-6 at Celtic but the Dundee United game was closer. Do you remember much about them?
The one at Celtic I do remember. It was the old Parkhead and the biggest stadium till then for me as a player. The stands were as high as trees and I was impressed and relished the stage. I was playing against Dariusz Dobsceck and John Collins. Did my bit as did the others but they played with us. United I don't remember, was it 2-0 to them? (Ed: 3 – 2).
I think your last game for Montrose was away at Dundee which we won. I recall you had a good game that day – was that the reason Dundee signed you do you think?
Yes I think that was the main reason. See the text before. They had a good team but their motivation was gone. We were up for it and I did play well that day.
Apart from Montrose which other ground was your favourite to play on?
I have no recollections of favourite grounds. More bogey grounds because of slopes, poor surfaces or openness to wind. If I have to mention one I did like playing at East End Park. Normally an excellent surface and well protected. We had some great results and matches there of course which adds to the memories.
What are you most proud of in your football career and any regrets?
I am proud of pretty much everything, not what I did but how I approached it and the relationship with the fans and others at the clubs I played. I can still go to most of these clubs and have warm memories and a welcome to match it. Even last Xmas we were made very welcome to have a look ay Links Park with the family. I have no regrets at all. I got very close to my max and had a whale of a time.
What else do you remember about your time at Montrose and how did you get on with the fans. Tell us anything you want to – let us know in your own words how you remember your time here.
It was my first foreign affair and I had to get used to many things that were obviously different from The Netherlands. But the people at the club and the players that travelled from Aberdeen helped me settle in double quick. We had groups travelling from Dundee and Edinburgh as well but that was never an issue for me personally.
It felt like a warm bath to me, from the girls that made the tea (Phew, I thought you were going to say that were in the bath!) and plied me with the biscuits to the directors. The old stand was a shock at first but now I think it was great; quaint and special. But what really stands out was the run we had to earn promotion. In the end that is why you play and commit yourself.
Gaining promotion or becoming champions is an unbeatable feeling. The whole season flies by after you finally have that success. With a group of players, staff and all the support that is what really stands out for me.
The fans were great all the time. It must have been a shock to them at first to see a 6ft 2 winger in their team that ran funny and didn't have a squint nose. I needed time to settle in but everybody helped me out and the support was patient enough. Early in the season things went poorly with 13 points out of 17 games (2points per win).
Then we started building results and becoming difficult to beat. That was the secret; everybody worked his socks off to get a result. We had enough quality in the team but as everywhere in Scottish Football, it only counts when you match the work rate and desire to wins games. And we found our slot in exactly the right time.
We were lucky that a number of teams were fighting for that second spot so teams would drop points here and there. But the last few games we were in the driving seat. East Stirlingshire home and Queen of the South away were the last two games.
I had of course the complication with the Military Service in The Netherlands at the time. But luckily all went well and I managed to delay it enough to take part in the crucial games. The support at both games was magnificent and in numbers.
The funny thing is I still get noticed at the airport, customs or elsewhere from my football days and also my wife has had many experiences with taxi drivers and people at the courts after she took my name.
It was a great time and very special to me. Something I will never forget and look back to with much pride and respect for all the people that made my time in Scotland that special.
I think it is better to ask the supporters why there was such a good relationship with them. I know I took my time to talk to the supporters but that is just being myself.
I wouldn't do it any differently and have done so at the other clubs I played for.
ED: After Ivo had sent the above to me every word is exactly how I expected it to be from such a respected person. Honesty, nostalgia, respect and modesty all rolled into one. This football club of ours is extremely grateful for his services during his time with us and more so because of the success he helped greatly to bring to the club. Thanks Ivo, and always welcome at Links Park. Good luck in the future in everything you do.