There are plenty of ways for professional athletes to carve out a reputation for themselves as a “fan favorite,” which typically involves going above and beyond in some way in order to endear yourself to your team’s supporters (and, in some cases, even the people who root against your squad).
Making some solid contributions to the cause while leaving it all on the playing surface is obviously one of the best ways to earn that status, but players can also set themselves apart from the rest of the pack by engaging with the local community or taking a “hometown discount” while negotiating a contract.
However, I don’t know if that last option has anything on what a Dutch soccer player did to ensure he’ll be a local legend for years to come.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume most people aren’t intimately familiar with Bram van Polen or PEC Zwolle, the team the 37-year-old defender has represented for the past 16 seasons.
Earlier this week, the club (which was relegated to the second tier of the Eredivisie league in 2022 but is currently poised to be promoted based on how they’ve performed during the current campaign) announced the longtime member will be returning for at least one more year after the two sides agreed to a contract extension.
PEC Zwolle season ticket holders will also reap the benefits of that deal, as van Polen released a statement where he informed those supporters he inserted a clause in his contract that will entitle them to a beer when they attend the team’s match against Telstar on Friday:
“This year I want to thank the supporters of PEC Zwolle for the unconditional support that I have always felt in good times, and in bad times.
With a special coin—which every season ticket holder, sponsor, and volunteer receives—I want to give a round to the entire stadium on Friday.”
What a guy.