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Harry van Raaij interview (

27 dec 2004 - Source:

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Harry van Raaij popped in on the last working day before Christmas to personally convey the Season's greetings to his former employees in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium. PSV Media pulled up a chair in the Chairman’s Box to catch up on news with the former chairman. "My departure has left a profound impression on me.""It has taken some time before I could take things easy", admitted Van Raaij straightaway. He has been retired for four months by now and looks in perfect health. "I deliberately kept away in order not to hamper any body, but I must admit that it was not an easy thing. I have always attached great value to keeping in close touch with all the people here in the stadium and at the training ground De Herdgang, in particular with my gorgeous secretaries Lieske and Marianne. But I can do very well without the excitement surrounding the games and all that fuss. I am a bad loser, so it’s a different feeling now that I am no longer a Chairman. But when I am in the stands it does not matter whether I am a supporter or a chairman." The former Chairman has very fond memories of his farewell party on 11 September, after the final whistle of the PSV - RKC Waalwijk encounter had gone. "It has made a deep impression on me. I have received so much sympathy from so many people that night and I still feel it every single day. They have taken a fond farewell and I have basked in the warm heartedness of the fans. They have raised over 20, 000 euros for the charitable institution Bone Marrow Donor. I owe many thanks to them. The PSV fans are unique and I am so proud of them!"Van Raaij says that he has not found the time yet for a lot of things, when asked about his current timetable."I cannot give an honest opinion after four months. I have to do things now that I was not used to do any more. I regularly give lectures and I still have to meet some commitments from my spell as Chairman. I have noticed that it is hard at times to do without the invaluable services of a secretary. I have been in trouble a few times already...", says the former Chairman, smiling in his inimitable characteristic way. "Generally speaking I must admit I have not got around yet to doing the things I had in mind. I want to catch up on my reading. There’s so much I still want to read", Van Raaij explains. Van Raaij likes to give lectures, the more so as he has his fee invariably remitted into the bank account of a charitable institution. "I was at a university the other day in a hall packed to capacity with students. And many more students were queuing up in the corridors. That was a special event and they were as quiet as a mouse in such a crowded hall. And I once was in Helmond to do a lecture for building contractors. It was a nice evening and at the end they gave me an envelope, like in the good old days! I liked that a lot and it was a special way of gathering some money for charities."Van Raaij has not been able yet to go on holiday with his wife, as he had promised. "I have not been on holiday yet, but we will do so at the end of January. We have been to our Belgian house just once. I have seen more of my grandchildren, though." We asked Van Raay if he had some new year’s resolutions. He smiled and added some New Year’s greetings. "I wish all PSV fans, at home and abroad, a Happy New Year and I do hope we will progress to the next UEFA Champions League round. I feel the faithful fans deserve that!"