Vitesse earned the ignominious moniker "FC Hollywood on the Rhine" during the 1980s as a result of tumultuous financial difficulties and the notorious infighting that plagued the club both on and off the pitch. In recent years, under the leadership of Merab Jordania, the club has shaken off that label, become financially stable, seen increasing success on the pitch, and the future looks bright.
It is extremely unfortunate, therefore, that it is Jordania himself that has brought back the bright lights of Hollywood, and has, paradoxically, cast a large shadow over the club.
According to Voetbal International's Stef de Bont, the former caretaker owner has been issued a three-year ban from the Gelredome and has been reported to the police after allegedly threatening current CEO, Joost de Wit.
This is an extremely disturbing development, as VI reports that the conflict between Jordania and de Wit had apparently been ongoing, and quoted de Wit as saying "There are limits, I have a family."
According to Richard van der Made of Omroep Gelderland, Jordania threatened to cut off de Wit's fingers.
Jordania is known to be an extremely passionate Vitesse supporter, and and characterised his time at Vitesse as "the best project of his life." In an "exit interview" of sorts with De Telegraf, Jordania even goes as far to say that he loves Vitesse as much as he loves his child.
By all accounts, Jordania's exit appeared to be an amicable parting. When asked about his relationship with current owner Alexander Chigirinsky, Jordania professed "he is my best friend. There is nothing but pure friendship between us." He also noted that he didn't earn a penny from "selling" Vitesse to Chigirinsky.
What's more, Jordania brought former technical director Ted van Leewen and the head coach of the reserve side Andre Paus with him to Malta to work on Jordania's new project, Valletta FC.
In hindsight, however, Jordania used some curious language when describing the handover to Chigirinsky, however, saying it was done "involuntarily." To me, that sounds a bit odd, as such a word suggests something of a negative connotation, and seemingly contradicts Jordania's comments about how much he loves Chigirinsky.
Given that I was having problems figuring out what Jordania meant by that, I asked Dutch Chelsea fan Mark Will Stinson about it, and he graciously helped fill in the gaps caused by the language barrier (the interview, naturally, was in Dutch). I asked Stinson about this and he agreed that the interview has a very strange tone.
Stinson also said that based on the tone of the interview, "it does not sound like Jordania has the same kind of relationship with Abramovich as he has with Chigirinsky." When the interviewer asks Jordania about whether or not he has ever had any conflict with Abramovich or Chelsea, Jordania says that he wouldn't comment on his relationship with "London."
Without having additional facts, it's difficult to speculate on what caused the wedge between Jordania and de Wit and further, what led Jordania to take it to the shameful and embarrassing place he did by threatening de Wit. However, one wonders if Jordania had been holding a grudge after being asked to step aside, and lays the blame at the feet of Chelsea and de Wit (as an aside, I've often discussed, and at considerable length, that it was extremely surprising that he got the job as caretaker owner in the first place. While unquestionably talented at running a football organisation, his questionable past rendered him ill-suited to be the face of such a large investment).
Combined with the recent dismissal of long-time press officer Ester Bal (which led to a fairly large supporter-driven protest against the decision), this news casts a cloud over the good work Peter Bosz and the players have been doing on the pitch this season, as well as the recent successes de Wit and commercial director Peter Gansler have achieved off the pitch, most notably having recently secured a historically lucrative sponsorship deal with Macron.