2020-12-23 21:52

Location: Deventer Chronicler website
Date: 22th December 2020
Time: 16:01

Person: Bart Kampman
Title: Journalist

$7.5 mill investment allows Devils to think big

Today, with little fanfare, the refurbished Youth Academy was opened. The previous 'academy' was just a little shed next to the main building before, with an incomplete dumbbell set inside. This has been transformed into a state of the art training academy that can compete with the best in the league.

This bodes well for the long term future of the Deventer Devils as they will now be able to identify local talent and offer them a space at the academy. As far as I know, no coaches have been hired yet so it remains to be seen who will teach these kids football. I tried to get a reaction from the club on this but all I got was a 'no comment' from owner Vennegoor.

The sudden, it was not mentioned once before in pressers before today by Vennegoor, appearance of the academy did make the wonder why the club was so silent on this and why an official statement has not been released.

So I did some digging...

The first hint I found was that the club has placed an order for a big sign with a local company. Via a contact I was able to get the text of the sign they have been requested to make: The Sulaiman Academy!

The link to newly signed draftee Suleiman Sulaiman is obvious here so I started looking into transactions Sulaiman Industries reported recently. Of course they will not give insight into their books but I discovered that for marketing purposes in Europe, they have to register transactions with the European Union. One Freedom of Information request later and I found that recently (after Sulaiman joined the Devils) they made a $7.5 million payment to a yet undisclosed project in...The Netherlands.

I then asked some of my contacts in the football world to estimate the cost of setting up a brand new top-of-the-art academy. The answer: about $7.5 million.

So without having concrte evidence, it does look strongly like Sulaiman's dad suddenly has developed an interest in american football after all. And a big one at that, as $7.5 mill is not a figure to be sniffed at. This could of course be the result of Vennegoor's famed business instincts but the question does arise then: what is Sulaiman getting out of this deal?

All in all, another strange development in the life of this very young franchise. It sure has been interesting!

UPDATE: after I had send the story to the Devils before it was published (as is normal practice), I did receive the following statement from Ronald Vennegoor: "Although I cannot confirm nor deny the contents of this article, I would like to put on record that a statement on the future of the Devil's Youth Academy will be made by next week. This will also feature a mission statement as well as define what it means to be a Deventer Devil. Until such statement has been made I will make no further comment to the press."

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Tags: Inside Deventer Devils

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