Wilnis says dash to the Emirates was worthwhile
IPSWICH TOWN: Fabian Wilnis made a quick dash back to England to take in Tuesday’s Carling Cup semi-final, second leg at the Emirates.
And the former Blues favourite says that he remains a massive fan of the club he helped gain promotion and then fifth place in the Premier League.
The 40-year-old is still playing non-league football in Holland for a club called VV Smitshoek based in Barendrecht, which is a suburb of Rotterdam.
“I drove from Rotterdam to London via the Channel tunnel, and after the game straight back to Rotterdam again,” said Wilnis.
“And it was well worth.
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“Ipswich fans were tremendous making more noise than Arsenal supporters and it was a great occasion.
“They were singing my name as I was sitting among them and that was great. It was a wonderful atmosphere.
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“I looked at the Arsenal team and thought, wow!
“For an hour Ipswich held them and did really well, but by the end of 90 minutes Arsenal had got on top.
“It’s a shame as I would have been at Wembley for the final as I’m still a massive Ipswich fan.”
Wilnis had two years in the top flight with Ipswich in 2000/01 and 2001/02 and he was a player at Portman Road for a decade.
He was also in the stands when Town previously took 9,000 fans to an away match – in the San Siro, Milan where they lost 4-1 to Inter-Milan in the UEFA Cup in December 2001.
“Manager George Burley was not picking me at the time and I was not even in the final party of 18 so watched from the stands,” recalled Wilnis, who plays with his brother Kenneth Wolff in the Smitshoek team in KlasseB Saturday soccer in Holland.
“We have crowds of around 500 and I’m enjoying it,” said Wilnis. “They want me to carry on playing and I feel 40 years young.
“I’m also coaching the Under-23 side, which includes my nephew Jamie and I plan to become more involved in coaching next season.”
Wilnis, who was planning to run a marathon after returning to Holland after a successful testimonial year ended in August 2009 but was persuaded to continue playing football, is involved in a sports brand company.
He is to be their ambassador and the face of the company in Great Britain.