Mirror's Dutch treat
- Sun 15 Jan 2012, 9:09AM
- Posted by David Clayton
Back-to-back defeats do not make a crisis, yet a number of papers infer that City are on the brink of exactly that after losing to United and Liverpool within the space of four days.
That’s Premier League leaders Manchester City, incidentally.
With so much focus on Roberto Mancini and several claims that he is “losing it” or on the verge of “cracking up”, we’ll give a wider berth to the predictably silly headlines today.
If showing frustration at some highly questionable refereeing decisions or having passion for your club in the heat of the moment is unusual behaviour, then all 91 other managers in England must be cracking up, too.
Instead, we’ll look at Simon Mullock’s totally off topic feature of Nigel de Jong and his relationship with his father which, until a few years ago, seemed irreparably damaged.
He writes: “Nigel De Jong has opened his heart about how becoming a father helped him heal a bitter rift with his own dad.
“The Manchester City midfielder may be regarded as one of football's hardest players thanks to a take-no-prisoners philosophy that has seen him vilified around the world.
"But behind the macho persona lay a shameful family secret now made public after De Jong spoke for the first time about how he became estranged from his father Jerry, himself a former international defender who played in the great Holland team that included Ruud Gullitt and Marco van Basten.
"De Jong, 27, spent his teenage years growing up on a tough Amsterdam council estate after Jerry abandoned his family in the aftermath of a bitter divorce from his wife, Marja.
"But the bond between father and son snapped completely in 2000 when Jerry was sacked by Belgian club MVV Maastricht after stealing a credit card from a team-mate wallet - just as Nigel was building his reputation in Ajax's youth team.
"It was only when De Jong junior became a father himself - just weeks before joining City in a £16million deal from Hamburg three years ago - that he finally found forgiveness for the man he had once believed to be the perfect role model.
"'It was an emotional and euphoric moment," recalls De Jong.
I called my dad after I had become a father and soon he was stood there on my doorstep
...Nigel de Jong
"'It was my first child and his first grandchild. I needed him to be there because we are all the same blood.'"
The story goes on to say how happy Nigel is to have his dad back in his life and how proud he is of the way Jerry has rebuilt his reputation and won respect once more by helping others. Easily the best read of the Sundays.