Just before his wedding to Jasmijn, last November, Sjoerd van Ramshorst worked on a song for her. The writing process did not go smoothly. Instead, he first wrote a tearjerker about a bachelor (‘I will always remain single, no one will say: not this, that is. I’m back behind the wheel, with passion and full of fire, in search of adventure’). To be clear: Van Ramshorst did not have an acute fear of commitment. He laughs: “No, dude. I’ve had a tune in my head for ages. I thought: if I’m going to fight now, I’ll put it down on paper first.”
Eventually two songs came out of his pen. The song about the bachelor, which he in the SBS6 program last month I want your song tried to sell to the singer Gerard Joling. He did not win, but Joling – for whom he has already written a song – promised to publish the song after all. “I’ll hold him to it,” jokes Van Ramshorst.
The second, more sensitive song I gather the days together with you the presenter sang along and was played during the wedding ceremony. “A bit tacky maybe, but if there was ever a moment to write a song for my wife, it was now.”
Music is his hobby, football his job. On Sunday, he starts his fourth year as a presenter at Study football. Regular guests are, as usual, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Ibrahim Afellay and Rafael van der Vaart. Theo Janssen has switched to RTL. Van Ramshorst: “I am very disappointed about that. We do not immediately have a replacement for such a triple A guest.”
Study football, VTBL, Today inside, Rondo, the still untitled RTL program by Wilfred Genee. Can you still be distinctive with so many football talk shows?
“We can make it very complicated with that, but in the end you can’t set up a football talk show very differently. We all want the same thing: to talk about the weekend’s football moments around the table. You mainly excel with your guests and the tone that strikes you, but it is and will be a talk show. Fortunately, the television landscape is large.”
Talk about that tone. Find viewers Study football sometimes too seriously. Do you understand that criticism?
“It has to do with the setting. If you make a program with an audience, it quickly takes on a light-hearted atmosphere, even if the content is the same. Of course, I would also like to have an audience in the studio, but there is no money for that. It’s that simple. At the same time, there has also been enough laughter at our table. When I started at NOS, I was sometimes afraid to make a joke, for fear that it would go wrong. But I quickly let go of that. If a joke kills once, too bad. We also do a sports program. Of course, we tackle many topics in a journalistic way, but football remains very much entertainment. We’re not quick to talk about the war in Ukraine.” Think for a moment. “Of course, when it comes to serious matters, don’t play the joker.”
One of the serious cases that Van Ramshorst refers to is Marc Overmars’ MeToo affair. On Sunday 6 February around half past eleven in the evening, Ajax will send a statement to the media. Study football get the news live. Marc Overmars resigns as director of football affairs at the Amsterdam club with immediate effect. He must have sent inappropriate messages to several female colleagues over a long period of time. In the NOS studio, with among others Theo Janssen and Pierre van Hooijdonk at the table, the news is only briefly discussed. The presenter is criticized for that.
What happened that night in the studio?
“My editor-in-chief asked through my earpiece if I wanted to grab my phone. It is always on the table should something big happen. He forwarded the press release and said: you can read the first paragraph. I started to speak but wasn’t quite sure what I was reading. The message came out of the blue. Marc Overmars quits. Bam! The news had to land on the table for a while and in the meantime, all kinds of things went through my head. We still knew so little.”
In retrospect, would you have liked to have done a different broadcast?
“No, I’m still behind. Luke Ikink from RTL Boulevard thought it was ridiculous that we stopped talking about it. How ridiculous? I’m not going to spend twenty minutes wondering what happened to the victims? They should enjoy it Boulevard to do. We talked for a while about the possible consequences for Ajax, but it didn’t feel right to go on for a long time. Then we would get the finger: Ajax is not the victim, right? In other words, you never get it right. A week later, we made a themed broadcast with Marjan Olfers, professor of sports and law at VU.”
It could have been about MeToo in football a bit longer, right?
“It could have been. I could have involved the guests at the table more in this topic. But it was also difficult. During their time as a footballer, almost no women worked in a football club. During the broadcast you constantly think: what more can I ask for really adds something to this news. It has to be more than the standard reaction: this is so bad.”
How do you prepare for a normal broadcast?
“First and foremost by watching a lot of football. I try to go to a different Premier League club every Saturday. In a stadium, you see the tactics on the pitch better, and you experience the game differently. But I also watch a lot of football at home. In our new house in Haarlem, I have a TV room, a kind of man cave with black and white pictures of Messi, Elfstedentocht and Joop Zoetemelk on the wall.”
No old Vitesse scarves on the wall?
“No, I’ve never been a diehard fan. I am always asked because I come from Arnhem and went to Vitesse as a little boy. I think this club made me fall in love with football, but I have never been an idol for any club. I’m pretty sober in life. I think it’s fascinating that football can control someone’s life if you don’t work at it yourself. It’s also very nice, but I don’t experience it that way.”
Is there still a career in it as a singer?
“Absolutely not, I can keep my tone, but it will never be really pretty. I would really like if the love song for my wife comes out. But if I can’t find the right artist, then no. Let’s keep it to ourselves!”
Varying start time
During the corona pandemic, Studio Voetbal appeared at a later stage through extra broadcasts of the talk show Op1. “Very understandable in times of crisis, but since Op1 stopped on Sunday, we have never gotten our old time, 10.15 p.m., back. Instead, less current programs are broadcast, and the football fan is often already in bed when we start. It really bothers me,” says Sjoerd van Ramshorst. He is also disappointed by the varying start time. On the following Sundays, the football program starts successively at 10:57 p.m., 9:54 p.m., 10:13 p.m. and 10:49 p.m. NPO believes that ‘there is not so much obscurity’ for the viewer: “The program can be seen every Sunday around eleven o’clock (with a few exceptions) and we think it comes into its own in our rich Sunday evening programme.”