Jan Ruiter played for Anderlecht during six years (1971 - 1977). He won two Belgian titles ('72 & '74), won four Belgian Cups ('72, '73, '75 & '76), one Cup Winners' Cup ('76) and one European Supercup ('76).
Jan was born on November 24 1946 in Enkhuizen. As a little boy, he played football close to the burial grounds of his village. He was shooting balls against the wall of the cemetery and caught them again. Jan Ruiter: "For thousands of times I practices that trick." He started his career when he was 10 years old when he joined the local team Dindua V.V. Aged 17, he moved to F.C. Volendam. Jan: "I had difficult times there. No one cared about me, because I was from another region of the country. I even wanted to quit, but my father insisted that I kept playing. He wanted me to be perfect." Jan carried on and made it to Volendam's first team. He was even selected for Holland's national youth team.
In 1971, he was brought to Anderlecht by Georg Kessler for 650.000 guilder. He was part of Anderlecht's golder generation now and conquered Europe under trainer Hans Croon and Raymond Goethals. In 1976, he made his debute for Holland's national team against Iceland. "We won 0-1." Jan played a good game, but was never selected again. "I didn't mind", said Jan. Though many years later he found out why. "Dutch federal coach Zwartkruis explained it. He said that he wasn't allowed to select me anymore. Constant Vanden Stock and Raymond Goethals had asked for that. In exchange, the two Anderlecht men allowed Arie Haan and Robbie Rensenbrink to play for the national team. So it was Goethals he destroyed my international carreer." In 1977, Ruiter had openly criticized Goethals. Many claim that's why he destroyed the Dutchmen's international carreer.
Jan: "There was no problem at all under Kessler and Croon. But Goethals didn't like me. He never said anything positive about me. He never spent time with me and always trained with our second goalie, Jacky Munaron. One day, before the Cup match against Olympic, Goethals called me. I knew what was about to happen and said: 'I'm not in the team I suppose? And what about Rensenbrink? He played bad too last match...' I didn't show up for that game and was suspended. I regained my place in the team a few weeks later. But meanwhile, I had given an interview in a newspaper in which I criticized Goethals. One day later, I had to appear in front of the direction board and I refused to apologise. I was suspended again, but made my way into the team again. Goethals even offered me a new contract. We made several agreements, but he broke them. It all ended in a big fight after a tournament in Paris. That's when I decided to leave."
Ruiter went to RWD Molenbeek in 1977. Afterwards, he went to Antwerp and Beerschot ('84 and '85). He made his debute as trainer for Ternat and later Lembeek, where he won the title. Then he trained Berchem Sport and became assistant trainer for KV Kortrijk and Eendracht Aalst. In 1990, he returned to Holland and he still works there as a carpenter. "I prefer that no one knows I used to play for Anderlecht or Holland. The youth these days don't show respect for former players like me."
Jan talks about his most beautiful memories: "In March 1975, I stopped two penalties in a game of Anderlecht against a selection of world's best players. One penalty was taken by Pele and the other one by Eusebio. When we were leading 4-1, Van Himst asked me to let the opponent score a few goals. But I'm a real winner. The final result was 8-3. And then we have the European final of course in 1976. Fantastic!"
What about the current generation of football players? "These days players start dreaming when they score three goals. You can say you achieved something if you spent 10 years at the top, not when you score three goals in one game. These days, there are few goalkeepers that can really win a match. Goalies who make spectacular safes are rare... Some players earn a lot of money but don't perform at all. I made a lot of money too, but I did everthing for my sport. Nowadays, it's all about doing business. That's why I think it's better to lower the salaries and increase the bonuses players get for every victory..."