Vitesse is one of the oldest football clubs in the Netherlands. The club from Arnhem in the east of the country was founded in 1892 under the name Vitesse 1892. More than a century later, the professional and the amateur branches were separated. The professionals continued under the name Vitesse, as the club is known now. Vitesse never won the championship nor the Cup, but the club reached the Cup Final on three occasions. The last time was in 1990, when PSV was the strongest of the two in Rotterdam: 1-0.
Before the introduction of professional football in the Netherlands in 1954, Vitesse gained some regional successes. In 1898, 1903, 1913, 1914, 1915 and 1953 the club became champion in the Eastern First Division. It wasn't until 1971 that Vitesse was promoted to the eredivisie, the highest league in the country. Also thanks to a 12-1 defeat by Ajax (still a Dutch record), the stay on the highest level only lasted for one year, but in 1977 the Arnhem club managed to reach the eredivisie again, this time for two years. Third time was lucky for Vitesse as well, as they were promoted in 1989 again and they're still on the highest level now.
Since then, they have ended in the top five almost every year. Vitesse's success is mainly contributed to their infamous chairman, Karel Aalbers. The slick businessman entered the board in 1983. Under the visionary everything changed within the suffering low ranked club that Vitesse was at the time. Less than one thousand visitors took the effort to watch their footballers at an old and far from cozy stadium called Nieuw Monnikenhuize. Aalbers reorganized the club, and was laughed at when he yelled out his plans for a new, outrageously modern stadium. But thanks to Aalbers' persistance, the futuristic Gelredome stadium gave Arnhem world fame and provided Vitesse with the means to grow from a budget of EUR 400,000 to EUR 25,000,000. The squad is worth over EUR 50,000,000 now and 24,000 people hold season tickets. A debt of 30 million euro forced Aalbers to retire in 2000. Since then, Vitesse has cut wages and other expenses.
The most famous footballers in Vitesse's history are Just Göbel, Charly Bosveld and Nikos Machlas. Göbel played in the first decennia of last century and was one of the most revolutionary goalkeepers in history of Dutch football. Where every 'keeper at the time used to punch or kick the ball, he was the first to try to catch it. He made his debut in the Dutch national team on March 19, 1911, against Belgium (5-1 win) and went on to play 22 times for his country. Henk Bosveld was nicknamed Charly because his walk was very similar to Charlie Chaplin's. The twofold international was a true technician in midfield and was elected Vitesse player of the century in 2000. Greek forward Machlas was European top scorer in 1998, scoring sixty League goals in three seasons at Vitesse before earning a transfer to top club Ajax. The transfer fee of nine million euro was the highest ever in the Netherlands. Famous Dutch international Ronald Koeman started his coaching career at Vitesse, but he was also transferred to Ajax at the end of 2001.