Pierre van Hooijdonk: The sulky striker who got conned out of £2m

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
4 Min Read

Pierre van Hooijdonk, the prolific striker known for his prowess on the pitch and the controversies off it, is a name that is well-remembered amongst football fans. From his infamous refusal to play for Nottingham Forest to his impressive goal-scoring records at various clubs, van Hooijdonk’s career has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions. However, a devastating revelation in May 2008 left him reeling – the Dutch football legend had been a victim of fraud, losing a staggering £2,000,000 to a cunning scam.

Van Hooijdonk’s football journey began in his homeland, the Netherlands, where he displayed immense talent as a striker. His time at Celtic, in particular, showcased his goal-scoring prowess, netting an impressive 44 league goals in just 69 appearances. During his stint at Nottingham Forest, the controversial chapter of his career was etched into football folklore. His refusal to play for Forest due to a contract dispute earned him a bad reputation, tarnishing his image.

Hoojidonk then had successful spells at Vitesse and Benfica before becoming the Eredivisie top scorer with an astonishing 29 goals in the 2001-2002 season at Feyenoord. His journey then took him to Turkey’s Fenerbahce, where he further cemented his reputation as a prolific goal-getter scoring 32 goals in 53 games. After a brief spell at NAC Breda, his career ended back at Feyenoord and he retired in 2007, aged 37. Despite his moody attitude, he couldn’t half bang in the goals and his career was a success overall.

However, it was in May 2008 that the world learned of a devastating blow to the footballer. News emerged that Pierre van Hooijdonk had fallen prey to an elaborate scam, losing a staggering £2 million. The heartless con involved him investing in a supposed Chinese textile company that, as it turned out, did not even exist.

Hooijdonk was scammed out of £2m

A quote from the media at the time stated:

Six men aged between 32 and 58 have been arrested in The Netherlands. A seventh, 38, was nabbed in Belgium.

A spokesman for Dutch cops in Den Bosch said: “All seven are charged with fraud, money laundering, embezzlement and participating in a criminal organisation.

“We can confirm Pierre van Hooijdonk is among the victims.

“This is a substantial and complex fraud spanning many countries and worth many millions.”

It was a profound shock for the former football star to realise that he had been deceived so mercilessly. The investigation revealed the intricate web of deceit and the devastating impact on van Hooijdonk’s financial stability.

Many fans may not feel too sympathetic for Van Hoojidonk whose attitude was not always professional throughout his career. However, the amount lost is undoubtedly a horrendous event to happen to anyone and we hope he was able to recover quickly from the trauma.

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