Starting this season, the Eredivisie CV will award the Willy van der Kuijlen trophy to the top scorer of the Eredivisie. With this, the Eredivisie offers a lasting tribute to the all-time leading top scorer who recently passed away at the age of 74.
Willy van der Kuijlen was born on 6 December 1946 in Helmond and started his football career with the local HVV. At the age of 17, Van der Kuijlen made the switch to PSV and played 528 Eredivisie matches in 18 seasons. With three national titles, a UEFA Cup and two KNVB Cups in his pocket, Van der Kuijlen finished another season at MVV and in Belgium at Overpelt.
Many a goal net fell when a fireball from Van der Kuijlen’s feet touched it. With both left and right, he produced regular powershots, giving rise to the nickname Skiete Willy. The striker was PSV’s top scorer thirteen times and in the Eredivisie three times. He shot a total of 311 times and is still the Eredivisie’s all-time leading scorer. On 19 April 2021, Van der Kuijlen, also known as Mister PSV, passed away at the age of 74.
A fitting tribute
According to Jan de Jong, CEO of the Eredivisie, the award is a fitting tribute: "Besides being a great football player, Mister PSV was also always a real gentleman. A jewel in the crown called Eredivisie. He was modest like a typical Brabander, which was unjustified on the basis of his incredible qualities. This is a fitting posthumous tribute. His name will forever remain linked to the Eredivisie’s top scorer. Let’s hope it will take a very long time for someone to beat his record. If that is ever going to happen."
Toon Gerbrands (CEO PSV) considers it as an honour and as recognition for Willy van der Kuijlen on behalf of PSV: "It’s a great initiative on the part of the Eredivisie. Top sport is about performance, and the numbers that Willy van der Kuijlen achieved as a player are unique and inimitable. Football is strong in honouring its heroes. This is another good example. A class act."
Daughter Wendy van der Kuijlen said on behalf of the family that she was very honoured: "We are completely overwhelmed by all the beautiful words and initiatives that have come our way in recent weeks. Our dad lived for football, which brought him 311 goals. His favourite quote was not for nothing: 'The most beautiful colour is that of grass'. This trophy is the crowning glory of his work. As a family, we are very proud of that."
The Willy van der Kuijlen Trophy
This season’s top scorer already has a chance of winning the first Willy van der Kuijlen trophy. The trophy is a replica of the official Skiete Willy statue in Eindhoven. This statue was unveiled by PSV in 2004 at the east side of the Philips Stadium.