Frits Philips

Historie © Pics United

Frederik Jacques Philips, fondly referred to by employees as ''Mr. Frits," runs like a red thread through the rich history of PSV. On 15 January 1911, the five-year-old boy Frits Philips, 16 April 1905, kicked off the first match the Philips Elftal, the predecessor of the current PSV team. He was the son of co-founder Anton Philips and passed away in 2005 at the age of one hundred. He was there when the club was officially founded on 31 August 1913 and showed a long-life involvement as a die-hard fan. His fellow supporters, club officials, members of the board and representatives of the media all looked upon him as the most loyal fan of the club, a living legend of PSV.

A great legend
Mister Frits is a great legend in many respects: he was the last Philips top manager of the Philips family. At the age of 25. after graduating as an industrial engineer, his father Anton delegated a great deal of responsibility to him and when he was 35 he was in sole charge of the company. His father and the entire board had fled to in the Second World War but Frits did not want to leave his employees. He would frequently receive death threats during the Nazi occupation of the from the Germans occupiers because he refused to cooperate with them. He was imprisoned for five months, was released but felt forced to go into hiding until was liberated in September 1944. He was the face of the Philips company and served as president after the war until his retirement in 1971 and then stayed on as a member of the supervisory board until 1977.

Frits Philips became an icon of the city of , gaining widespread popularity for his involvement and great communication skills enabling him to get along fine with all kinds of people. His 100th birthday on 16 April 2005 was nationally televised and PSV supporters, inhabitants from and (former) Philips employees rightly thought it called for a special celebration!

As a PSV fan, Frits Philips witnessed his favourite team win eighteen league titles, the last of which was celebrated in the summer of 2005, the year of his death. Captain Mark van Bommel lifted the championship shield, ventured into the Philips Stadion grandstand to allow Frits Philips, the team’s most fervent fan, to hoist the league shield, a most memorable moment of outstanding fellowship. “Mr Frits” passed away later that year, on 5 December, on his estate De Wielewaal. A statue was raised in his honour on the Market square in in 2007.