Hendrik (Henk) Groot (Zaandijk, April 22, 1938 – Zaandam, May 11, 2022) was a Dutch footballer who played for Stormvogels, Ajax, Feyenoord and the Dutch national team.
Henk Groot grew up in the village of Zaandijk. In his youth he played football at the local ZVV Zaandijk association. At the age of seventeen, he reached the first team, where he scored goals continuously. Shortly afterwards, the Stormvogels club signed up, where he started playing football as a semi-pro. His six-year-older brother Cees was also involved in the deal and so both brothers played at the club from IJmuiden.
In 1959 the two brothers transferred to Ajax. On his debut, against NAC, Henk Groot managed to find the net. Ajax won the match 3–0 and Henk was responsible for all the goals. He continued to score and became the league's top scorer that 1959-60 season with 38 goals, 9 more than his brother Cees, who finished third on the top scorer list. In his first season he won his first national championship with Ajax.
A season later, Groot established an unparalleled record within Ajax by scoring 41 goals in the 1960/61 competition. In total he even scored 65 goals that season 1960/61, the goals in the cup (fourteen in eight games) and Intertoto tournament (nine in five games) added. In the Eredivisie, only Coen Dillen has scored more in one season (43 goals in the 1956/57 season).
The Italian Lanerossi Vicenza, which played in the highest class, wanted to take over Groot in 1961. Groot liked it. Ajax asked for a transfer fee of 250,000 guilders, but Lanerossi Vicenza thought that was too much. Groot then had himself put on the transfer list at Ajax, because the club had done nothing with an offer from the Italians. Due to the transfer system, it was also more advantageous if the player put himself on the transfer list. With mixed feelings, Groot heard that he was taken over by Feijenoord in 1963 for an amount of 250,000 guilders. He played there for two seasons and scored 34 goals in the competition. In his second season with the Rotterdam club, he won his second national championship. In the meantime Ajax went less and less (13th in 1964/65), until the arrival of Jaap van Praag as chairman. Ajax bought the striker back for a hefty sum of 375,000 guilders. The return was a requirement of the new trainer Rinus Michels.
Back at Ajax
As a veteran, Henk Groot had to fulfill a different role than in his first period at Ajax. As a constructive midfielder, he brought peace to the selection with young players such as Johan Cruijff, Wim Suurbier and Barry Hulshoff. His brother Cees had meanwhile returned to his old club in Zaandijk. He mainly scored his goals as a precise penalty kick specialist. In 1969 he injured his knee by a death kick he received from Polish player Zygfryd Szołtysik during an international match with the Dutch national team. Because of this injury, his sporting career came to an end in 1970 after multiple operations and rehabilitation. Groot was paid compensation through the KNVB. He went to work as a representative for a construction company and, at Michels' request, went to analyze opponents for Ajax as a scout. Groot became sporting director or professional football coordinator at Ajax in January 1973, but resigned on 1 October 1973 due to a lack of appreciation and uncertainty about the interpretation of his position.
In 1970 he was elected to the municipal council of Zaandijk on behalf of the Municipal Interests party. In 1971 he stopped due to busy other activities.
Roll of Honor
Groot died at the age of 84 in a care home in Zaandam.
In addition to his brother Cees, his many sons played