The first week of 2011 isn’t a over yet and quite a lot happened already.  A short update.

First, and most important: Frank de Boer has signed a long term deal with Ajax. His contract runs until the summer of 2014. It’s no surprise for anyone De Boer is now officially the manager of Ajax. It was only a matter of time. General manager Rik van den Boog has admit Frank de Boer had the best profile to replace Martin Jol even though he said there was a very short shortlist. His own words: ‘Frank de Boer’s philosophy is the philosophy of Ajax’. I share Van den Boog’s opinion. For this group, I don’t think there’s a better coach at the moment. Frank de Boer knows what Ajax is, what it takes to be part of Ajax, how Ajax should play. His vision is quite similar to Louis van Gaal’s and Johan Cruijff’s vision. It’s the style of how the youngsters learn to play football at the academy. It’s the Ajax way of playing football. Frank de Boer will be assisted by Danny Blind and Hennie Spijkerman.

There aren’t only changes in the staff of the first team. With Frank de Boer moving up to the first team and Bob de Klerk leaving to Toronto FC, there’s a space for someone else becoming the coach of the U19’s. Dennis Bergkamp will be the man to fill up that space. He’s leaving the second team of the U14’s. Bergkamp will do the job with former Ajax keeper Fred Grim. The Reserves team have a new coach aswell. Albert van der Dussen and Brian Roy are replaced by Gery Vink. Wim Jonk has said no to becoming Vink’s right hand. He rather want to keep coaching a youth team. Former Ajax player Yannis Anastasiou is named to become Vink’s assistant now. No confirmation yet. Roy will have another function at Ajax. No words yet on Van der Dussen who was brought in by Martin Jol.

On the day Frank de Boer signed his contract, Henri Toivomaki also signed a contract. The 19-year old Finnish youth international has signed a deal until the summer of 2013 with an option to extend it with another two years. The right back will start in the Reserves team. He came over from FC Lathi on a free and joined on Jari Litmanen’s advice. The Ajax legend told the youngster Ajax are a great club and the perfect club for youngsters to develop.

At the first training of 2011, Dario Cvitanich and Bruno Silva returned from Latin America where they’ve been on loan at Pachuca and Internacional. Someone else returned from Latin America aswell. Ajax captain Luis Suarez showed himself after a 3-week holiday in his country Uruguay. Mounir El Hamdaoui returns from his holiday aswell but didn’t show himself outside. He’s suffering laryngitis but will join the rest of the squad on their trip to Turkey. De Boer and El Hamdaoui have talked about their ‘problems’. The Moroccan international wasn’t physically and mentally not able to play for Ajax before his holiday mainly because he wasn’t happy with the way he heard he wouldn’t play against AC Milan a month ago. Everything seems to be cleared now and they both want to try to make the best of it.

Another striker, Mido, has informed Ajax by sending a letter that he’s searching for a new challenge and won’t show himself at a training anymore. He wants to leave Ajax immediately. Even though Ajax are playing in a different system now than under Martin Jol, De Boer’s missing a real number 9. The solution with Siem de Jong isn’t the ideal one and the 40-year old would’ve liked to have the Egyptian up his sleeve.

In the first meeting of the Members Council, the latter has clashed with the board. Both have different ideas on how to monitor and evaluate the policy of the club. The Council want three independant commissions (a technical and financial one and one who’s defending the structure and culture of the club) to evaluate the policy and have a certain control. Chairman Uri Coronel favors different  feedback groups who can advice the board. The board members can decide themselves whether they want to take the advice or not. To be continued..

Before the lads fly to Turkey on Saturday, the players who’ve been to the World Cup will join their team mates and a friendly against Hamburg in Hamburg will be played. After a week in Turkey they’ll play the first game in the Telekom Arena against Galatasaray. The first game of 2011 in the Eredivisie is the ‘Klassieker’ against Feyenoord which was postponed before the winter break.

The expectations for the second half of the season are high in Amsterdam and the rest of the country. The players know that but are ready for it. Urby Emanuelson has said that they are ready to achieve and ready to shine. Let’s hope 2011 will bring Ajax beautiful things with winning the league as the absolute priority.

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