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The members of Ajax’s board of directors have resigned last night over a disagreement with club legend Johan Cruyff.

Uri Coronel (chairman), Cor van Eijden and Joop Krant announced this during a meeting with the members council. In advance, the meeting was expected to be a long one. One that wouldn’t finish before midnight because the full board, the board of directors and Cruyff & Co would explain everything that happened in the past few weeks. It never happened because during the meeting it became clear for the members council that the board of directors should execute the advice given by Johan Cruijff et al., including the consequences for the personnel. Ajax’s board of directors is ultimately responsible for the policy and has told the members’ council that it is not prepared to waive this responsibility. The supervisory board supports the board of directors in its decision.

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When Gregory van der Wiel scored the 2 nil against Sparta in Rotterdam last season, Jan Vertonghen pointed to the crest and held out three fingers. Three fingers that stand for the third star (30th league title) Ajax still have to win.

That little sign is bigger than big in its meaning. It showed Jan Vertonghen’s passion and love for Ajax. The Belgian, who joined the academy at the age of 15 from Germinal Beerschot, has been a mainstay in the current Ajax side for about four seasons. Since being named as talent of the year in 2006/2007, he’s been a rising star. And since Thomas Vermaelen left to Arsenal in the summer of 2009, Vertonghen has become one of Ajax’s key players. He has taken over the role of his Belgian friend in the center of the defense with ease. He played in different positions before that: left back, left midfielder, holding midfielder and also center back. He was and still is a utility man capable of playing in any role between midfield and defense.

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Where the sun was shining last week, when Johan Cruyff handed over his report with advices, grey clouds are hanging above the ArenA right now.

Johan Cruyff and his right and left hand, Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk, haven’t come to an agreement with the board. The board wants to follow Johan Cruyff’s advices about the direction Ajax have to go. But they don’t want to give him full power. Advices that include the academy and technical part of the club. With most important de Boer, Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk becoming the ‘footballing heart’ of Ajax. This Super Trio would be in charge of scouting (Jonk), the academy (Bergkamp and the first team (De Boer).

To implement this ideas, Cruyff wants the board to follow up these advices strictly (including the consequences for some persons) and he also wants full power. The board, on the other hand don’t want to give the legendary no. 14 the full power to follow his own advices. They agreed on the recommendations but not on the way how to implement them. In fact they say: ‘We accept it but we also decide what’s going to happen’.

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Look at Christian Eriksen’s face an you know enough. In less than a week, Ajax’s hope for winning the Europa League and the league title is gone. A 3-2 loss in The Hague against ADO has killed Ajax’s chances for the league title. Even more painful is that Ajax actually were the better side but bad defending and 3rd keeper Jeroen Verhoeven being more a hindrance than a help have killed off the slim title aspirations.

A howler by Gregory van der Wiel and Toby Alderweireld gave ADO the lead. It was captain Jan Vertonghen who hammered it in (108 km/h) and gave Ajax the equalizer. But once again bad defending and a indecisive goalkeeper made it easy for ADO to take the lead for the second time. A lovely header of Christian Eriksen after a good cross by Miki Sulejmani and 2-2 was the sight on the score sheet. Don’t ask me how it happened, but ADO took the lead once again after awful defending. It was a goal that was almost a copy of the 2-1. Definitely something that makes you raging, that made me raging and made Frank de Boer raging.

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It’s Ajax’s 111th birthday today. A good moment to go back where everything started.

Once upon a time, Han Dade, Carel Reeser and Floris Stempel loved to kick a ball around. The friends  from Amsterdam decided to start a football club in 1883, named Union. They weren’t statisfied with this name and within a year they changed the name to Footh-Ball Club Ajax.  The club was named after the Greek hero which was normal in those days. There are no facts about this Ajax, if they won much or not. A few years passed in which the club played matches against other teams in their neighborhood in Amsterdam.

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Johan Cruyff has joined a so called soundboard group earlier this year to bring Ajax back to the top. On the day Frank de Boer has been head coach of Ajax for 100 days, he has presented his report with his plan for Ajax’s future to the board and the rest of the club. He’s the main leader on this journey. He’s the one with the ideas. He’s the one where everyone listens to.

His plans are mainly about the technical part of the club and about the organization. Which person is the most suitable for which role.  The key word in this is the oh so famous academy. A change in this academy is needed to bring Ajax back to the top according to El Salvadore. In the last few weeks, Cruyff has build a plan for this with only ex football players who all played for Ajax. Cruyff: ‘Ajax will  be led again by ex-footballers who have the knowhow and experience with my football philosophy. For the unknowns under us. Cruyff’s philosohpy is 4-3-3 with wide wingers, a lot of movement and high pressing.

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When a player signs a contract for a club, he gives the oh so famous ‘yes I will’ to the club. In good and bad times, they’ll stand by each other. Where a marriage normally means forever, isn’t that the same with signing a contract. Especially not in football nowadays, but that’s another story.

Mounir El Hamdaoui and Ajax gave each other the ‘yes word’ last summer. Former Ajax coach, Martin Jol was happy he had signed the best striker in Holland after Luis Suarez. It would just be a matter of time until the two of them became an unstoppable duo. And it has to be said, from the start it looked like it was going to be a happy marriage. El Hamdaoui and Suarez found each other easily and Ajax’s number 9 scored some beauties.

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On the eve of Ajax – Spartak Moscow in the last 16 of the Europa League tomorrow night, Ajax’s manager Frank de Boer had his press conference and once again he said things that sound like music in the ears of many people that feel ver strongly about Ajax. “Defending starts with the forwards. When we lose the ball, we don’t stop. We start to pressure to get the ball back as quick as possible. Pressing left, right, above and below. Always and everywhere. That’s what I say to my players”. With this, it’s not a surprise Ajax have only conceded goals in 3 of the 15 games under Frank de Boer. Of course, the defense with Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Blind are a strong line, if not Ajax’s strongest. But conceding so few goals is a merit of the whole team and it starts with the front line. If needed, the wingers Lorenzo Ebecilio and Miralem Sulejmani, defend near the back line.


High pressing in last weekend’s Eredivisie game against AZ Alkmaar (4-0)

High pressuring is an important thing in Frank de Boer’s football philosophy. He says: ‘To dose is something you do when you have the ball, not when you don’t have it. When you have the ball, play it calmly around, take a breath and then start with a new attack’. To sum up the other parts of his and Ajax’s philosophy: 4-3-3 with wide wingers and constant movement with and without the ball.

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