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.

Amsterdam was growing in the days back then and the local authority wanted to build houses on the ground the three friends were playing their matches.  The members of Footh-Ball Club Ajax had to find another ground but at that moment, the club was more death than alive. Dade, Reeser and Stempel didn’t want to give up on Ajax. They didn’t want to give up on their dream and decided to go all out for one last time to establish a football club that would achieve success. The three friends wrote a letter in which they called everyone up to sign up for a ‘brand new football club’. The effort wasn’t for nothing because on the 18th of March in 1900 many interested people came to  the pub ‘Oost-Indië’. It was a day to remember because on the end of it, history was written. Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax was born. Notice that this time the guys managed to spell ‘football’ in the right way.

The brand new Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax joined the Amsterdam Football Association and the club could rent a ground in North Amsterdam. From the first day, the club went like a rocket. In their first two season they were runner ups in the league of the Amsterdam Football Association, not bad for a club that had just started. The first official trophy of the club was a medal for scoring the most goals in the league. All the little success of AFC Ajax wasn’t unnoticed in the rest of the country. They saw a small club, called Ajax, which played some good football. As a reward, Ajax got an invitation to play games outside Amsterdam.

It got serious when Ajax joined the Dutch Football Association in 1902 where they won the league in the first year and promoted from the ‘third class’ to the ‘second class’. In 1907, the club moved from North Amsterdam to East Amsterdam. To the ‘Middenweg’ where in 1934 De Meer would be build. The stadium where Ajax would have their glory days. In 1907 there was nothing more than just bare plain. The boys couldn’t care about it, all they wanted was playing some good football. In 1908 they merged with a club called Holland but the name and colours (red and white) remained the same. The club had better players and under the wings of Irish coach John Kirwan, Ajax joined the highest league in Holland in 1911. Ajax had to change their colours, because Sparta Rotterdam played in the same red-white-red striped shirts. From that moment, Ajax has been playing in their famous white-red-white.

With head coach Jack Reynolds, Ajax won the first league title in 1918 after an unbeaten season. From that moment they went on in what would become one of the best clubs the world has ever known with a very rich history: 29 league titles, 18 Dutch Cups, 4 European Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, two times the World Cup for clubs and more. Players like Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Ruud Krol, Piet Keizer, Sjaak Swart,  Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert, Frank de Boer, Edwin van der Sar, Clarence Seedorf, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart all came through the ranks of the famous youth academy and played in the  beautiful white-red-white.

Words are not enough to describe how grateful I am but thank you Han, Floris and Carel for not giving up your dream to start a football club. Thank you for founding this wonderful club with it’s famous academy and rich history. Without you, the world wouldn’t have been the same.