Three hours after Maarten Stekelenburg and Jan Vertonghen showed the championship trophy for the first time to the 50.000 ecstatic people in the Amsterdam ArenA, they did the same to more than hundred thousand celebrating fans at the Museumplein. There was one small difference. They showed the trophy with a dent, a symbolic dent.

Winning the 30th championship after beating FC Twente (3-1) in what was the best game of the season was something many Ajax fans never dared to dream of after losing to ADO Den Haag in March. A six-point gap, five games before the end of the season, seemed to be unbridgeable. It seemed, but reality proved wrong. A winning streak of 5 games and PSV and FC Twente dropping points like flies crowned Ajax champions on the final day. It was a season in which Ajax had opposing wind and had to fight for it. The dent in the trophy symbolizes all of that.But it symbolizes more. It symbolizes the resigning of Martin Jol and Ajax’s rebuilding under Frank de Boer, the resigning of the board and management including CEO Rik van den Boog. It shows the mud throwing war between Ajax and Johan Cruyff. The depart of star player Luis Suarez and Urby Emanuelson in January. The trouble between Frank de Boer and Mounir El Hamdaoui. You can see it all in that one little dent caused by a tram wire Jan Vertonghen and Maarten Stekelenburg saw too late.

The players probably won’t see the dent as a symbol for all the board and management turmoil. For them it probably symbolizes stamina and a never ending believe in their own qualities. After the loss in The Hague against ADO, players still believed it was possible. A little help from PSV and Twente was needed but why not. After the Dutch Cup Final (which they lost) every single Ajax playersthat spoke, if it was Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Vurnon Anita or some else, believed next week was theirs. It was impossible to notice a small piece of doubt. They would stand next week with the championship trophy. And so it happened.

When Frank de Boer took over in the first week of December 2010, it was his goal to give Ajax it’s face back. To let Ajax play the Ajax way again. No one thought he would stand with the most important trophy only six months later. It was a journey of trial and error. Great performances against AC Milan, Spartak Moscow and FC Twente but also poor ones against Heracles Almelo, Willem II and Excelsior. That defines a young team. The average age of the starting XI is just 22 years old. But there’s one thing that remained constant over all the games under Frank de Boer. They played with a plan, with a philosophy. Frank de Boer’s philosophy. Ajax’s philosophy. The title has been won playing in that philosophy. It’s how Frank de Boer wants to see it, Ajax want to see it and the supporters want to see it.

The dent doesn’t only symbolizes all the misery and ‘negative’ things Ajax had to deal with this season. The championship trophy is one that will shine in the  cabinet. It’s number 30. A number that had become an obsession for Ajax supporters over the last seven years. And finally it’s all behind us. The dent symbolizes the end of an era and the start of a new one with a new born Ajax. The future does look bright.

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