After a well deserved break I’m back writing all things Ajax for the upcoming 2011/2012 season.

After winning the championship on the last day, Ajax is back where the club belongs. Everywhere they have been on their pre season tour inHolland, you see why this is the biggest club inHolland. Whether they are inFriesland, Twente or de Achterhoek, you see red and white everywhere. Four a five rows thick during training sessions and even more during a friendly. Young and old. The symbolic third star has done the club good for more than one reason. Ajax is hot. Ajax is big booming business.
Ajax kick off their 2011/12 campaign tomorrow against FC Twente and will battle for the Johan Cruijff Schaal. A first test how this team has come through the summer. With new additions Theo Janssen (FC Twente), Derk Boerrigter (RKC Waalwijk), Thulani Serero (Ajax Cape Town), Kolbeinn Sigthórsson (AZ Alkmaar) and Mats Rits (Germinal Beerschot – will most likely join Jong Ajax), the squad is stronger than last season. Not to mention that Jan Vertonghen and Gregory van der Wiel are still with us. Maarten Stekelenburg is too but his move to AS Roma seems to be imminent. He is having his medical in Rome tomorrow.Ajax, AS Roma and Stekelenburg have all reached an verbally agreement but the hold-up is Roma not proving bank guarantee. Once that’s solved, Maarten Stekelenburg will make his well deserved move toItaly. With Kenneth Vermeer, Ajax have already an great replacement in their hands. He proved that in the last five/six weeks of last season.

During the pre season games against Buitenpost (4-0), AZSV (11-0), Jahn Regensburg (0-0), FC Nürnberg (0-2) and Independiente (5-1) there was one thing that caught the eye every single game: 4-3-3 with out-and-out wingers, high pressuring and finding the footballing solution. Now you may think that’s not a surprise as Frank de Boer tries to play this way ever since his first training session. True but if you compare this to last season’s preparation there’s a huge improvement.Ajax is Ajax again in the way they play. You can see the boys find each other better and better. There’s still a lot of work to do but the start is promising. In Frank de Boer’s words: ‘were on 70% percent of what I aim so there’s still work to do’.

Back to May 15. The game against FC Twente that secured the 30th championship forAjax – a special day that I’ll never forget. The wayAjax played in that game should be the standard for every game. Passion, high pressuring, passing the ball around, no fear etc. If Ajax can bring that up, the sky isn’t the limit..

Ajax start their season with the same goals as every season: winning the Eredivisie and securing playing in Europe after the winter break (Champions League or Europa League). With this squad,Ajax have a great chance of gaining both. It’s a strong squad in which at least 15 boys could make the first team. It feels very safe to know that when Frank de Boer has or wants to make changes, the team could be as strong as it was before.

The starting line-up for next season will be: 

                         Van der Wiel – Alderweireld – Vertonghen – Boilesen
                                                               De Jong – Eriksen
                                             Sulejmani – Sigthórsson – Ebecilio

When I look at this XI, a smile appears on my face. It’s a strong young line up with world class players, fantastic talents and it’s balanced between young and experienced players. This team can do great things next season in both the Eredivisie and Europe. I’m ready to be taken on an amazing journey once again.