Posted: 4/25/2011


          The first time I watched a match at the old De Meer stadium was back in 1971 when Rinus Michels was introducing TOTAL FOOTBALL to the world.

         Johann Cruyff was a young waif of a lad brought up alone by his mom who was the cleaner at the stadium. It was in the old Jewish section of Amsterdam that had housed 140,000 Jews before World War II and he spoke Yiddish fluently, the lingua franca of the area, as he does today, as well as Dutch, Spanish, English and Catalan.  He led Ajax to six Dutch titles and three European Cups in seven glorious years in the '70's. The players were called The Twelve Apostles and included Johann Neeskens. Gerrie Muhren, Piet Keizer, Wim Suurbier, Ruud Kroll, Arie Gloria Ajax and Toe Komst: 11/12/2008

        Today he is 64 years old and in February was asked by the board to come up with a technical, financial and organizational master plan to return the most famous club in the land back to the glory days. They have not won a title for seven seasons and can't afford to keep hold of promising players from their academy.

        The academy is called TOE KOMST 'the Future', not far from Amsterdam Arena, the very first soccer stadium with a retractable roof has produced a remarkable number of talented players.  Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkard, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivart, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Frank & Ronald de Boer, Marc Overmars, Edwin Van Der Sar.....

        Their last European trophy was in 1995 and Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Nigel de Jong only spent a few years before moving on.  Cruyff took the Ajax philosphy to the Nou Camp and won 4 La Liga titles and the European Cup and Barca never looked back. He even named his son Jordi, a Catalan name.

        Two seasons ago was my last visit to their home. In the media lounge I enjoyed orange juice, BLOOD orange juice no less, to match the colour of their red jerseys. The stylised AJAX logo is of the God Ajax and is made up of 11 lines, the number of players on a team. I bet you didn't know that, did you?   Fans yell Juden ! Juden ! and wave Star of David flags and call themselves GODENZONEN-Sons of God.

        He is very brusque and wants his way. He asked that eight youth coaches be fired and also its director Jan Olde Riekerink, and wanted to bring back his old team mates to run the show. There would be no compromise and the slanging match became very public. It lead to the resignation of the whole board, the CEO Rik van den Boog and the club chairman Uri Coronel.

        He wanted Bergkamp brought in as Youth Director, a job everybody claims he is temprementaly unsuited for, and jobs for his old mates , such as Overmars, Dick Schoenaker, Molenaar, Peter Boeve and more. He suddenly left for Barcelona in a hurry leaving the club in disarray. The legality -and the cost of firing eight coaches cannot be taken lightly. Cruyff has had many business disasters in the past and should not get anywhere near the Ajax treasury.

        When will the mess end, and who will win?