Ajax won their 32nd title in the Dutch Eredivisie and with a record number of trophies and winning it for the third time in a row (Frank de Boer joins Michels and Van Gaal in an illustrious little group of success coaches, he only needs to win the Champions League now), Ajax establishes itself as Holland’s best club.
Quite a feat and a warm congrats from the blogsphere :-).
Ajax deserved it (as any club deserves to win it, after 30+ games in a competition). PSV should have won it, in my humble opinion, what with their investments in a strong squad but despite the presence of Mertens, Wijnaldum, Strootman, Lens, Van Bommel, Toivonen and Matavz, PSV never looked like they could really bother Ajax.
This will put even more pressure on the Eindhoven club towards next season, although it is quite likely that a number of big names will leave PSV (Mertens, Lens, Strootman, Toivonen). Feyenoord seemed to be a contender but in the last stage of the competition, they choked, spilling points vs Heerenveen, RKC and now ADO Den Haag. A young, bright and talented bunch, in Rotterdam, but simply not ready yet. And with the financial issues the club still has, they might sell a number of remarkable players this summer (Pelle, Clasie, Martins Indi, De Vrij), which will further erode their potential.
And with Vitesse and now even FC Utrecht making their way up, we might be looking forward to an increasingly interesting domestic competition.
Ajax is doing a lot of things well. I personally believe Feyenoord have eclipsed them in youth development, as Ajax is the Manchester City of youth players. They might keep the wallet closed for older players but at the youth level, Ajax is one of the big spenders.
But hey, they are not as good in development maybe as they used to be, they still know how to scout. With players like Eriksen, Fischer, Moisander and Boilesen, it’s clear that the Ajax scouts still now the way in Scandinavia. And now, Ajax is even scouting further afield, and China is full on the radar in Amsterdam!
With the JC revolution still going (more like an evolution) in the background, it is Frank de Boer and his staff who have been working diligently and without too much fuss on furthering the Ajax cause. Frank is a true manager. He says what he does and he does what he says. He is clear in his vision, he treats the players like adults and he is 100% himself. We all know that Dennis Bergkamp is not much different, so the leadership positions in Amsterdam are filled up very well.
De Boer lets Ajax play recognisable football and isn’t afraid to experiment a bit with his tactics (as Roberto Mancini must have noticed in the CL group games). He has also been able to lift question-mark players like Ken Vermeer, Daley Blind, Derk Boerrigter and Lasse Schone to a higher level. The first three even made their Oranje debut under De Boer.
Ajax did what it needed to do domestically and actually impressed in the European league.
The key thing for Ajax will be to hold on to Christian Eriksen and Siem de Jong. With those two players in the squad, and a fit Ryan Babel and a further matured Victor Fischer, Ajax could definitely try and survive the group stages in the CL. This year, they had to face the Spanish, English and Germany champs and they didn’t do too shabby. With a bit more luck in the draw, Ajax could start its renewed ascent under De Boer, allowing him to enter that somewhat bigger group of coaches who won a European Cup with the Sons of Gods.
So it’s congrats, and thanks… As Ajax will further stimulate the competition with the likes of PSV (ashamed) and Feyenoord ( wannabees) while Vitesse, Utrecht, Heerenveen, AZ and Twente will be looking up with jealousy. Offering us even more exciting games to come!