The Ajax Saga

It came as a surprise to many. Peter Bosz to leave Ajax after only 1 season! The man who brought creative football back to Amsterdam, who was ballsy enough to renovate the whole team and who brought Ajax back to the European top. How could Ajax let this happen?

Ajax followers and insiders knew what was happening behind closed doors. Throughout the season, the marriage Bosz-Kruzen and Ajax was a marriage of convenience.

Ajax needed to get a coach in with a football vision close to Cruyff’s and preferably a Dutch one. There weren’t many candidates. John van de Brom was weighed but felt too light. Jaap Stam had just gone on his own adventure. John van ‘t Schip took a sabbatical to be with his dying father.

bosz davey press

Peter Bosz: “Who? Tiju/Emanuel? Where did he play?”

Bosz needed Ajax to fulfil his own ambitions: reach the European top. As Vitesse coach, you don’t reach the shortlists of top European clubs. No matter how well you perform. His stint in Israel gave him at least a chance to get to Champions League level. Otherwise, the door to his beloved Feyenoord was closed with Gio firmly at the helm and Bosz’ history as less than successful technical director fresh in people’s memory.

Bosz was never cheered like Frank de Boer or say, Ronald Koeman in Amsterdam. Peter Bosz was an important Feyenoord midfielder and per definition suspect in the Arena.

And while the world outside of Ajax showered him with compliments for the second season half and the European campaign, the Ajax management had plenty to complain about with Bosz.

Ironically, Borussia Dortmund called Ajax for permission to negotiate with Bosz in between to evaluation sessions, Ajax was going through with Bosz and Kruzen.

bosz spijker

Hennie Spijkerman: “Dortmund is thata way!”

And it didn’t go well. Yes, Ajax was happy and proud of the European performances and the upward trend in performance domestically.

But the Ajax management (Van der Sar and Bergkamp in particular) had some serious questions about certain aspects of Bosz’ management.

On the other end of the ledger, Ajax criticised Bosz for not winning a trophy. Sure, the finals in the EL was great, but that would be a one off. Why didn’t Ajax perform better in the National Cup (early exit vs Willem II). And clearly Ajax had one draw too many to crown itself champions. Points lost in the first months of the season, months inwhich the headstrong Bosz ignored the notes of Frank de Boer. The success coach – 4 titles! – had advised Ajax to move on from Bazoer and El Ghazi, who were “difficult to coach”. Bosz ignored the advice and used the two in the start of the season. Ajax was keen to sign Hakim Ziyech but the new coach said he didn’t need him. “We have enough good midfielders”. But when Bosz lost the CL qualification game with a suicide tactics and thereby lost out on millions for the club, he quickly accepted the signing of Ziyech, who joined Ajax when they’d already had a 6 point gap with Feyenoord.

And in the first months, Bosz played Ziyech as right winger and criticised the playmaker at every opportunity. Publically.

As has been recounted here a couple of times, Bosz finally did find the balance he wanted, with Schone on #6 and Veltman as right back and young upstart Dolberg as #9 (after Traore failed on that spot), but it was a bit too late. By then Ajax had a massive mountain to climb.

dennis coach

Bergkamp: “Daley, don’t listen to what Bosz says….”

The Ajax management praised Bosz’ home performances vs Schalke and Lyon but also criticised the performances vs Kopenhagen and the away games vs Schalke and Lyon, claiming that tactical choices made by Bosz exposed Ajax to an potential exit. Sheer luck determined Ajax’ march to the finals. Both Schalke and Lyon could have scored twice early in their home games and lucky bounces resulted in Ajax pulling through.

On top of that, one of the key criticisms was Bosz’ people management with the backroom staff. Dennis Bergkamp does have an awkward role within Ajax. He wears three hats: he’s assistant coach, he’s part of the management team and he has the mystical job of Culture Guardian. And Bergkamp and Bosz did not have a warm working relationship, to say the least. Dennis the Menace sat next to De Boer on the bench during Ajax matches, but Bosz relegated the Arsenal legend to the stands on game day. This pissed Bergkamp off so much, that he wouldn’t travel to away games anymore.

Carlo L’Ami and Henny Spijkerman can be considered true blue Ajax coaches. They have been around for a spell and are considered highly valuable within Ajax. Bosz and Kruzen did not have a good relationship with them either.

So much so, that Bosz in the winter break already announced that in the next season, he wanted to change the organisation structure. He wanted Spijkerman and L’Ami in a different role and bring more of his own people in.

Bosz Sar

This appeared to be the straw for Edwin van der Sar. He put his foot down and declared that the coach needs to coach. He can bring in one assistant coach and that’s it. Bosz was adamant that his way should be The Way. Did I mention he’s not unlike Johan Cruyff?

So when Ajax was evaluation the season and Dortmund called, Van der Sar gave Dortmund permission to talk to Bosz. The former Oranje international saw this as a sign that the support for him and Kruzen was lingering and it would be better to go for the exit.

Dortmund ended up paying a 5mio euro fee for Ajax to release Bosz and it appears all parties were relieved for this situation to occur.

It became quite clear that the new man for the job was already found. Yes, the names of Ten Cate, Roger Schmidt, Erik ten Hag (FC Utrecht) and Jaap Stam (Reading) popped up, but Ten Cate immediately announced he wasn’t in the market. Schmidt accepted a lot of yuan from China and Stam was keen to finish the job at Reading.

Marcel Keizer was the dream candidate for Ajax from the start of this process.

In keeping with that amazing tradition at Ajax, that youth coaches move up when the top job becomes available. Like Cruyff was also able to bring into Barcelona in recent years (not always). Guardiola, Vilanova, Luis Enrique as examples. At Ajax, the illustrious Beenhakker, De Mos, Van Gaal, Wouters, De Boer…they all came from a stint at Jong Ajax to take the reigns and most of them were incredibly successful.


Marcel Keizer – no nonsense

Marcel Keizer is exactly the right guy to step into that role. He has Ajax in his DNA (his uncle was Piet Keizer, Marcel played for Ajax up until the senior team, together with Bergkamp and the De Boer bros). Keizer even has a Feyenoord-Ajax on his resume but didn’t play more than four matches in Ajax 1. Most of his career he played for Cambuur Leeuwarden. But as a youth coach, he impressed. His Jong Ajax finished second in the Jupiler League and he successfully integrated talents like Nouri and De Jong into his team and prepared them for bigger things.

He knows the Ajax housestyle, he’s well liked in the club, he is direct and loathes politics. And on top of that, he’s a close friend of Dennis Bergkamp.

He will need to guide Ajax through the next phase, in which players like Schone and Viergever will have to make way, where Klaassen, Traore and possibly Dolberg and Sanchez will move on. Where Keizer will be able to integrate some of his young talents into the Ajax 1 team (Van de Beek, De Jong, Nouri).

I wish Peter Bosz all the best at Dortmund. It’s exciting to have a Dutch coach back at CL level. I think he’ll fit nicely in Germany and he knows the Bundesliga and the German culture well.

I wish Keizer all the best with Ajax. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has the ability to remain at Ajax for many years, in close cooperation with Bergkamp. I wish to see more talents come through, and I like to see Tete, Riedewald, De Ligt, Nouri, Van de Beek and De Jong make it to the Dutch National Team.

I wish them the National Cup every season, as long as Feyenoord wins the title…

Bosz Borus

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  1. Would love to see Frenkie de Jong and Nouri get into the team as well, love to watch them play, but really they will have to earn it themselves.
    A little more space in the middle now.
    What do you think of Klaassen off to Koeman’s Everton?

  2. Great move for him. Not sure if he is able to step into Barkley’s shoes. I rate Barkley high. Klaassen is less skilled on the ball but great energy and wonderful sense of positioning.

    He was important to Ajax but never made that step up in Oranje.

    Then again, many players have this (Wijnaldum, Promes, Memphis) while Janssen is the other way around….

    1. klassen is way yo intelligent than (Promes,wijnaldum and Mempiss)but he is less skilled and physically weaker than 3 of them.
      But Promes and wijnaldum has hell of energy and they are not less to klassen or anybody.i think only Toonstra and Vilhena shows more energy than both.
      klassen has choose a wise decision to join koeman,he undrestands koeman and koeman is teaching dutch football there.klassen is not a fat pig and his workrate and positioning is very very good…that will help him to survive there especially under koeman.i am sure he will be the most intelligent player in koemans everton squad..i can see a suceess for him.
      wijnaldum and promes are doing well in NT and club…
      Memphis would have been astonishing had he stayed away from UNNCESSARY MUSCLE BUILDING AND BULK up..and i dont like his attitude as well.Why i am saying this as i went to gym and developed strong muscles and i looked good and strong,but on football ground i became shadow of myself,my accleration,speed and agility left me for ever..thats same thing happening with Memphis..
      Look at Roben,how thin he is still 33..Look at Ronaldo he is still thin at 32 though he did tried some weight training but he didnt take it to another level like Depay and Myself..

  3. Klaasen to Everton is a good move for him. It’s time for him to move on and prove his value in a more competitive league.

    I hope Marcel Keizer does well with Ajax although it’ll be difficult if Tete goes to Galatasaray, Veltman goes to Dortmund, Sanchez to Barcelona?, De Ligt to Bayern?….I know they are probably only media rumours but I really hope they stay on with Ajax at least for another season.

    Ajax has De Jong, Nouri, Kluivert, Riedewald, Tete, Veltman, DeLigt. Many Dutch talents and if Marcel Keizer has coached Jong Ajax he’ll bring new youngsters with him.

    Has Ajax already qualified for the CL or do they have to play a play-off?

    1. I dont know who will step up from Jong ajax for Rb spot,..i hope Tete stays and veltman Kongolo and karsdorp singed for feynoord again..that would be a wise move..

  4. Jan:

    I had hoped you would put in a good word for me with the Ajax folks.

    Marcel Keizer? Argon, VVSB, Telstar, Emmen, Cambuur? Sounds like he might be a good fit for a chemical engineering position.

    Doesn’t anyone appreciate the value of experience anymore? Not that my current job is going poorly right now, but I need to keep my options open. Ajax would have been a nice stepping stone…

    Emmanuel, perhaps you can audition for their right back role? Unless you have grown too muscular?

  5. FC twente has made an official bid for FC OSS goal machine Tom Boere who scored 33 goalso last season in ereste divise. he is been dubbed as the neXT Vincent Janssen.

    1. none of the nominees are really worth the award except for Dembele, and that’s by a laaaarge margin.

      and why do Naby Keita isn’t in the list…

        1. Bazoer is simply better than so called selected gus such as klassen,propper,strootman,vilhena and toonstra…He is top notch..IF HE DOESNT touch NT thats loss for him and NT.
          He moved wolfsburg and stupid coach made him sit in bench for sveral match .but under new dutch coach he is back and as long as that dutch coach is there he will flourish.
          IT IS not easy to go Germany being nomitated for best talent of the year..AND HE HAS DONE IT.
          FYI..HE was playing really good in NT and due to stupid shuffling of Blind he lost his regular spot in NT.

  6. To handle Pogba we need low centre of gravity player??..i can understand to man mark hugly skilled players like Messi it is the best..
    i really wished had brazil played a shorter guy vs Kluivert in 1998 Wc semi final..but they played junior byano…if that was not junior biano kluivert would have scored 2 or 3 header goals..

  7. Babel—Janssen—-Roben
    on stand bye
    Van debeek

  8. Jan thanks for the post… I am still concern about the future of Cruyff revolution at Ajax. I am not clear if Van der Sar and company are doing well or at the contrary, the club should be in Win Jonk hands…

    1. The idea of revolution was good. In reality, former Ajax players created a mafia and will not let anybody in who thinks differently from them. It happens all the time, if there are no checks and balances….

  9. I am recently moving to USA and I want to find a Cable or Stream service to watch the Eredivisie games.

    Do anyone have any idea what I need to do to watch eredivisie form USA?

    1. I will let the KNVB know of my availability for the position!

      On second thought, then I would have to find a new coach for me to be the boss of. Hmm…

      Maybe I should remain the coach and have no boss rather than be the boss and have no coach

      For the first time, I think I’ve talked myself out of taking a new job :O

  10. kevin Diks could well be another option as Fiorentina could yet loan him out for another season. but yeah Nieuwkoop will be karsdorp successor. I think both Diks and Van Rhijn are being eyed for back up at most.

  11. With Wesley on the move, how likely do you guys think it will be to MLS? Wifey and lifestyle are considerations.

    Articles on the web hint at Montreal, although I chuckled when I read this, then trembled.

  12. vitesse lining up Luc castaignos.
    Twente confirm Tom Boere signing.Roma enter final stages of karsdorp transfer from feyenoord. clasie to be loaned out lazio by Southampton.

      1. serie A is not as tough as epl, so it could well be his chance to resurrect himself.when he arrived at Southampton, he certainly lacked stamina to live up to expectation at EPL level and with Koeman departure it meant he was always going to be find it hard to reach that level.

        I was a big fan of him as well but he was always going find it hard in EPl.he really needs a lot of stamina to make his mark at top level. his attacking game is OK , he seems to burn out alot while defending.this is where he needs to balance his game. to make things more worse he is injury prone.

        I would like to see him at CM or beside a solid DM who can cover him while he ventures forward.

  13. This Germany – Chile match in the Confederations Cup has been pretty entertaining. At first, I thought that Germany’s team of young players would be overwhelmed by Chile, but they’ve worked themselves back into the game and regardless of outcome, this tournament should prove to be great experience for their next generation of players.

    For us, I have no problem with Grim / Advocaat’s player selection in the most recent friendlies and qualification matches, and I’m hopeful that we will still qualify, but if not, I would expect a similar youth movement to help develop our next generation.

    1. The goal of ola toivoven made it hard for us by that stupid mistake of loris..i really pray that loris get more pressured again and make 2 more errors like that Vs us..We should have fired Danny right after he got real 4 games as one way game in turkey only.
      We dont need Memphis is our team..Nauri would do 100 better than memphis if given chance..We want bazoer who can run with ball and give a nice pass who is good at long range shoots.and Bazoer has the finese which Promes,memphis and klassen doesnt have.
      First 11
      Second 11
      Stand bye

      1. it’s indeed true about the germans. their transition is on course and well planned and in no time they will compose a team with mixture of young and old such a short time they have managed go through transition so smoothly .I mean look at them they have players from all over the clubs in Bundasliga. Hoffenhiem,Moenchengladbach, Leverkusan, Cologne,RB Leipzig, Hertha Berlin, Schalke, Dortmund etc. compare that to NT if you are not playing top 3, there is no way you can break into starting lineup for NT. this is culture needs to change big time .what Germany is doing in the confederation cup is the perfect example of what Danny should have done after the euro failure.

        1. danny gave chances but mostly wrong ones at wrong time…Both cruch matches in ECQ2016 and WCq2018 he made sure that BMI started as CB..that was naling of his own coffin..Even after seeing under Hiddinksi why the hell he went with BMI?

  14. Hi guys, Boetius to return to Feyenoord. Good thing. Potential Oranje player. Was a mercurial talent in the youth but got lost. I hope Feyenoord can resurrect his career.

    Van Persie also to be rumoured in talks with Feyenoord.

    PSV making an offer for Van Ginkel.

    Clasie to Italy is perfect. He’d fit well. I agree he lacked stamina in the first season and had injury issues recently as well. The Saints fans rated him highly saying the game was always more fluid with him playing.

    He’s hardly ever in Southamption highlights reels coz he plays deep and one touch direct. Never big dribbles or trickery. The occasional goal he scores is always a cracker though.

    Yes Frank de Boer to Palace.

    Good fun, another Dutch coach in England. I hope Jaap Stam will get promoted coming season…

    1. I think FDB should join Southampton instead. they have better player quality than West Ham who need some good transfers otherwise it will just be a repeat of what happened to him at Inter.

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