AFC Ajax

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Template:Use dmy dates Template:Pp-semi-blp Template:Infobox football club

Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax (Template:IPA-nl), also referred to as AFC Ajax, Ajax Amsterdam or simply Ajax (after the legendary Greek hero), is a Dutch professional football club based in Amsterdam. Historically, Ajax is the most successful club in the Netherlands, with 32 Eredivisie titles and 18 KNVB Cups. Along with PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord, it is one of the country's "big three" clubs who have dominated Dutch football, as well as being the only three clubs that have never been relegated from the top division.

Ajax is historically one of the most successful clubs in the world; according to the IFFHS, Ajax were the seventh most successful European club of the 20th century. The club is one of the five teams that has earned the right to keep the European Cup and to wear a multiple-winner badge; they won consecutively in 1971–1973. In 1972, they completed the continental treble by winning the Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, and the European Cup. Ajax's last international trophies were the 1995 Intercontinental Cup and the 1995 Champions League, where they defeated Milan in the final; they lost the 1996 Champions League final on penalties to Juventus.

Ajax is also one of three teams to win the continental treble and the Intercontinental Cup in the same season/calendar year; This was achieved in the 1971–72 season.<ref name="autogenerated1">UEFA sanctioned the UEFA Supercup for the first time in 1973. In 1972 was an unofficial edition and the I Centenary of Rangers (see History of the UEFA Supercup in uefa.com).</ref> Ajax, Juventus, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea are the four clubs to have won all three major UEFA club competitions. They have also won the Intercontinental Cup twice, the 1991–92 UEFA Cup, as well as the Karl Rappan Cup, a predecessor of the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1962.<ref name=Intertoto>UEFA sanctioned the UEFA Intertoto Cup for the first time in 1995. In 1960s, it was unofficial. See History of UEFA Intertoto CupTemplate:Dead link in uefa.com.</ref> Ajax plays at the Amsterdam Arena, which opened in 1996. They previously played at De Meer Stadion and the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium (for international matches).

History

Template:Refimprove section Template:Main Ajax was founded in Amsterdam on 18 March 1900. The club achieved promotion to the highest level of Dutch football in 1911 and had its first major success in 1917, winning the KNVB Beker, the Netherlands' national cup. The following season, Ajax became national champion for the first time. The club defended its title in 1918–19, becoming the only team to achieve an unbeaten season in the Netherlands Football League Championship.

Throughout the 1920s, Ajax was a strong regional power, winning the Eerste Klasse West division in 1921, 1927 and 1928, but could not maintain its success at national level. This changed in the 1930s, with the club winning five national championships (1931, 1932, 1934, 1937, 1939), making it the most successful Dutch team of the decade. Ajax won its second KNVB Cup in 1942–43, and an eighth Dutch title in 1946–47, the last season the club was managed by Englishman Jack Reynolds, who, up to this point, had overseen all of its national championship successes as well as its 1917 KNVB Cup win.

In 1956, the first season of the Netherlands' new professional league, the Eredivisie, was played with Ajax participating as a founding member. The Amsterdam club became the first national champions under the new format and made its debut in the European Champion Clubs' Cup the following year, losing to Hungarian champions Vasas SC 6–2 on aggregate at the quarter-final stage. The team were again Eredivisie champions in 1960 and won a third KNVB Cup in 1961.

File:Cruijff afscheidswedstrijd bij Ajax.jpg
Johan Cruijff played at Ajax between 1959–73 and 1981–83, winning 3 European Cups; his No. 14 is the only squad number Ajax has ever retired. Cruyff came back to manage the club from 1985–88.

In 1965, Rinus Michels, who had played for the club between 1946 and 1958, was appointed manager of Ajax, implementing his philosophy of Total Football which was to become synonymous with both Ajax and the Netherlands national football team. A year earlier, Johan Cruijff, who would go on to become the greatest Dutch footballer of all time, made his debut. Between them, Michels and Cruijff led Ajax through the most successful period in its history, winning seven Eredivisie titles, four KNVB Cups and three European Cups.

Ajax won the Dutch championship in 1966, 1967, and 1968, and reached the 1969 European Cup Final, losing to A.C. Milan. During the 1966–67 season, Ajax scored a record 122 goals in an Eredivisie season and also won the KNVB Cup to achieve its first league and cup double. In 1969–70, Ajax won a fourth Dutch league championship and second league and cup double in five seasons, winning 27 out of 34 league games and scoring 100 goals.

The 1970–71 season saw Ajax retain the KNVB Cup and reach the 1971 European Cup Final, where they beat Panathinaikos 2–0 with goals from Dick van Dijk and Arie Haan to become continental champions for the first time, with Cruijff being named European Footballer of the Year. After this success, Michels departed to become manager of FC Barcelona and was replaced by the Romanian ?tefan Kovács. In Kovács' first season, Ajax completed a treble of the European Cup, the Eredivisie and a third consecutive KNVB Cup. The following season, the team beat Argentine club Independiente to win the 1972 Intercontinental Cup and retained their Eredivisie and European Cup titles, becoming the first club to win three consecutive European Cups since Real Madrid in the 1950s.

In 1973, Michels' Barcelona broke the world transfer record to bring Cruijff to Catalonia. Kovács also departed to become manager of the France national football team signalling the end of this period of international success.

In 1976–77, Ajax won its first domestic championship in four seasons and recorded a double of the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup two years later.

The early 1980s saw the return of Johan Cruijff to the club, as well as the emergence of young players Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard. The team won back-to-back Eredivisie titles in 1982 and 1983, with all three playing a significant role in the latter. After Cruijff's sale to rivals Feyenoord in 1983, Van Basten became Ajax's key player, top scoring in the Eredivisie for four seasons between 1983–84 and 1986–87.

In 1985, Cruijff returned to Ajax as manager and the team ended his first season in charge with 120 goals from 34 matches. However, Ajax still finished as runner up to PSV by eight points. The following season, Ajax again lost out on the Eredivisie title to PSV, but won the European Cup Winners' Cup, its first continental trophy in fourteen years. After this, Cruijff left the club to become manager of Barcelona and Rijkaard and Van Basten were sold to Sporting CP and A.C. Milan respectively. Despite these losses, Ajax reached a second consecutive Cup Winners' Cup final in 1988, where they lost to Belgian club KV Mechelen.

The 1988–89 season saw Dennis Bergkamp, a young forward who had first appeared under Cruijff in 1986, establish himself as a regular goalscorer for Ajax. Bergkamp helped Ajax to the 1989–90 Eredivisie title and was the top scorer in the division in 1990–91, 1991–92 and 1992–93. Under the management of Louis van Gaal, Ajax won the UEFA Cup in 1992 to become the second club, after Juventus, to have won all three major European club competitions.

After the sale of Bergkamp to Internazionale in 1993, Van Gaal re-signed the experienced Frank Rijkaard to complement his young Ajax team featuring academy graduates Frank and Ronald de Boer, Edwin van der Sar, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, and Winston Bogarde, as well as mercurial foreign talents Finidi George, Nwankwo Kanu and Jari Litmanen, and veteran captain Danny Blind. The team regained the Dutch championship in 1993–94, and won it again in 1994–95 and 1995–96 to become the first Ajax side to win three back-to-back championships since 1968. The height of Van Gaal's success came in 1994–95, where Ajax became the first, and to date only, team to complete an entire Eredivisie season unbeaten. The team also won its first European Cup since its glorious 1970s era, beating Milan in the 1995 UEFA Champions League Final 1–0, with the winning goal scored by 18-year-old Patrick Kluivert. Ajax again reached the final a year later but were defeated on penalties by Juventus.

Ajax's return as a European force was short lived as Van Gaal and several members of the squad soon departed to some of the continent's biggest clubs. The 2000s was a lean decade for the club with only two Eredivisie championships won. However, Ajax's academy continued to produce star players such as Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart.

In 2010, Frank de Boer was appointed manager of Ajax and led the club to its first league title in seven years, and record 30th title overall, in the 2010–11 season. This was followed by back-to-back wins in 2011–12 and 2012–13 to match his three consecutive titles as a player in the 1990s.

Youth program

Template:Main The club is also particularly famous for its renowned youth program that has produced many Dutch talents over the years – Johan Cruijff, Edwin van der Sar, Dennis Bergkamp, national team top scorer Patrick Kluivert, and former national team coach Marco van Basten. Dutch national first-team players Rafael van der Vaart, Ryan Babel, Wesley Sneijder, Maarten Stekelenburg, Eljero Elia, André Ooijer, John Heitinga and Nigel de Jong had also came through the ranks at Ajax and all are now playing for top-flight clubs. Ajax also regularly supplies the Dutch national youth teams with local talent. First team regulars Siem de Jong, Urby Emanuelson and Gregory van der Wiel are former youth internationals who made the successful step up to the senior side.

Due to mutual agreements with foreign clubs, the youth academy has also signed foreign players as teenagers before making first team debuts, such as Belgian defensive trio Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Thomas Vermaelen along with winger Tom de Mul, all of whom are full internationals as well as Dutch international Vurnon Anita as well as Javier Martina from Curaçao.

Ajax has also expanded its talent searching program to South Africa with Ajax Cape Town. Ajax Cape Town was set up with the help of Rob Moore. Ajax has also had a satellite club in the United States under the name Ajax America, until it filed for bankruptcy. There are some youth players from Ajax Cape Town that have been drafted into the Eredivisie squad, such as South African internationals Steven Pienaar, Thulani Serero and Cameroonian international Eyong Enoh.

In 1995, the year Ajax won the Champions League, the Dutch national team was almost entirely composed of Ajax players, with Edwin van der Sar in goal; players such as Michael Reiziger, Frank de Boer, and Danny Blind in defense; Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, and Clarence Seedorf in midfield; and Patrick Kluivert and Marc Overmars in attack.

In 2011 AFC Ajax opened its first youth academies outside of the Netherlands, when the club partnered up with George Kazianis and All Star Consultancy in Greece to open the Ajax Hellas Youth Academy. The offices are based in Nea Smyrni, Attica, with the main training facility located on the island of Corfu, hosting a total of 15 football youth academies throughout Greece and Cyprus. Eddie van Schaik heads the organization as coach and consultant, introducing the Ajax football philosophy at the various Greek football training camps.

Stadium

Template:Refimprove section Template:Main Ajax' first stadium was built in 1911 out of wood and was called "Het Houten Stadion" (The Wooden Stadium). Ajax later played in the stadium built for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. This stadium, designed by Jan Wils, is known as the Olympic Stadium. In 1934, Ajax moved to De Meer Stadion in east Amsterdam, designed by architect and Ajax-member Daan Roodenburgh. The stadium could accommodate 29,500 spectators and Ajax continued to play there until 1996. For big European and national fixtures the club would often play at the Olympic Stadium, which could accommodate about twice the number of spectators.

In 1996, Ajax moved to a new home ground in the southeast of the city known as the Amsterdam ArenA This was built by the Amsterdam city authority at a cost of $134 million. The stadium is capable of holding approximately 52,000 people. The average attendance in 2006/07 was 48,610, rising in the next season to 49,128. The ArenA has a retractable roof and set a trend for other modern stadiums built in Europe in the following years. In the Netherlands, the ArenA has earned a reputation for a terrible grass pitch caused by the removable roof that, even when open, takes away too much sunlight and fresh air. During the 2008–2009 season groundstaff introduced an artificial lighting system that has finally reduced this problem considerably.

The much-loved De Meer stadium was torn down and the land was sold to the city council. A residential neighbourhood now occupies the area. The only thing left of the old stadium are the letters AJAX, nowadays in place on the façade of the youth training grounds De Toekomst, near the Amsterdam Arena.

Attire

Crest

In 1900, when the club was founded, the emblem of Ajax was just a picture of an Ajax player. The crest was slightly altered following the clubs promotion to the top division in 1911 to match the clubs new outfits. In 1928, the club logo was introduced with the head of the Greek hero Ajax. The logo was once again changed in 1990 into an abstract version of the previous one. The new logo still sports the portrait of Ajax, but drawn with just 11 lines, symbolizing the 11 players of a football team.

File:Ajax Amsterdam (1900–1928).gif
<center>The first Ajax crest
(1900–1911)
File:Ajax Amsterdam (1911–1928).jpeg
The second crest
(1911–1928)
File:Ajax Amsterdam (1928–1990).png
The third crest
(1928–1990)
File:Ajax Amsterdam.svg
The current crest
(1990–present)

</center>

Colors

Ajax originally played in an all-black uniform with a red sash tied around the players' waists, but that uniform was soon replaced by a red/white striped shirt and black shorts. Red, black and white are the three colours of the flag of Amsterdam. However, when, under manager Jack Kirwan, the club got promoted to the top flight of Dutch football for the first time in 1911 (then the Eerste Klasse or 'First Class', later named the Eredivisie), Ajax were forced to change their colours because Sparta Rotterdam already had exactly the same outfit. Special kits for away fixtures did not exist at the time and according to football association regulations the newcomers had to change their colours if two teams in the same league had identical uniforms. Ajax opted for white shorts and white shirt with a broad, vertical red stripe over chest and back, which still is Ajax's outfit.

Kits

File:Basis Elftal Ajax 14Sep2011.jpg
2011 AFC Ajax team wearing their home kit by adidas with the AEGON sponsor across the chest, ahead of their UEFA Champions League match against Olympique Lyonnais.

Ajax's shirts have been sponsored by TDK from 1982 to 1991, and by ABN AMRO from 1991 to 2008. AEGON has replaced ABN AMRO as the new head sponsor for a period of at least seven years.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> On 1 April 2007, Ajax wore a different sponsor for the match against Heracles Almelo: Florius. Florius is a banking program just launched by ABN AMRO who wanted it to be the shirt sponsor for one match. The shirts have been manufactured by Le Coq Sportif (1973–1977), Puma (1977–1980), Le Coq Sportif (1980–1984), Kappa (1985-1989) and Umbro (1989–2000) in the past, and by Adidas since 2000 (until at least 2019).

Period Clothing sponsor Shirt sponsor
1973–1977 Le Coq Sportif none
1977–1980 Puma
1980–1982 Le Coq Sportif
1982–1984 TDK
1985–1989 Kappa
1989–1991 Umbro
1991–2000 ABN AMRO
2000–2008 adidas
2008–2014 AEGON
2014–2019 n/a

Financial

AFC Ajax N.V.

Template:Main AFC Ajax are the only Dutch club with an Initial public offering (IPO). The club is registered as a Naamloze vennootschap (N.V.) listed on the stock exchange Euronext Amsterdam, since 17 May 1998. With a launch price of ƒ25,- (Guilders) the club managed to a bring their total revenue up to € 54 million euros (converted) in their first year on the market. After short lived success however the rate dropped, at one point as low as € 3,50. Criticism was brought forth that the legal grid for a naamloze vennootschap would not be suitable for a Football club, and that the sports related ambitions would suffer from the new commercial interests of the now listed Ajax. Shares of the company in the year 2008 were valued at approximately € 5,90 per share.

In 2008 a Commission under guidance of honorary member Uri Coronel concluded, that the IPO was of no value to the club, and that measures should be taken to exit the stock exchange by purchasing back all public shares. How possible it would be for Ajax to achieve, and the likelihood of this ever happening has been in doubt by the public as Ajax remain on the stock exchange, where its chief competitors are Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.

Other teams

Reserves team

Template:Main Jong Ajax (formerly more commonly known as Ajax 2) is the reserve team of AFC Ajax. The team is composed mostly of professional footballers, who are often recent graduates from the highest youth level (Ajax A1) serving their first professional contract as a reserve, or players who are otherwise unable to play in the first team.

Since 1992 Jong Ajax have competed in the Beloften Eredivisie, competing against other reserve teams such as Jong PSV, Jong FC Groningen or Jong AZ. They have won the Beloften Eredivisie title a record eight times, as well as the KNVB Reserve Cup three times, making them the most successful reserve squad in the Netherlands. By winning the Beloften Eredivisie title, Jong Ajax were able to qualify for the actual KNVB Cup, even advancing to the semi-finals on three occasions. Their best result in the Dutch Cup was under manager Jan Olde Riekerink in 2001-02, when a semi-final loss to FC Utrecht in a Penalty shoot-out after extra time, which saw Utrecht advance, and thus preventing an Ajax vs. Jong Ajax Dutch Cup final.

The 2013–14 season marked the Jupiler League debut of the AFC Ajax reserves' squad Jong Ajax. Previously playing in the Beloften Eredivisie (a separate league for reserve teams, not included in the Dutch professional or amateur league structure) players were allowed to move around freely between the reserve team and the first first team during the course of the season. This is no longer the case as Jong Ajax now registers and fields a separate squad from that of Ajax first team for the Eerste Divisie, the second tier of professional football in the Netherlands. Their home matches are played at Sportpark De Toekomst, except for the occasional match in the Amsterdam Arena. Now regarded a semi-professional team in their own respect, the only period in which players are able to move between squads are during the transfer windows, unless the player has made less than 15 appearances for the first team, then he is still eligible to appear in both first team and second team matches during the course of the season. Furthermore the team is not eligible for promotion to the Eredivisie or to participate in the KNVB Cup. Jong Ajax were joined in the Eerste Divisie by Jong Twente and Jong PSV, reserve teams who have also moved from the Beloften Eredivisie to the Eerste Divisie, in place of VV Katwijk, SC Veendam and AGOVV Apeldoorn, increasing the total amount of teams in the Jupiler League from 18 to 20.

Ajax reserve squad Jong Ajax left the Beloften Eredivisie in 2013, having held a 21-year tenure in the reserves league, having also won the league title a record eight times. (1994, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2009)

Amateur team

Template:Main AFC Ajax Amateurs, better known as Ajax Zaterdag is a Dutch amateur football club founded 18 March 1900. It is the amateur team of the professional club AFC Ajax, who play their home matches at the Sportpark De Toekomst training grounds to a capacity of 5,000. The team was promoted from the Eerste Klasse to the Hoofdklasse ahead of the 2011–12 season, the league in which they are currently competing. The team has won the Eerste Klasse title twice, as well as the *KNVB District Cup West I on two occasions as well.

Furthermore, Ajax Zaterdag have also managed to qualify for the KNVB Cup on their own accord on three occasions, namely in 2004, 2005 and in 2008, even advancing to the second round before bowing out to Vitesse on 24 September 2008 during their last appearance in the cup tournament.

Women's team

Template:Main AFC Ajax Vrouwen (English: AFC Ajax Women) are the women's team of AFC Ajax, competing in the BeNe League, the highest level of professional football in Belgium and the Netherlands. Founded on 18 May 2012, the women's team saw Ajax attracting many of the Netherlands top talents, with International players such as Anouk Hoogendijk, Daphne Koster and Petra Hogewoning joining the Amstedam club on its maiden season in women's professional football.

Other sports

Baseball team

Template:Main Ajax HVA (1922–1972) was the baseball team of AFC Ajax founded in 1922, and competing as founding members of the Honkbal Hoofdklasse, the top flight of professional baseball in the Netherlands. Ajax won the national baseball title a total of four times (1924, 1928, 1942, 1948) before the club opted to no longer field a baseball team, and to focus solely on football in 1972. Ajax spent a total of 50 years at the top flight of Baseball in the Netherlands from 1922 to 1972. The dissolution of Ajax baseball club resulted in the players finding a new sponsor in a mustard manufacturing company called Luycks, while merging with the Diemen Giants to become the Luycks Giants, thus replacing both former clubs.

Affiliated clubs

Template:Main The following clubs are currently affiliated with AFC Ajax:

The following clubs were affiliated with AFC Ajax in the past:

Rivalries

As one of the traditional big three clubs in the Netherlands, Ajax have amassed a number of intense rivalries over the years. Listed below are the most significant of the rivalries involving Ajax Amsterdam.

Rivalry with Feyenoord

Template:Main Feyenoord from Rotterdam are Ajax's arch rivals. Every year both clubs play the "De Klassieker" ("The Classic"), a match between the teams from the two largest cities of the Netherlands. During the seventies, Ajax and Feyenoord were the only two clubs in the Netherlands who were able to clinch national titles, as well as achieve continental and even global success. A meeting between the two clubs became the measure for who was truly the best club in the Netherlands. The Klassieker is the most famous of all the rivalries in the Netherlands and the matches are always sold out. The fixture is seen in the public eye as "The graceful and elegant football of Ajax, against the indomitable fighting spirit of Feyenoord". The confidence of the Capital versus the Blue collar mentality of Rotterdam. Matches are known for their tension and violence, both on and off the pitch. Over the years several violent incidents have taken place involving rival supporters, leading to the current prohibition of away-supporters in both stadiums. The lowest point was reached on 23 March 1997, when supporters of both clubs meet on a field near Beverwijk, where Ajax-supporter Carlo Picornie was fatally injured, the incident is commonly referred to as the "Battle of Beverwijk".

Rivalry with PSV

PSV are also a rival of Ajax, but in terms of tension and rivalry, these matches are not as loaded as the duels with Feyenoord. The rivalry has existed for some time with PSV and stems from various causes, such as the different interpretations of whether current national and international successes of both clubs correlates and the supposed opposition between the Randstad and the province. The matches between these two teams is commonly referred to as "De Topper" ("The Topper"), and involves the two most trophy-laden sides in Dutch football and is essentially a clash of two competing schools of thought in Dutch football. Historically PSV compete with a workmanlike ethic, preferring a more robust 4-3-1-2 or 4-2-3-1, typically shunning the seductive 4-3-3 approach favoured in Amsterdam. While Rinus Michels and Johan Cruijff helped to innovate Total Football in the sixties and seventies, a different philosophy was honed in Eindhoven by Kees Rijvers and Guus Hiddink in the late seventies and eighties. This in turn has created one of the more philosophical rivalries in football, an ideological battleground, which is gradually becoming as heated and intense as the matches Ajax and Feyenoord partake in.

Rivalries with other clubs

Aside from Feyenoord and PSV, Ajax have several other rivalries, although in most cases the sentiment is mostly felt by the opposition and is more directed towards Ajax, with one of them being FC Utrecht. Although the rivalry is more felt on the Utrecht side then with Ajax, matchups between the two sides are often quite intense. Both teams have fanatic supporters, and clashes off the pitch are more often the rule than the exception. The same goes for ADO Den Haag, with both supporter-groups often getting in conflicts, when ADO-Hooligans set fire to the Supporters home of Ajax, and Ajax-Hooligans subsequently broke into the Supporters home of ADO tensions between the two clubs rose. In 2006 Supporters from both clubs were banned from attending away matches for five years, due to frequent violent outbreaks and clashes.

Further teams who share a rivalry with Ajax include FC Twente, FC Groningen and AZ. Although the latter are often regarded by Ajax-supporters as the clubs little brother. Being from nearby Alkmaar, and with both clubs sharing the same Province, match-ups between the two sides are commonly known as the "De Noord-Hollandse Derby" ("North Holland Derby") and are often very competitive, intense and loaded fixtures.

Past rivalries include local Amsterdam derbies between Ajax and clubs such as Blauw-Wit, DWS and De Volewijckers (who later merged to become FC Amsterdam in 1972). The tension between the local sides lessened however, as the division of the clubs through playing in different leagues over time became greater. Years of not competing in the same league resulted in less frequent match-ups, until tensions finally settled between the Amsterdam clubs. The last Amsterdam derby to take place in an official league match was when Ajax defeated FC Amsterdam 5-1, on March 19, 1978.

Supporters

Template:Main Ajax are known for having fanatic core supporter-groups, of which F-Side and VAK410 are the most famous. F-Side were founded on 3 October 1976, and are situated right behind the goal In the Amsterdam ArenA, on the southern end of the stadium in rows 125–129. Their name is derived from the groups former location on the F-side of the old De Meer Stadion.<ref name="ff">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUtZieCU2_g</ref> The F-side supporters are responsible for a big part of the atmosphere in the stadium, but are also known for rioting during and after matches. If in any match Ajax should win the coin toss, the second half of the match Ajax always play towards the south-end of the stadium.<ref name="fg">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XKZuLqnxK0</ref> VAK410 (Template:Lang-en) were founded in 2001 and are situated in the Zuidhoek (South corner) of the stadium on the upper ring in rows 424–425. The group was originally situated on the North-West side of the stadium in row 410, from where it derives its name, until relocating to their current place in the stands in 2008. Members of VAK410 are known to perform various stunts, which include massive banners, to enhance the atmosphere in the stadium. Neither F-Side or VAK410 have seats in their sections of the stadium, and both groups stand for the duration of the match.

Through the official Football Top 20 of Dutch sports research group SPORT+MARKT it was revealed in 2010 that Ajax had approximately 7,1 million supporters throughout Europe. Slightly more than rivals Feyenoord and PSV (each 1,6 and 1,3 million, respectively), which put Ajax in 15th place for most supporters in all of Europe. The study also revealed that approximately 39% of the Netherlands were Ajax supporters. Not only does Ajax have a lot of supporters, but several fans attend their matches in European competition, with an average attendance of 48.677 spectators for every International match Ajax played, putting the team at 12th place in Europe for highest attendance, ahead of big name clubs such as Milan, Manchester City or Chelsea. It is note worthy that not all stadiums share the capacity of the Amsterdam Arena.

Supporters club

File:AFC Ajax kampioen 2010-2011.jpg
Ajax supporters celebrating the clubs 30th Dutch national championship

The Supporters Club Ajax (Template:Lang-nl) is officially the largest Supporters club in Europe with 85,000 members. Founded on 7 May 1992, the supporters club organize big monthly events throughout the Netherlands, and particularly around the official Ajax Open Training Day, which attracts thousands of supporters each year. Furthermore the Supporters group is responsible for the Ajaxlife website, as well as the fanzine which is issued 20 times a year.

Average attendance

This graph displays the average attendance for home matches of Ajax from 1988–2012, whereby the difference in capacity of the De Meer Stadion and the Amsterdam ArenA (est. 1996) is clearly visible.

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88/89 89/90 90/91 91/92 92/93 93/94 94/95 95/96 96/97 97/98 98/99 99/00 00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 11/12 12/13

Template:Clearboth

Jewish connection

Historically, Ajax was popularly seen as having "Jewish roots", although not an official Jewish club like the city's WV-HEDW Ajax has had a Jewish image since the 1930s when the home stadium was located next to a Jewish neighbourhood of Amsterdam-Oost and opponents saw many supporters walking through the Nieuwmarkt/Waterloopleinbuurt (de Jodenhoek) to get to the stadium. The city of Amsterdam was historically referred to as a Mokum city, Mokum (????) being the Yiddish word for "place" or "safe haven", and as anti-Semitic chants and name calling developed and intensified at the old De Meer Stadion from frustrated supporters of opposing clubs, Ajax fans (few of whom are actually Jewish<ref name="nyt">Amsterdam Journal; A Dutch Soccer Riddle: Jewish Regalia Without Jews – New York Times, 28 March 2005</ref>) responded by embracing Ajax's "Jewish" identity: calling themselves "super Jews", chanting "Jews, Jews" ("Joden, Joden") at games, and adopting Jewish symbols such as the Star of David and the Israeli flag.<ref name="nyt" /><ref name="understanding">Understanding football hooliganism: A Comparison of Six Western European Clubs by Ramon Spaaij, published 2006</ref>

This Jewish imagery eventually became a central part of Ajax fans' culture.<ref name="understanding" /> At one point ringtones of "Hava Nagila", a Hebrew folk song, could be downloaded from the club's official website.<ref name="nyt" /> Beginning in the 1980s, fans of Ajax's rivals escalated their antisemitic rhetoric, chanting slogans like "Hamas, Hamas/Jews to the gas" ("Hamas, hamas, joden aan het gas"), hissing to imitate the flow of gas, giving Nazi salutes, etc.<ref name="nyt" /> The eventual result was that many (genuinely) Jewish Ajax fans stopped going to games.<ref name="nyt" />

In the 2000s the club began trying to persuade fans to drop their Jewish image.<ref name="nyt2">Template:Cite news</ref> In 2013 a documentary titled Superjews was released by NTR and Viewpoint Productions which premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). The film was directed by Nirit Peled, an Israeli living in Amsterdam, and an independent film maker who offers a very personal view into the game, the lore of Ajax and its relation to Judaism from both the supporters as well as from a Jewish perspective.

Players

Current squad

As of 31 January 2014.

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Retired numbers

  • 14Template:Flagicon Johan Cruyff (Forward, 1964–73, 1981–83). Number retired on 25 April 2007 at Cruyff's 60th birthday celebration match. [See below]

Mascot

  • Lucky Lynx, is the official team mascot.<ref name="lucky bio">"Lucky Lynx Bio", Ajax.nl, accessed August 7, 2013.</ref> (2000–present)

Youth/reserves squad

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Players out on loan

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Notable former players

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The players below are part of the AFC Ajax Hall of Fame. Template:Col-begin Template:Col-3 1910–1920

1920–1930

1930–1940

1940–1950

1950–1960

1960–1970

Template:Col-3 1960–1970 (continued)

1970–1980

1980–1990

Template:Col-3 1990–2000

2000–2010

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Board and staff

Current board

Executive Board
  • Chairman: Hennie Henrichs
    • Board members: 7 – (Tonny Bruins Slot, Jan Buskerolen, Dick Schoenaker, Cees Vervoorn, Ronald Pieloor and Maarten Oldenhof)
File:FrankBoer.JPG
Frank de Boer led the club to three consecutive national titles since taking over as manager in 2010.
Board of directors
  • General director: Michael Kinsbergen
  • Financial director: Jeroen Slop
  • Marketing director: Edwin van der Sar
  • Technical director: Marc Overmars
Supervisory Board
  • Chairman: Hans Wijers
    • Board members: 2 – (Theo van Duivenbode, Leo van Wijk)
File:Edwin van der Sar front.jpg
Edwin van der Sar became the Marketing director for Ajax in 2012.

Current staff

Technical staff
  • Manager: Frank de Boer
  • Assistant manager: Dennis Bergkamp
  • Assistant manager: Hennie Spijkerman
  • Defensive trainer: Jaap Stam
  • Goalkeepers trainer: Carlo l'Ami
Medical staff
  • Manager physical performance: Gavin Benjafield
  • Team doctor: Bas Peijs
  • Team doctor: Don de Winter
  • Physiotherapist: Ralph van der Horst
  • Physiotherapist: Pim van Dord
  • Physiotherapist: Frank van Deursen
  • Fitness coach / Recovery trainer: Björn Rekelhof
  • Masseur / pedicure: Rob Koster
Accompanying staff
  • Team manager: Tjerk Smeets
  • Players supervisor: Herman Pinkster
  • Press officer: Miel Brinkhuis

List of Ajax chairmen

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List of Ajax managers

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Honours

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Official trophies (recognized by UEFA and FIFA)

National

  • Eredivisie (up to 1955–56 the Netherlands Football League Championship): 32
1917–18, 1918–19, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1933–34, 1936–37, 1938–39, 1946–47, 1956–57, 1959–60, 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1989–90, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13
  • KNVB Cup: 18
1916–17, 1942–43, 1960–61, 1966–67, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1978–79, 1982–83, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1992–93, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2001–02, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2009–10
  • Johan Cruijff Shield: 8
1993, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013

International

File:Ajax puchar.JPG
Several of Ajax' international trophies
  • Intercontinental Cup: 2
1972, 1995<ref name="uefa">Football Europe: AFC Ajax; uefa.com</ref>
  • European Cup / Champions League: 4
1971, 1972, 1973, 1995<ref name="uefa" />
  • European Cup Winners' Cup: 1
1987<ref name="uefa" />
  • UEFA Cup: 1
1992<ref name="uefa" />
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2
1974, 1995<ref name="autogenerated1" /><ref name=Supercup>UEFA sanctioned the UEFA Super Cup for the first time in 1973. In 1972 was an unofficial edition and the I Centenary of Rangers F.C. (see History of the UEFA Super Cup in uefa.com).</ref> *(Ajax also won in 1972, however, UEFA only sanctioned the UEFA Super Cup for the first time in 1973 so the 1972 edition was an unofficial one. Played against Rangers, winners of the 1971–72 European Cup Winners' Cup, it actually went ahead as 'a celebration of the I Centenary of Rangers F.C.' (See below) because Rangers were serving a one-year ban at the time imposed by UEFA for the misbehaviour of their fans. That victory meant Ajax had won every tournament (5 in total) they entered that year, a feat Celtic achieved in 1967 (with 6 trophies) and Barcelona (also 6 trophies) repeated in 2009)
  • Rangers First Centenary 1872–1972: 1
1972<ref name=Supercup/>
  • Karl Rappan Cup: 1
1962<ref name=Intertoto/>

Other trophies

  • Ajax Amsterdam Easter Tournament : 4
1934, 1949, 1950, 1952
  • Amsterdam 700 Tournament / Amsterdam Tournament : 10
1978, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1992, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
  • Blauw-Wit Amsterdam Easter Tournament: 1
1938
  • Tiel Tournament : 1
1952
  • HFC Tournament : 1
1973
  • Molenbeek Tournament : 1
1983
  • Tournoi de Bruxelles du Daring Club : 1
1935
  • HCS Voetbal Cup : 1
1990
  • Bruges Matins Trophy : 2
1994, 1997
  • Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu : 1
1992
  • Trofeo Villa de Benidorm : 1
1995
  • Trofeo Concepción Arenal : 1
1995
  • Winter Algarve Cup : 1
2003
  • Nicola Ceravalo Tournament : 1
1992
  • Tournoi Indoor de Paris-Bercy : 1
1989
  • VansDirect Trophy : 1
2008
  • Ted Bates Trophy : 1
2009
  • Tournament of Olympiakos Piraeus : 1
1988
  • SK Brann Anniversary Tournament in Bergen : 1
1978
  • Jalkapalloturnaus : 1
1993
  • Alfred Berg Cup : 1
2003
  • Total Cup : 1
2005
  • Chippie Polar Cup : 1
2010

Club Awards

  • World Team of the Year : 1
1995
  • European Team of the Year : 4
1969, 1971, 1972, 1973
  • Dutch Sports Team of the Year : 5
1968, 1969, 1972, 1987, 1995
  • Sports Team of the Year : 1
1990
  • Dick van Rijn Trophy : 1
1995
  • Amsterdam Sportsteam of the year: 2
2011, 2013
  • Fair Play Cup : 1
1995
  • FIFA Club of the Century : 7th place
20th Century
  • Best Dutch club after 50 years of professional football : 1
2004
  • VVCS Best Pitch of the Year : 1
2012
  • The Four-Four-Two Greatest Club Side Ever : Ajax (1965 – 1973)
2013

Honorary club members

Ajax have a total of 45 honorary club members, from people who have been invested within the clubs administrative engagements, to committed players who have excelled in the athletic department. Of those 45 members 38 have since deceased. Seven members still remain, having been reduced from eight members after Piet Keizer denounced his membership. Template:Col-begin Template:Col-5

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Template:Col-5 Template:Col-5 Template:Col-5 Template:Col-end The remaining 38 honorary members who have since passed away: Template:Col-begin Template:Col-5

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Domestic results

Below is a table with Ajax's domestic results since the introduction of the Eredivisie in 1956.

Team records

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  • Most match appearances: 463 – Sjaak Swart
  • Most goals scored: 273– Piet van Reenen
  • Most goals scored in a season: 41– Henk Groot
  • First Ajax player to receive an International cap: Gerard Fortgens for the Netherlands in 1911
  • First Ajax player to score a goal for the National team: Theo Brokmann for the Netherlands in 1919

Club van 100

Template:Main The Club van 100 is the official list of Football players who have appeared in one hundred or more official matches for AFC Ajax. The club currently has a total of 150 members with Daley Blind being the latest addition. The record for league appearances is held by Mr. Ajax himself Sjaak Swart, who appeared in 463 league matches for Ajax 1. There is a beneficiary team called Lucky Ajax, which was initiated by Sjaak Swart. Lucky Ajax participate in at least one match a year, usually in the name of charity, and commonly at football ceremonies to bid farewell to retiring players. One of the prerequisites for playing on Lucky Ajax, which is invitational only, is that you are a member of the Club van 100, having made at least 100 official match appearances for Ajax Amsterdam in the first team of the club.

Lucky Ajax

Lucky Ajax are a beneficiary team that was initiated by Sjaak Swart in the seventies, competing in at least one match a year, usually in the name of charity and/or to bid farewell to retiring former Ajax players. The team is made up of various members of the Club van 100 of Ajax who will come out of retirement for this match to face the Ajax squad that is current of that year. Past participants have included Barry Hulshoff, Sonny Silooy, Simon Tahamata, Ronald Koeman, Tscheu La Ling, Gerrie Mühren, John van 't Schip, Brian Roy, Stanley Menzo, Peter van Vossen and Fred Grim. The name Lucky Ajax is derived from the famous "Lucky Ajax" nickname from how people used to refer to the club when Ajax would either win a match by chance, by a decision of a referee, or by coincidence such as was said to be the case during the infamous Mistwedstrijd (Fog Match).

Number 14 shirt

As of the 2007–08 season, no player could wear the number 14 shirt at Ajax, after the club decided to retire the shirt out of respect for Johan Cruyff.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Cruyff himself laughed off the tribute saying the club had to let its best player play with number 14. Spanish midfielder Roger was the last player to wear the number. Marvin Zeegelaar wore the shirt number In preparation for the 2011–12 season in one preseason match, while Aras Özbiliz wore the number 14 shirt in one preseason match ahead of the 2011–12 season as well. The club stated that this was in fact not done in error.

List of players to wear the number 14 shirt since Johan Cruyff's departure.

From 1983–1997 reserves no longer received permanent shirt numbers.

Team tournaments

Amsterdam Tournament

Template:Main Established in 1975 as the Amsterdam 700 Tournament to celebrate 700 years of history in the city.<ref name="RSSSF">Template:Cite web</ref> The tournament was hosted annually each summer by Ajax until 1992, when the last edition of the original tournament was played. It returned in 1999 with the backing of the International Event Partnership (IEP). Four teams participate in the competition, played in a league format since 1986.<ref name="RSSSF"/> Since its return, the tournament has used an unusual point scoring system. As with most league competitions, three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss. However, an additional point is awarded for each goal scored. The system is designed to reward teams that adopt a more attacking style of play. Each entrant plays two matches, with the winner being the club that finishes at the top of the table. The original competition was held at De Meer, Ajax's home between 1934 and 1996. The Amsterdam Arena has played host to the event since its return until the last edition was played in 2009. Ajax are the most successful team of the tournament, having won it a record 10 times, while S.L. Benfica from Portugal were the last team to win the tournament in 2009.

Copa Amsterdam

Template:Main Established in 2005, the Copa Amsterdam is an international friendly football tournament for Under-19 youth teams, that is organized by Ajax and the Amsterdam city council, which takes place at the Olympic Stadium as part of the annual Amsterdam Sports Weekend, a citywide sponsored initiative to promote 'sports and recreation' within the city of Amsterdam. Each Summer the city of Amsterdam and Ajax invite U-19 teams from various top clubs from around the World to participate in the tournament. Seven teams are invited and play in the competition every year with the ninth edition of the tournament having occurred in 2013. Over the years, clubs such as Barcelona, Juventus, Chelsea and Real Madrid have had their senior youth teams participate in the tournament.<ref name="Copa Amsterdam">Template:Cite web</ref> Cruzeiro from Brazil are the most successful club in the history of the tournament, having won it three times in total, while Ajax Cape Town from South Africa are the current cup holders.<ref name="Copa Amsterdam"/>

Future Cup

Template:Main Established in 2010, the AEGON Future Cup is an international friendly tournament for Under-17 youth teams, which is organized by AFC Ajax and their main sponsor, the insurance company AEGON. The tournament is held each year at the Amsterdam Arena and at the Sportpark De Toekomst, the teams training ground, which also inspired the name of the competition, since De Toekomst in Dutch means The Future. Every year during the Easter weekend, six U-17 teams are invited to participate in the competition, while the seventh place for the contesters is reserved for the winners of the "Craques Mongeral AEGON Future Cup" in Brazil, the sister competition of the tournament in South America. Youth teams from top clubs such as Manchester United, Bayern München, Milan and many more have participated in the competition over the years. Anderlecht from Belgium and Ajax are the most successful clubs of the tournament having each won the competition twice, while Anderlecht are the current Cup holders.

See also

Template:Portal Other teams

  • Jong Ajax (reserves)
  • AFC Ajax (amateurs)
  • AFC Ajax (women)
  • Ajax Cape Town

Former teams

  • Ajax HVA (1922–1972)
  • Ajax Orlando Prospects (2002–2007)

Stadia

  • Het Houten Stadion (1911–1934)
  • De Meer Stadion (1934–1996)
  • Olympic Stadium (Amsterdam) (1934–1996)
  • Amsterdam ArenA (1996–)
  • Sportpark De Toekomst (1996–)

Tournaments

  • Amsterdam Tournament (1975–2009)
  • Copa Amsterdam (2005–)
  • Future Cup (2010–)

Other

  • AFC Ajax N.V.
  • Ajax Youth Academy
  • Ajax Hellas Youth Academy
  • Ajax Experience
  • Ajax Magazine
  • Big Three (Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV)
  • De Klassieker (Ajax vs. Feyenoord)
  • Total Football
  • List of football clubs in the Netherlands

Bibliography

  • Template:Nl icon :nl: David Endt, De godenzonen van Ajax, Rap, Amsterdam, 1993, ISBN 90-6005-463-6
  • Template:Nl icon Jan Baltus Kok, Naar Ajax. Mobiliteitspatronen van bezoekers bij vier thuiswedstrijden van Ajax, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 1992, ISSN 0922-5625
  • Simon Kuper, Ajax, The Dutch, The War. Football in Europe during the Second World War, Orion Books, London (Translation of: Ajax, de Joden en Nederland ("Ajax, the Jews, The Netherlands)", 2003, ISBN 0-7528-4274-9
  • Template:Nl icon Evert Vermeer, 95 jaar Ajax. 1900–1995, Luitingh-Sijthoff, Amsterdam, 1996, ISBN 90-245-2364-8

References

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External links

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