Ajax management invokes Cruijffs wrath

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Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff is at loggerheads with the management board of Amsterdam Ajax, following a meeting on the future direction of the club.

The meeting was called between management and Cruijff together with coaches, Frank de Boer, Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk to discuss proposals to bring the club back to its former glory.

Poor performance Ajax has been performing under par in the past few years and hasn’t brought home the cup since 2004. Cruijff has been one of the main critics of Ajax, accusing the board of letting slip away the club philosophy of attacking and technical football with homegrown players. Last month, Cruijff was invited back in the role of advisor and asked to come up a formula to drive Ajax back to the top of the league.

Now the former Ajax player is furious with the club’s management because it doesn’t want to follow his advice, which is to hand over full responsibility to the coaches. “We don’t want a revolution at Ajax,” stressed CEO Rik van den Boog, who refuses to loosen the reins on personnel matters.

Football, not power “Inconceivable, unacceptable and incomprehensible,” Cruijff told media on Thursday. His vision is to implement sweeping reforms and, not given to mincing his words, added that “If the people in charge have to go, they will have to go.” Cruijff was emphatic that the conflict is not a power struggle – it’s about football, which, claims the guru, the board doesn’t know the first thing about. “They’re just sitting there, defending their own position. That can’t continue any longer.”

Coaches and ex-Ajax players Bergkamp and Jonk were as gobsmacked as their master about the board’s headstrong stance. “I’m shocked,” said Bergkamp. “We’re sticking our neck out for Ajax because we want to get somewhere with the club. It’s a real pity that the leadership didn’t respond positively.” Jonk said he had detected the board’s cynicism towards coaching team. “I felt the lack of trust,” he added.

The word according to Cruijff Van den Boog didn’t balk at Cruijff’s threatening comments about the board’s eventual departure. He said the former footballer’s plans are commendable, but they disagree on the implementation. Cruijff’s recommendations will be taken into account, but without coercion. “You can’t come with ‘Thou shalt.’”

Cruijff says he will, but through democratic means. His next step, he said on national radio Friday morning, will be to call together a sitting of the some 500 members of the club and mobilise support for the cause, good football at Ajax.



© Radio Netherlands Worldwide 2010


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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