Club: Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax
Founded: 18 March 1900
Official website: www.ajax.nl
A brief history...
In 1883, a group of friends including Han Dade, Carel Reeser and Floris Stempel founded a small football club initially called "Union", before being renamed "Footh Ball Club Ajax" in 1894. At the end of the century, having achieved little in the way of success, in dire straits financially and with numerous players departing, Dade, Reeser and Stempel created a "completely new football club". And so it was at a historic meeting on 18 March 1900 in the Café Oost-Indië in Kalverstraat, Amsterdam, that "Football Club Ajax" was formed - this time with the correct spelling. The club joined the Amsterdam Football Association (AVB) and rented a ground in the north of the city where they would play their home games. Their endeavours were swiftly rewarded with the new club finishing runners-up in the AVB championship on two occasions.
However, it was not until the 1930s that the club really blossomed. In ten years, Ajax won seven league titles and five national championships. This golden era also saw the construction of the new stadium "De Meer" on the Middenweg in Watergraafsmeer to accommodate the growing fan base who would flock to watch heroes such as Gerrit Fischer ply their trade.
The club enjoyed its second coming under legendary coach Rinus Michels who instilled the offensive philosophy for which Ajax teams are still renowned today. The "General" led Ajax to four Dutch championships and three Dutch Cups in six years, winning the club's first double in 1966/1967. Ajax's reputation also began to transcend domestic borders as the club became the nation's first representatives in a European Cup final in 1969.
Despite a 4-1 defeat by AC Milan, that final would herald the start of an irrepressible ascent to the pinnacle of European football as Ajax lifted a hat-trick of European Cups in 1971, 1972 and 1973. The club also won their first Intercontinental Cup in 1972 after a two-legged tie against Independiente of Argentina, strolling their way to the Dutch championship in the same year. Goalkeeper Heinz Stuy went 1,082 minutes without conceding a goal in 1971, while in 1972 and 1973, Ajax scored over 100 goals in the league. Johan Cruyff, the linchpin of the Ajax team, departed for Barcelona in 1973 and promptly spurred the Catalan club to their first Liga title in 14 years. The other names of the Ajax team from that era are still music to the ears of football fans - Arie Haan, Johan Neeskens, Piet Keizer, Wim Suurbier, Johnny Rep or Ruud Krol.
Ajax lifted their fourth European Cup on 24 May 1995, Patrick Kluivert scoring the winner against AC Milan in Vienna, and followed the feat on 28 November 1995 with their second world club cup, now going by the name of the Toyota Cup, after overcoming Gremio Porto Alegre in the final.
However, these momentous achievements would trigger a string of departures such as Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk (both to Inter Milan), Bryan Roy (Foggia) and Jan Wouters (Bayern Munich), an exodus which gave the club, so famous for its youth development, the opportunity to introduce a new generation of talented footballers. The club also consolidated on its recent achievements with a move to the new Amsterdam Arena in 1996.
2 Intercontinental Cups: 1972, 1995
3 European Cups/UEFA Champions Leagues: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1995
1 UEFA Cup: 1992
1 European Cup Winners' Cup: 1987
3 European Super Cups: 1972, 1973, 1995
1 Intertoto Cup: 1962
33 Dutch championships: 1918, 1919, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1937, 1939, 1947, 1957, 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
18 Dutch Cups: 1917, 1943, 1961, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1979, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010
8 Dutch Super Cups: 1993, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013
*The honours listed above are considered to be the club’s major titles and, as such, are not intended to be a full list of achievements.
Sjaak Swart (1956-73), Johan Cruyff (1964-73 & 1981-83), Wim Suurbier (1964-77), Arie Haan (1969-75), Johan Neeskens (1970-74), Frank Rijkaard (1980-87 & 1993-95), Marco van Basten (1982-87), Dennis Bergkamp (1986-93), Danny Blind (1986-99), Ronald de Boer (1987-1991 & 1993-98), Frank de Boer (1988-1998), Jari Litmanen (1992-99 & 2002-04)