The background story posted yesterday, was just the first of four posts. In this one, I’ve summarised and translated Cruijff’s column. The media reaction, and fan reaction, will follow shortly.
“I quit”, both the headline and the first sentence of Cruijff’s column published on Monday. Though not a complete surprise after his Thursday column (in which he was furious over the Jonk situation), it still came as a shock to most people. Why? Cruijff and Ajax are two things that appeared inseparable. Ajax is his first love, the club where his playing career started, the club he loves more than most. Cruijff isn’t just a club-legend, he is also one of the club’s biggest fans.
“For years I’ve realised that the core of my vision isn’t followed withing Ajax. In addition, the feeling that this happens on purpose grows stronger. And I won’t play games.”
“Of course this is a raw deal. After all, I’m not a board member, and I had good faith that everything would be in good hands with experienced board members and supervisors. That they would also help and guide the footballers, who, like myself, aren’t familiar with meetings, supervising and so forth.”
Cruijff hit out at five board members; Dolf Collee, or more to the point whoever appointed him. The appointment of managing director Dolf Collee, who is supposed to prepare Van der Sar for the most important post within the board of directors, is a travesty according to Cruijff. “Based on what? He too, let this happen for years.”
The new president of the supervisory board Leo van Wijk wasn’t safe either. Cruijff blames Van Wijk for not using any of his recommendations, such as giving the head of the academy a seat in management so the individual would have more input. “Along with Tscheu La Ling we went through Ling report, and (Van Wijk) fully agreed on what it reported and said. To then do the complete opposite.”
Most of the shots were aimed at Hennie Henrichs, president of the management board and practically the president of the club, Cruijff didn’t hold back. “Henrichs ditched five club legends just to cover the advisory board. There is not place for such a mentality at our club. Therefore, I hope that a solution will be reached that will make Ajax, Ajax again. Perhaps by buying all the shares or something.”
The other two at the receiving end of Cruijff’s shots were Hans Wijer, (former) president of the supervisory board, who “failed his job” and supervisory board member Theo van Duivenbode, who was supposed to be behind Cruijff.
Cruijff finished his column with advice for the remaining former footballers: “In conclusion, the five players. Go and sit together soon, and look at yourselves. Make sure you fix this. It just won’t happen under the umbrella of the Cruijff-plan anymore, because my name is no longer attached to it.”
Cruijff also gave a short update on his health, he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year: “The first cure of the illness treatment is done and I haven’t experienced any adverse effects. We are on the way and thankfully football provides enough distraction.”