Volgens het Britse voetbalblad FourFourTwo is het team van Ajax in de jaren 1965-1973 het beste ooit. Lees hier wat het toonaangevende blad over de Ajax gloriejaren te melden had.
When Barry Hulshoff retired from football in 1979, he did some coaching in Greece. One day, the former Ajax defender found himself in a remote mountain village, where an old man stared at his shaggy hair and beard.
“He took my hands, held them and cried,” recalled Hulshoff. “He said there was no television in his village, so this old man used to walk for two hours to reach another village to watch Ajax games. And now, in front of him, he saw one of the players. He couldn’t understand it and became very emotional.”
Other teams on this list may have won more, but few could elicit such an outpouring of emotion years later. In disciplinarian coach Rinus Michels, the club’s trademark 4-3-3, chaotic position-switching and teamwork was established, with Total Football invented. When he left for Barca in 1971, his Romanian replacement Stefan Kovacs afforded the team yet more attacking freedom.
Drifting centre-forward Johan Cruijff was the undoubted star, conducting his orchestra with typical pomp and skill. Johan Neeskens provided midfield legs, Aria Haan and Gerrie Muhren the tactical discipline, centre-back Velibor Vasovic the win-at-all-costs Yugoslav steel. Even goalkeeper Heinz Stuy was selected for what he could do with his feet, not his hands.
Forty years since their pinnacle – a 2-1 win against Juventus to win the 1973 European Cup, their third in a row – Ajax’s 4-3-3 remains football’s most flexible, popular formation. Their influence on Barcelona and AC Milan, the only sides on our list that could match their artistry, is undeniable. But it’s the way they make you feel – the long hair, rock star swagger and beautiful play – that sets them apart.
Artists, writers, even ballerinas – the great Rudolf Nureyev once said “Johan Cruijff should have been a dancer” – came to watch Ajax in their pomp. THe modest De Meer Stadium became a hive of intellectualism and the counter-culture sweeping 1970s Amsterdam. The venue for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in? The Amsterdam Hilton.
Ajax are the poster every schoolboy should have on their bedroom wall – football’s James Bond stood next to an Aston Martin in the shadow of the Alps. The greatest club side of all time? Nobody did it better.
Bron: FourFourTwo – oktober 2013