With the departure of Ajax football club's chief executive Rik van den Boog, Dutch soccer icon Johan Cruyff will have a bigger field to play out his next moves. Last Sunday, Mr Van den Boog announced his resignation per 1 June, joining chairman Uri Coronel and the club’s board of directors, amid a bitter dispute with Cruyff about how to return the club to its former glory days.
Amsterdam daily Het Parool reported yesterday that the chairman of the members’council, Rob Been junior, travelled to Barcelona with two other honorary members to hold talks with Cruyff about his future role in Ajax. The meeting was “constructive and open”, Mr Been said. “Ajax are going through a deep crisis. It's totally unacceptable and shouldn’t ever happen again in the future. That’s why we have to think about how to avoid this happening a second time.”
Ajax have been performing under par for the past few years. The Amsterdam squad are currently in third place in the Dutch Premier League – which they last won in 2004 - and were knocked out of the last 16 in the Europa League by Spartak Moscow. Cruyff, who helped the club to three European Cup triumphs between 1971 and 1973, has been one of the main critics of Ajax, accusing the board of letting slip away the club philosophy of attacking and technical football using homegrown players.
Cruyff as advisor
Last February, Cruyff was invited back in the role of advisor on technical, financial and association issues. A row broke out between management and the football legend in March, when Cruyff presented his recommendations to the board. Cruyff wanted to give head coach and ex-Ajax player Frank de Boer greater responsibility. He also wanted to sack board member and former Ajax player Danny Blind, along with other employees. The directors responded by resigning en masse, citing the "ongoing turmoil surrounding the club".
Been has played a key role in breaking the stalemate at Ajax. He has been given the responsibility of organising the election of a new board. If Cruyff accepts a position as a board member, he will have a freer rein for implementing his plans.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide 2011