Gerald Vanenburg: Ajax have taken the wrong path

After three years working as a youth coach at Ajax, Gerald Vanenburg is stepping down from his position at the club. In an interview with De Telegraaf, the former Netherlands international revealed he is not comfortable with the path the club has taken. ‘A lot has changed in football in general and at Ajax in particular. In my opinion, you should feel good about what you’re doing and I don’t feel comfortable with it anymore,’ he said.

In the interview, the 59-year-old said he disagrees with the way Ajax is run. ‘I want to indicate that I think Ajax have taken the wrong path. At the moment it is mainly data and power. And that is not how I want to work as an individual coach.’ 

Vanenburg’s playing career kicked off with Ajax in the 1980s. He scored 72 goals and provided 40 assists in 259 games, playing predominantly as a right-winger. In 2020 Vanenburg became a technical coach in the Ajax academy, but several factors have occurred in recent years have pushed him away from the club.

Speaking about the situation, he said ‘I was brought up and trained as a footballer on the streets. I think football should always be central but that is no longer the case. In any case, I think Ajax should always train and play from its own strengths. And tactics are not the most important thing. Football is. Training technique in everything. That already contains the basis of tactics and not the other way around. In my opinion, above all you have to train and be on the pitch to get better. That’s what I think is most important.’

Vanenburg isn’t the only person leaving Ajax at the end of this season. Current assistant coach Michael Reiziger is set to leave when his contract expires and head of scouting Henk Veldmate is joining FC Groningen in the summer. The head of Ajax’s youth academy, Saïd Ouaali has also chosen to leave in the summer. Ajax will likely have to hire several new members of staff in the summer.  

GBeNeFN Hugo Hargreaves

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