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AFC Ajax

AFC Ajax
Ajax were European champions three times in a row during the 1970s ©Getty Images

AFC Ajax

Formed: 1900
Nickname: Godenzonen (Sons of the Gods)

UEFA club competition honours (runners-up in brackets)
• European Champion Clubs' Cup: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1995; (1969), (1996)
• UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1987; (1988)
• UEFA Cup: 1992
• UEFA Super Cup: 1973, 1995; (1987)

Domestic honours (most recent triumph in brackets)
• League title: 30 (2011)
• Dutch Cup: 18 (2010)

• Founded at the turn of last century, Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax were soon promoted to the top flight under Irishman John Kirwan but lasted just three years before relegation. During that spell the club adopted red and white as their original black – the other shade on Amsterdam's tricolour flag – clashed with Sparta Rotterdam.

• Englishman Jack Reynolds' 32 years in charge from 1915 – punctuated briefly – brought eight league titles, but it was not until the 1960s that the club's first golden era truly began. Fighting relegation midway through the 1964/65 campaign, Ajax appointed Rinus Michels, an astute tactician who deployed an adventurous 4-2-4 formation tailor-made for the emerging Johan Cruyff and the likes of Sjaak Swart and Piet Keizer.

• It was, however, not until the emergence of 'Total Football' that the club truly made their mark. 'Gloria Ajax' claimed six Eredivisie championships between 1966 and 1973, an achievement eclipsed by three successive European Champion Clubs' Cup wins from 1971, the latter two coming under Romanian Ştefan Kovács.

• Michels had departed for FC Barcelona, Cruyff (1973) and Johan Neeskens (1974) following him. Ajax's form dipped before Cruyff returned as coach and led them to the 1987 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. The prolific Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp all eventually left, their departures making way for the emergence of an exciting new wave of academy players.

• Edwin van der Sar, Frank and Ronald de Boer, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert all leapt off Ajax's famed production line, Louis van Gaal taking Ajax to UEFA Champions League success in 1995 with a 1-0 win against AC Milan. Runners-up the following season, Ajax again lost their stellar names and even if Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart and Nigel de Jong are among recent academy graduates they have recently been overshadowed on the domestic scene by PSV Eindhoven.

• With Dutch legend Frank de Boer as manager, Ajax claimed their first league title in seven years with a dramatic victory over FC Twente on the last day of the 2010/11 season.

Club records
Most appearances: Sjaak Swart (463)
Most goals: Piet van Reenen (237)
Record victory: Ajax 14-0 Red Boys Differdange (UEFA Cup, 3 October 1984)
Record defeat: Feyenoord 9-4 Ajax (Eredivisie, 29 November 1964)

* Last updated 1 June 2011

Last updated: 19/08/11 13.33CET


Trophy cabinet

Club record in UEFA competitions

  • Biggest win:
    03/10/1984, Ajax 14-0 Differdange, Amsterdam
  • Biggest defeat:
    22/10/1980, Bayern 5-1 Ajax
  • Appearances in UEFA Champions League:  31
  • Appearances in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup:  5
  • Appearances in EUSA Cup:  2
  • Appearances in UEFA Super Cup:  3
  • Appearances in UEFA Europa League:  22
  • Player with most UEFA appearances: 79
    Danny Blind (  NED)
  • Top scorers in UEFA club competitions: 26
    Jari Litmanen (  FIN)
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