Barry Hulshoff, the former Ajax defender who was a key figure as the Dutch club dominated European club football in the early 1970s, has died at the age of 73.
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The no-nonsense stopper helped the Amsterdam outfit win the European Champion Clubs’ Cup three times in succession, in 1971, 1972 and 1973, as well as the European/South American Cup in 1972. Previously, he had also played in Ajax’s first European Champion Clubs’ Cup final in 1969, when they were beaten by Milan.
Deventer-born Hulshoff was a mainstay of the golden Ajax team that revolutionised the game with their swashbuckling “total football”. A tough defender who was strong on the ball, and almost unbeatable in the air, as well as a dangerous presence when joining the attack, he played a total of 385 official matches for Ajax between 1966 and 1977, scoring 24 goals.
He also played 14 times (six goals) for the Netherlands between 1971 and 1973, but a knee injury meant that he missed the 1974 FIFA World Cup, in which the brilliant Dutch team led by Johan Cruyff finished as runners-up.
The injury would have an impact on the rest of his playing career. After leaving Ajax, he spent two years at another Dutch club, MVV, before moving into coaching. He was at the helm at various clubs in Belgium, including Beerschot, Lierse, Eendracht Aalst, Westerlo and Mechelen.
In 1988, Hulshoff was temporary coach at Ajax following Cruyff’s departure, and he was in charge when Ajax were defeated by Mechelen in the 1989 UEFA European Cup Winners' Cup final.
His last official role in football was as an advisor to Juventus’s Dutch star Matthijs de Ligt.