More Than A Team - Totaalvoetbal

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by phelans shorts, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Jun 22, 2011
    #1

    phelans shorts Full Member

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    In the history of football not many sides have had such an effect on football as the Ajax side of the early Seventies, a story which actually began in 1880's Manchester. Here is the story of the birth of that great side.

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    So how can a story of a truly legendary Dutch football side start in 1880's Manchester? Well, simply the man who's brainchild the system was Manchester's own Jack Reynolds. Now, Reynolds own playing career wasn't that impressive, in fact the highlight came in the second division in 1904/05 with Grimsby. Reynolds retired from playing in 1911 following a few uninteresting years at New Brompton (nowadays Gillingham). Following his retirement he moved into management at Swiss club St. Gallen, where he did a good job, earning him an offer to manage the German national side; this was in 1914, so for obvious reasons he never actually took the job on. On his travels to Germany he basically stopped in Holland, where his main work was to be done.

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    Whilst at Ajax Reynolds did some hugely important work that we still see to this day; not only did he begin the total-football side Ajax was to become, but he also began the work on the academy system that up to this day is one of the envies of the world. Only 2 years into his tenure he would win the KNVB cup, Ajax's first ever trophy. 3 years after he joined the club, Ajax won their first ever Eredivisie, a trophy he would keep hold on to the following season. This achievement would mean that Reynolds would take charge of the Dutch side for their first post-war game against Sweden in a 3-1 win.

    6 trophy-less years later Reynolds left Ajax and went on to manage neighbours Blauw Wit Amsterdam in a 3-year unsuccessful stint before returning to Ajax. In this stint Ajax won 5 Eredivisie titles, the last one coming in his penultimate season, with Reynolds taking a break from football in 1940. When Ajax came knocking again in 1945 he was not going to turn down the job, spending the last 3 years of his managerial career at the club, winning the league in his final season.

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    In the following 18 years Ajax were mildly successful, winning one KNVB cup and 2 Eredivisie titles. However, they didn't know just how big one of their former stars would be, when Rinus Michels took control of the club in 1965 - prior to this Ajax had been relegation fighters. Michels adapted Reynolds style slightly and took it to the extreme, removing the less technically gifted from the side and giving key roles to the likes of Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens. This 'Total Football' that Ajax played had one basic premise: every single outfield player was capable of playing in any outfield position. The following season Michels's Ajax won the Eredivisie, before completing the double the next year with the KNVB cup.

    The following season Ajax were to win the Eredivisie again; nevertheless, they would struggle the following season with their eyes being largely on European glory, and they didn't do a bad job of that. However, the final wouldn't go well for Michels side, getting quite frankly annihilated in a 4-1 defeat by AC Milan. When they won the Eredivisie back the following year, the side was hungrier than ever to dominate Europe, and in 1971 Ajax were to win the European cup with a 2-0 victory over Panathinaikos at Wembley.

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    The following season Michels left Ajax for Barcelona, leaving the Ajax board looking for someone to carry on the Gloria Ajax days. It turned out not only did they replace Michels but they hired the man who would further refine the total-football style, with the signing of Romanian István Kovács. Kovács side was to win not only the Eredivisie the following year, but also to retain the European cup, taking part in one of the most one-sided finals up to this date. Although the score of 2-0 to Ajax against Inter Milan may seem tight, that was not the case of the game itself; the Dutch side dominated the entire game and only a defensive master class from the Italians restricted them to the 2. Cruyff's double was enough to seal the trophy for the total-football side. How could Kovác's side match such an accomplishment? By doing it again of course! The side was to beat Juventus in the European cup final playing their total football. A 1-0 result was enough to retain the trophy - such was the level of the achievement of 3 wins in a row.

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    This Ajax side, and to a large degree style, may now be long since gone. However, its influences are still there. For instance the much watched Barcelona now adays play a system with has its roots in total football, although this newer "Tiki Taka" style is more about the use of the ball rather than the adaptability of the players. This goes to show just how revolutionary this side was and how modern football is still greatly influenced by a Mancunian that has been dead since the early 1960's.
  2. Jun 22, 2011
    #2

    Stobzilla Official Team Perv

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    Always enjoy these when I see you've posted them. Good stuff.
  3. Jun 22, 2011
    #3

    SteveJ all-round nice guy

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    Great post, PS. :)


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  4. Jun 22, 2011
    #4

    davisjw Full Member

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    Johan to me will always be the greatest player to have played the game.

    Interesting that one of their European finals was against a Greek team. I'd love to learn more about that. Sucks that the Cup is now between basically 5 countries...
  5. Jun 22, 2011
    #5

    Baby Faced Assassin Pastor of Muppets

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    Nice read that.
  6. Jun 22, 2011
    #6

    DevilsQueen Full Member

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    very good thread indeed, I always admired Ajax, I've been at the Amsterdam Arena some years ago, plus I visited the city too. It's a great club, no doubts. And obviously is good to read about this mancunian/dutch connection
  7. Jun 22, 2011
    #7

    The Taurean looks like a chipmunk

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    Love reading your blog articles Phelan. We can expect something new each time. Informative.
  8. Jun 22, 2011
    #8

    Brwned Have you ever been in love before?

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    You don't know what fluidity is until you've seen this team. I'd suggest giving this game a watch if anyone's interested:

    Ajax v Bayern 73' QF

    Or here's 50 mins highlights of that final - Ajax v Inter 72'.
  9. Jun 22, 2011
    #9

    Skywarden Full Member

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    Wow, cheer Brwned. Downloading.
  10. Jun 22, 2011
    #10

    Dans First Team Elder

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    Grew up watching these boys - Cruyff, Van Der Kerkhof, Neeskins, later Koeman, Gullit and Van Basten (when they all played in NL).

    Shame the CL has stunted any development the dutch league might have been capable of relegating it to 2 division status (against PL, BL, LL and Calcio).

    The way we were taught football in Holland was so far ahead of anything in UK and the infrastructure was on another planet.
  11. Jun 23, 2011
    #11

    Sonny1972 Full Member

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    Ajax played 6 CL finals .

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