Fijne Verjaardag: Five Fascinating Facts About Ajax On The Club’s 116th Birthday

Martin Cloake

18th, March 2016



Exactly 116 years ago today, AFC Ajax were founded in Amsterdam. Since then, they’ve gone on to become one of the world’s most successful and iconic clubs.

To mark the anniversary, here are five fantastic (totaal) footballing facts about the Dutch masters.

1.) Englishman Jack Reynolds managed the club in four different spells between 1915 and 1947. Reynolds had played football for Manchester City, Burton United, Grimsby Town, Sheffield Wednesday and New Brompton, but it was as a manager that he really shone.

He’s credited as one of the men who laid the foundations for the famous ‘Total Football’ style the club would become associated with. Rinus Michels, who implemented the modern system of totaalvoetbal in the 1960s at both Ajax and the Dutch national side, played under Reynolds.

2.) During the 1966-67 campaign, Ajax scored 122 goals – still the record for a single Eredivisie season. The team also won the Dutch Cup, thus achieving its first Double.

3.) Romanian coach Stefan Kovács took over in 1971/72 when Michels left to manage Barcelona, having secured the side’s first European Cup. In Kovács’s first season, Ajax won the league, the Dutch cup and the European Cup. The following season Ajax won the Intercontinental Cup, the league and the European cup again – becoming the first side since Real Madrid to win Europe’s top trophy three years on the trot.

4.) The famous club logo featuring the head of the Greek god Ajax the Great was introduced in 1928. It lasted until 1990, when it was replaced by an new abstract version of the crest, made up of 11 lines to symbolise the 11 players in the team…


5.) Although Ajax’s kit is one of the most instantly recognisable in world football, it’s not their original kit. In fact, the original strip (circa 1900-ish) was all black with a red sash tied around the waist, which was soon replaced by a red-and-white striped jersey with brown shorts. Lovely.

However, when the club made it to the top division for the first time in 1911, Sparta Rotterdam already had the same kit so Ajax were forced to change theirs under league rules.

They duly opted for the famous white-with-red-bar kit they are now so readily associated with.


You can follow Martin Cloake on Twitter at @MartinCloake and find more about his books and writing at

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  1. Davy says:

    For = Four?

  2. 010 says:

    A few other interesting facts:

    – Ajax fans hail from anywhere but Amsterdam, since people from there support AFC (unknown to most football hipsters, claiming a dislike for Man United but having ‘a thing’ for their Dutch equivalent). Add to that that their stadium isn’t im Amsterdam.
    – Ajax has abandoned the notion of time, and the club and its fans still live in 1995. The last time they won anything in Europe, and years from the present status quo of failing the group stages in the Europa League.
    – Due to poor design, allowing little sunlight and air, the pitch in Ajax’ stadium is universale accepted as the worst in the country and a danger to players (loose patches).
    – It is against the regulations of the club to stay in the stadium until the final whistle. Looking at the match without taking photo’s is also groene upon.

    • Feather040 says:

      An other interresting fact is that the stadium is founded bij the b.v.Philips , it still owns almost half the stadium. Its also the reason there are no red-white chairs in the stadium,they sell Grolsch event beer,and pay the rent ! 11mln a season,17 Eredivisie matches. Maybe that is the reason of PSV’s home advantage in the Arena , PSV owns it financial and sportif. Young-PSV decorated their home yesterday 1 – 2 ! Tomorrow Ajax is invited to blow their own candles vs.PSV ,PSV is very generous and loyal in a particular kind a way !

  3. Jeremia says:

    Ajax (Latinised form of Aias) was a hero of the Trojan war, not a god, and his epithet ‘the Greater’ was put in place to differentiate between him and another bloke of the same name, who was therefore called ‘Ajax the Lesser’… which is all, obviously, incredibily important to know when talking about football.

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