‘I’m older and, fortunately, wiser.’

‘I’m older and, fortunately, wiser.’

His arrival at Ajax had people talking.  Now, several months later, Peter Bosz looks back on his transfer from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam and talks candidly about his youth, fatherhood, and character.  ‘Most people don’t know me as I really am.”

Open
“I’m an open person, but I’ve noticed that people have the wrong idea about me.  I regularly see or read things about myself in the media.  I almost never recognize myself in what is written.  I am frequently described as a grumpy, humorless man.  ‘That must have been written by someone who doesn’t know me at all’, is what I think then.  People who really know me would say that I’m honest and helpful, and that I’m a man who cares a lot for the pleasures in life, and who enjoys the small things.”

Father/coach
“I watch all of the matches that are played, either live or on television.  I analyze, and I always watch the game critically.  My son, Gino, is now playing professionally at Cambuur.  When I watch him, everything is different.  Then I’m in the stands as a father, not an analytical coach.  Then, I only have my eye on him, and am hoping he does well.”

'They have no idea’

“When Gino made his debut with Heracles Almelo, I was in the stands.  I’m never nervous, but at that moment, I was a total wreck.  He played a great game.  In the last minute, he scored the winning goal from a free kick.  Everyone around me jumped up, euphoric.  I just sat there, stunned by joy, and so proud.  Later on, it turned out that I had been on screen at that moment.  ‘Bosz is even cold when his own son scores’, said the commentator.  Then I thought again: you guys don’t even know me.  You have no idea.” 

7Up
“I grew up in a very warm family in the south of Apeldoorn.  My parents still live in that same house.  I felt protected in that environment.  But I left home at sixteen.  I went to play football at a higher level, and lived a totally different life than my peers, who were spending every evening in the pub.  I never drank, I never smoked, and didn’t go out.  After the first year, I made it into the first team.  If an activity was organized for the group and we went out to the pub, the order was always 19 beers and one 7Up.  I drank a lot of 7Up.”

'I would have loved to have kids sooner’

Scraping by
“I was 23 when I became a father.  I would have loved to have kids even sooner.  I met my wife at SIOS.  Within one year – I was 17 – we moved in together, because we couldn’t afford to rent two places.  We didn’t have much, we were just scraping by.  We didn’t have a television, no newspaper, no telephone.  We couldn’t afford any of that.  My rent was 190 guilders per month and I was earning 250 guilders per month at Vitesse.”

Wild oats
“Once I broke through, I had a bit more to spend.  At the same time, I discovered what it was like to go out.  When I started playing at Feyenoord, we often went out as a team in Amsterdam on Monday night.  I was experiencing everything that I had missed out on before.  I enjoyed it.  We used to end up at Het Feest van Joop.  We always went around to the same places.  It was a very special time.”

'I fell in love with Tokyo'

Japan
“In 1996, I took my family to Japan, where I played for JEF United.  That was a special time, I’ll always remember that.  Japan was amazing.  I fell in love with Tokyo.  It’s beautiful there.  It was a great time and our family life was intense.  We were really tight, and that’s what made that time so special.  Whenever I wasn’t playing, we were together.”

Another thing I loved about Japan was that I was unable to read any newspapers or magazines.  That was so nice!  I had no idea what was being written about me.  Maybe it was good, maybe not.  I had no clue.  That’s when I realized how much I was influenced by what was written and said about me in the media.  Since then, I hardly read or watch anything about myself.”

'I really had to learn how to relax’

Wiser
“I now have a one and a half year-old grandson.  That’s special and it makes me reflect on my own life. I’ve become a calmer person.  When I come home now, my wife and I open a bottle of wine and I smoke a cigar.  Then we talk, and I relax.  The television stays off.  I was never able to do that before.  My wife and I both had previous marriages, and we’ve been together for six years now.  I really needed to learn to relax and talk.  We always discuss our day, and listen to each other.  I’ve become older and, fortunately, wiser.”

Nomad
“I’ve moved around a lot, and I’ve seen a lot of the world.  I’m used to it.  It’s a bit harder for my wife.  She doesn’t come from the football world and isn’t very familiar with this life.  We’ve already moved twice this year, from Almelo to Tel Aviv, and from there to Vinkeveen.  In between moves, we stayed in a hotel.  That wasn’t such a problem for me, but it’s still new for her.  But she’s doing great and I’m proud of that.”

Different life
“Sure, I sometimes wish for that.  If I hadn’t played football, I think I would have been a bike racer.  And if I hadn’t been an athlete, I would have been a business man.  I want to make my own decisions.  I like being in charge.  I was like that as a player, and now that I’m a coach, it’s part of my job.  I’ve always had difficulty with authority.  I have a hard time with people telling me what to do.  I’ve always been independent, and like to take responsibility.  That’s just who I am.”

'The critics haven’t been too bad’

Criticism

“It was obvious when I was brought in that the Ajax supporters – especially the fanatic core – weren’t that impressed.  But the critics haven’t been too bad.  As I said before, I don’t really watch or read much on that topic.  That makes a difference.  Of course, in the beginning, I understood that I was seen as a Feyenoorder on Ajax territory.  Fortunately, there were also many positive reactions.  I had expected the negative reactions, actually, and do feel that it’s up to me to prove myself.”

Team-work

“I like it a lot at Ajax.  I think many people still need to get used to me.  I’m different than Frank (de Boer) and lead in a different way.  At the same time, I also need to get accustomed to working with my colleagues.  That’s important.  When you can’t work together, nothing goes right.  Then it breaks down.  For example, I could never work with someone if I thought they were a big jerk.  That just couldn’t work.  Obviously, you don’t need to agree all of the time, but it’s different if you don’t respect or value each other.”

'I want to show what I can do'

Ajax
“In any case, I hope to show great results in the next three years.  We’re still only a few months into it, but I’m showing everyone who has an Ajax heart what I can do, and I’m going to do my very best.  In any case, I feel very good about Ajax.”