Ajax start training in front of thousands of fans

Ajax start training in front of thousands of fans

Ajax have begun the preparations for the 2006-2007 season. The side got off to a running start at the training pitch next to the Amsterdam ArenA. A few thousand fans attended the first training session, to give the start of the season added lustre.

Fot the first time in the club's history, there was a stand on the artificial pitch with room for a thousand fans. Never before had the supporters been given access to the training pitch for the first training. The fans thouroughly enjoyed the unique view what went on. And many others took place behind the fences around the pitch to see their favourite team from there. The many chants and the fireworks proved that they too were having a great time.

‘This year will be ours’ and ‘Welcome 2 STAMsterdam’ stood out among the banners alongside the pitch. And ‘Henkie, Henkie, we're going to be champions’, was a often heard song.

The new Ajax coach Henk ten Cate recieved a lot of attention, but there was one team member who was even more popular: Jaap Stam. The bald Ajax defender with number 3 was the subject of many passionate chants. The expectations concerning Stam, Ten Cate, really all new Ajax players, were high. Kenneth Perez (shirt number 11), George Ogararu (20), Dennis Gentenaar (30), Roger (14), Gabri (18) were other popular new faces. The team practised in the new home uniform.

After a thorough warming up, the coaches ran a passing drill, to give the players a good feel of the ball after a few weeks vacation.

Ajax have to get fit quickly. The matches in the preliminary round of the Champions League, the match for the Johan Cruijff Shield and the new leage season are coming up fast. The side went to work without the players who have been active in the World Cup. They will join the team later this month.

Shortly before the end of the first training, the staff let the players do a special drill. The players had to form a circle and kick or head the ball while making the circle rotate. many funny moments ensued when the footballers did everything they could to keep the ball from hitting the ground and not breaking the circle. The sanction for dropping the ball on the grass: push ups, which was no fun under the burning sun.