Dressed in an Ajax jersey, with three stars on the chest, and with a fresh championship plate within reaching distance, Frank de Boer looked back on the championship match against FC Twente. The coach, who took over in December from the resigned Martin Jol was – obviously – full of praise for his club, players, and the Ajax home crowd.
Of course, Frank de Boer is an Ajax man, to the core. But there was another reason that the head coach was dressed in red and white for his press conference. De Boer’s suit had simply gotten wet after an (involuntary?) dive into the dressing room shower. His wet club suit was simply swapped for a pair of training pants and Ajax shirt. Bath scenes are irrevocably linked to championship celebrations.
‘The supporters cheered us on to the title until the last second. The crowd was a fantastic twelfth man today”, said De Boer in retrospect, giving a huge compliment to the amazing crowd. “The fact that we’re invincible in our own stadium was proven today. That’s the reason that this is also the crowd’s championship. We’ve all waited so long for this.”
In addition to the Ajax crowd’s support, it was of course thanks to the performance of the Ajax players on the field that the club has won its thirtieth championship. FC Twente was, in the words of Twente coach Michel Preud’homme, ‘dismissed’. Ajax’s coach couldn’t agree more. “When you play with passion and pressure, Twente makes mistakes too”, analysed De Boer with a satisfied grin. “Often, you lose the first match, our cup final, and you then win the second match against the same team. I didn’t say that lightly after the cup final. I was convinced of it. Of course it was exciting this afternoon. I didn’t get a good feeling until it was 3-1. Only then could I relax a bit. Finally, I have a very special feeling sitting here. A great feeling.”
Thanks to the national championship, Ajax qualifies next season for the Champions League. After the retrospective part of the press conference, De Boer looked ahead optimistically. “This young team has lots of room to grow”, said the former youth trainer and Ajax 1 player. “We can become even smarter, for example. A lot has to do with experience. In that respect, participating in the Champions League is a great experience. Who knows how far we can go in that tournament…we won this title the Ajax way, just like the supporters and everyone in the club likes to see it. That makes this championship, which we always believed it, extra special. The players have delivered a great performance.”