Foreign coaches in Mokum | All of Farioli's predecessors

Verhaal Buitenlandse Trainers 1920
Verhaal Buitenlandse Trainers 1920

By appointing Francesco Farioli, Ajax has a foreign coach for the first time since December 1998. The Italian will be the twentieth coach with roots beyond our borders. These foreign coaches did not only bring different playing styles and methods to the club, but also contributed to the rich history of the club.


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Until 1965, Ajax mainly worked with foreign coaches, of whom John Kirwas was the first and Vic Buckighem the last. Rinus Michels succeeded him in the sixties. In 1998, Morten Olsen was the last in the illustrious list of coaches with a different nationality than a Dutch one. Out of the nineteen coaches before Farioli, eight were English.

The presence of English coaches stands out in Ajax's history. To name a few: Jack Reynolds, Harold Rose, and Buckingham. Reynolds helped Ajax to the first championship in the history of the club and played a fundamental role in developing the 'Ajax DNA'. His influence was so significant that he spent four different terms as coach, where Ajax won fifteen district championships and eight national titles. Besides that, he also won the Dutch Cup. One of the most remarkable achievements was in the 1918/1919 season, in which Ajax became champions without losing a match.

His philosophy of 'total football' laid the foundation for future successes. A bronze statue in Ajax’s supporters’ home honoured his legacy and paid tribute to his contribution to the club.

Besides Reynolds, there have been more foreign coaches successful at Ajax. Stefan Kovács also had good years at the Amsterdam-based club. The Romanian won two league titles in the seventies, a Dutch Cup, a UEFA Supercup, and two UEFA Cups. Furthermore, Karl Humenberger, Buckingham, Tomislav Ivic, and Olsen also won the league with Ajax.

The Luxembourger Spitz Kohn added some silverware to Ajax's trophy cabinet. In 1985, he won the league title with Ajax as (interim)coach. As assistant coach of the club, two more national Cups, a Europa Cup II and one more league title in his last year (1989/1990) followed.

The last one
The contribution of foreign coaches to Ajax has been undeniable, and their legacy lives on in the club's history. Their influence on the playing style, philosophy, and successes of Ajax remains an important part of the club's identity.

The last foreign coach for Ajax was the Dane Olsen, who held the reins during the 1997-1998 season. Under his leadership, Ajax won both the national championship and the Dutch Cup. In the Cup final, they won 5-0 against PSV. Olsen had a squad that included Jari Litmanen, Edwin van der Sar, Danny Blind, Michael Laudrup, and Shota Arveladze.


All of Farioli's predecessors

John Kirwan (Ierland) 1910-1915
Jack Reynolds (Engeland)


Harold Rose (Engeland) 1925-1926
Sidney Castle (Engeland) 1926-1928
Volmos Halpern (Hongarije) 1940-1941
Robert Smith (Engeland) 1947-1948
Walter Crook (Engeland)


Robert Thomson (Schotland) 1950-1953
Willy Stejskal (Oostenrijk) 1953-1953
Karl Humenberger (Oostenrijk) 1954-1959
Vic Buckingham (Engeland)


Keith Spurgeon (Engeland) 1961-1962
Pepi Gruber (Oostenrijk) 1962-1963
Jack Rowley (Engeland) 1963-1964
Ștefan Kovács (Roemenië) 1971-1973
Tomislav Ivic (Joegoslavië) 1976-1978
Kurt Linder (Duitsland)


Spitz Kohn (Luxemburg)


Morten Olsen (Denemarken) 1997-1998

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