AEGON and Ajax treated 47 young English football fans to a unique football clinic on the Coomble Dingle Sports Complex in Bristol on Thursday. Despite the rain, the young footballers and the Ajax team had a great time. With the group photo as the highlight of the day.
Joy and excitement are in the wet air. Nearly fifty boys and girls, all dressed in football gear, are visibly having a good time on the pitch. Only the parents seem worried about the steady drizzle. The kids, all guests of AEGON and aged between 8 and 16, enjoy themselves on the wet grass.
The parents and their children await the entire Ajax team. A signing session is in the cards. After a group picture – squad and kids posing together – three Ajax coaches give an exclusive clinic. Danny Blind, John van ’t Schip and Michael Lindeman will each teach the youngsters a thirty-minute football lesson.
,,The kids have done their homework really well; nearly all of them have looked up information about Ajax on the Internet’’, says Frank Kolsteeg. The Sponsor Manager of AEGON casts an approving look on the pitch, where the young footballers run to and fro. ,,The kids are used to the weather here. Despite the rain they think it’s fantastic. There are also many girls here. They too are very involved in football.’’
When the squad arrives after half an hour, the red and white ‘give-away’ shirts are passed around. Besides the T-shirts - very handy for collecting autographs - Ajax pins and football posters are handed out. Everyone gets a chance to collect the autographs of the Ajax players and they all seize the opportunity gladly. The kids and their parents, who regularly stop for a chat with the players and their coach Martin Jol.
AEGON greatly values sports and sports education. When choosing a collaboration with Ajax, the club’s world-famous youth academy played a part. The clinic in England is all about the love for sports and the game.
Kolsteeg is assisted in Bristol by a colleague of the British branch of AEGON. Rebecca Foggett is as a member of the Sponsorship Team closely involved in the organisation of the clinic. ,,The kids only enjoy playing football more because of the rain’’, says Foggett, while Blind, Van ’t Schip and Lindeman have started their clinics. ,,An event like this is really special to them. Some of them are quite flabbergasted to meet so many football players. And they can ask them all for their autograph.’’
After an hour and a half the Ajax coaches gather their temporary players in the centre of the training pitch. Everyone is thanked for their enthusiasm and efforts. ,,At first I saw some shirts of Manchester United and Bristol City’’, says Kolsteeg with a smile. ,,But today Ajax have made many new fans.’’