Ajax was honoured at head sponsor AEGON’s headquarters in The Hague on Monday afternoon. The entire staff and selection were in the capital to show AEGON’s employees the championship plate. Ajax’s thirtieth national title is thus their first with AEGON as their main sponsor.
At around 2.30p.m., a call to come to the central hall can be heard through the entire AEGON building. A unique event is about to happen. The celebration for national champion Ajax in The Hague. Meetings are abruptly ended, and everyone stops working for a moment on this happy day. The proud main sponsor has pulled out all the stops to honour the Ajax players fittingly. When the hall is full, Wim Bohnenn – who introduced the players on Sunday on Museumplein – cheers on the employees ‘Let them hear you, AEGON!’
Days after the unforgettable celebration on Museumplein, the plate is hoisted again in the AEGON square. Because it was damaged on Sunday as it slipped out of Maarten Stekelenburg’s hands and landed under a bus, it still bears a visible dent on the edge. But it doesn’t spoil the fun. In fact, it is a source of amusement for Ajax’s head sponsors.
Marco Keim, chairman of AEGON in the Netherlands, is proud and happy with Ajax’s championship. “This is a special moment, to have the entire championship selection here at our office. The Hague isn’t really an Ajax city. We have many employees from Rotterdam, but this doesn’t make us less enthusiastic”, says Keim, who is a fervent Ajax supporter himself. “For us, as head sponsor, this was the ideal season. There was excitement until the end of the competition, and we got lots of attention.” And he says, tongue in cheek: “And you gave ADO six points.”
After AEGON’s words, Frank de Boer takes the floor on behalf of Ajax. “We want to thank AEGON. Not only for their financial contribution, but certainly for all of the other things that they do for Ajax as main sponsor. They help us and think with us so that we can get back to the top. This plate is definitely partly AEGON’s.” As the room sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for the coach, who turned 41 on Saturday, De Boer takes the microphone. “My birthday was on May 15, but today, May 16, we have another birthday boy in our midst: Dario Cvitanich.” And the Argentinian player is celebrated as well in The Hague.
Then it’s time for autographs and photos. All AEGON’s employees get the opportunity to take a picture with De Boer and the plate. Further in the headquarters, the players have made themselves at home. They happily sign the many cardboard plates and pose for pictures. This special afternoon in The Hague ends with a hearty round of applause. As far as Ajax and AEGON are concerned, this certainly won’t be the team’s last visit. Keim: “I hope we’ll meet here again.”