Following in father’s footsteps

Following in father’s footsteps

Daley Blind only has four official matches in Ajax 1 to go until he joins the exclusive Club of 100. After he’s played them, and joins the illustrious list, he will be the one hundred and fiftieth Ajax player to have participated in more than one hundred games in an Ajax jersey. He will also be the third Ajax player to follow in his father’s footsteps. And, on Father’s Day, that is definitely worth mentioning.

We need to go back a century to find the first father and son in the top 100. Theo Brokmann senior played 175 Ajax matches between 1913 and 1919. He was on the squad on the team that won the first two national titles, in 1918 and 1919. Brokmann made an important contribution to that very first championship: he, Fons Pelser and Henk Hordijk were the only Ajax players at the time that had played in all of the season’s thirty matches.

Brokmann played in Ajax’s first team for years, and achieved a remarkable series of goals. Interestingly enough, he was only selected for the national team once. That was in 1919, when Sweden was defeated 3-1 in Amsterdam. Brokmann scored once in that game. At Ajax, his spot was never questioned. For eleven seasons, he was a fixed asset, at midfield or on one of the flank positions. In 1925, Brokmann retired as a football player, to return later on in the team’s management. He was commissioner of the Amsterdam club from 1930 to 1950. He was also involved with the team commission. His son, Theo junior, played 126 official matches between 1939 and 1951.

After the Brokmanns, another son soon tread in his father’s footsteps; the Andriesens. Senior played 309 duels in an Ajax jersey between October 4, 1925, and May 26, 1940. Hi son Wim junior made his debut for Ajax 1 almost 26 years later. Between March 11, 1951, and May 28, 1961, junior played just over one half of his father’s total: 167 matches. “There are always people who think that because you have a famous father, you benefit from having the same name”, said Wim Andersen junior in Ajax’s beautiful Ajax 1900-2000 anniversary book. “But I can tell you that it’s a burden more than anything else, because you’re constantly being compared to someone who’s not playing anymore. The good memories always take over, especially if that person has passed away. I needed to fight against that. Jack Reynolds, who was both my coach and my father’s, told me that I was a more technical player than he was. ‘But’, he had added heavily, ‘you can never become better than him…’” Wim Andriesen senior is among the most famous pre-war Ajax players. Famous enough to have a square in town named after him.

And now, more than sixty years later, Daley Blind is on the road to repeating history. Just four more matches until he joins the Club of 100. Daley will join at the bottom of the list, and his father can be found near the top of it. Danny Blind, who made his debut on August 24, 1986, and stopped twelve and a half years later on May 18, 1999, played no fewer than 493 duels with Ajax 1. That puts him in third place on the list of Ajax players with the most games, just behind Sjaak Swart (493) and Wim Suurbier (509).

Soon we’ll take a closer look at the Club of 100 list. Keep an eye on for some nice historic journeys outside of the everyday news.