Ajax supporters aren’t afraid of a little bit of rain, which was clear on Monday morning at the public training. They lined up along the Toekomst practice field. Days after De Graafschap – Ajax (1-4) game, the squad stayed inside. But there was enough to see anyway. Fans saw, among others, Nicolas Lodeiro in action. The Uruguayan practiced for the first time since winning the Copa America.
Like every week at the public training, supporters come to Amsterdam from all over the country to see their heroes at work. It’s no different this Monday morning. Due to the summer holidays, it’s busier than usual. Michael (10) and Keli (8) from Hedel (Gelderland) have brought their 12 year old cousin Kevin to de Toekomst. They were in the car at 8:30 in the morning to attend their favourite football club’s training for the first time. Michael: “It rained a lot on the way here, so we were hoping that the practice wouldn’t be cancelled. It’s cool to see it all from so nearby. Although I hope that Theo Janssen comes out later. I would love to get his autograph.”
As if the weather gods above Amsterdam had taken it into account, the skies cleared at 10.30. Under the bright sun, the supporters watch a combination of substitute players and Jong Ajax players in action. It was definitely worth coming for, as Lorenzo Ebecilio, Vurnon Anita, Eyong Enoh, André Ooijer and Rodney Sneijder are familiar faces for everyone. Nicolas Lodeiro and Jan Vertonghen (recovering from a groin injury) joined the training. It’s the first practice for Lodeiro since winning the Copa America with Uruguay last month.
As the rain eventually does come down halfway through the practice, the goals are moved to their correct place at midfield for the next exercise. Vertonghen and Lodeiro leave the group and work through their individual programs. Panic along the sidelines suddenly breaks out. “I lost my pen!””, is the desperate cry from a young fan. It will be hard to get his heroes autograph without this key item. Further, another fan guards his pen carefully. With the cap still on his pen, he points to the spot above the three stars. “That’s where I want Sneijder’s autograph. Or Frank de Boer’s. Or Dennis Bergkamp’s...”
As the training ends around 12:00, the fans come out from under their umbrellas. Without hesitation, they get soaking wet in order to get their Ajax autographs. After that, there will be plenty of time to sit in the Toekomst’s cafeteria. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are the favourite requests at the bar. The summer holidays are in full swing, although the summer temperatures are nowhere to be found.