Louis van Gaal presented himself to the press in a impressive and sometimes touching manner as Ajax's new technical director on Friday morning. As a former player and successful coach with the club he has come full circle with this apppointment.
Louis van Gaal recited a poem he wrote when he learned that he would return to the club that made him famous. He has come full circle, he said.
After his introduction by managing director Arie van Eijden, Van Gaal spoke to the press. ,,Many of you will be surprised that I have returned to Ajax. Therefore, I would like to tell you a story. I was eleven years old and playing outside on the streets of the Watergraafsmeer was not enough. I also wanted to play on the pitch and I went to Ajax every week, it must have been around the time you had to pay a quarter to get into the young-boys stand. With my friends I would sometimes sneak onto the pitch when the grounds were empty. I once took a penalty there and said: 'I am going to play here'. That was ridiculous, because Ajax was a big club back then too. But I did play there. When we went to watch the first team train, all my friends looked at the players and wanted autographs. I looked at that one man, Rinus Michels, and decided that I wanted to be a coach. There was and is only one club in Holland that I call a top club and that is Ajax. I became a coach there. We were the Champions of Europe and went on a boat tour through the canals of Amsterdam. That is the greatest football memory that I have. I love to return to the club that brought me all that. And before I am 55 years old. I would not have set aside my coaching ambitions three years earlier for any other club. Only for Ajax. I was born and raised here, and I have had success and sorrow. I could not let this opportunity pass.''
,,I cannot say how long I will stay. It might not be eight years, but I intend to do this for at least three. We are after all busy with long-term results.
His goal as technical director is every supporter's dream. ,,I would like to have a boat tour once again. Ajax made it to the quarter final of the Champions League. With a bit of luck that could just as well have been the semi-final or the final. It should all work in the years to come, or at least, that Europe talks about Ajax again. Reaching the final also requires a bit of good luck. But you have to have the dream. I am proud that I can make a contribution to this Ajax, be it from some distance.