Match day of the game against Manchester City took an unexpected turn. It rained all morning in Manchester, so the technical staff decided to cancel the walk from the morning program. Instead of that, a spontaneous visit of the national football museum took place, to the surprise and joy of the museum and the visitors who happened to be there that morning.
The museum’s visitors, among which were several Ajax fans, looked on with astonishment as the men in training suits suddenly appeared. The surprise only grew at the moment of recognition. Here in the football museum, they were suddenly face to face with their heroes. The men they had come to cheer on that evening were here. “This is unbelievable”, said a stunned supporter. ‘A once in a lifetime experience’, said the English visitors about the Ajax players’ visit. The Amsterdam football players didn’t hesitate to pose for photographs afterwards.
The players visibly enjoyed themselves. The interested – and mostly young – Ajax players watched an eight minute film about English football. There was also quite a bit of interest for the video of football greats from the entire world. They thus saw beautiful images of their own assistant coach Dennis Bergkamp in the film. In this way, he was there in spirit, since Bergkamp is absent – as is customary for trips abroad – from this trip to Manchester.
They were able to go to work themselves on the second floor of the beautiful National Football Museum. Manager Kevin Moore led the Ajax players around his football museum and showed the professionals some of the more active parts of the museum. This made for some hilarious moments when Joël Veltman imitated certain ‘skills’ and then went on to hit the English man. Siem de Jong showed his stuff in the penalty environment. With two ‘Panenkas’, he left the virtual keeper without a hope.
Ajax’s visit was a first for the museum. Since its opening in July, the Dutch champion was the first team to visit the establishment. The director was proud. “It’s quite an honour that Ajax is here now. They’ll get a place on the wall!”
Then they’ll share the wall with, for example, Eric Cantona, who has lent an enormous painting in which he can be seen with, among others, Sir Alex Ferguson, to the museum. Bobby Charlton was also willing to lend the portrait painting that hangs in his living room, to the museum. “That way, more people can look at it than just him and his wife”, said the museum director, who has welcomed 185.000 guests during the past few months.
When they left, the employees wished Ajax luck against Manchester City. And they meant it. “Of course we mean it. We’re United fans!” laughed PR man Adam Comstive.