Ajax have received the sad news that Sjakie Wolfs passed away on Friday. The legendary and beloved former equipment manager died at age 75.
Wolfs was Ajax's equipment manager for many years but he was more than that. ,,Sjaak was great guy and a real and very fanatical Ajax man'', says Marco van Basten. ,,He told us, the young player in the team, about the seventies. About how things went in the club back then. He was more than an equipment manager in that sense. He really taught us something about being sharp and playing with your heart. Sjaak was a real Ajax man and a real Amsterdammer, someone who did everything for the club. I have only good memories of Sjakie.''
,,Sjaak was the link between the players and the coaches”, says John van ’t Schip. ,,He could get everybody sharp, but did it with Amsterdam humor. He was very important to the team and always tried to educate the young guys.”
Rob Witschge also has fond memories about Wolfs, who was born 9 December 1932. ,,He was a real part of the team. He was always making jokes, but at the same time he was a perfectionist as an equipment manager. The boot were always in top shape, the balls were always pumped up perfectly. One time we were on the beach and a ball blew away. He had to get it back and chased it for so long that he disappeared out of sight.”
He became a club icon and was very popular with the supporters. That was not strange, remembers Witschge. ,,Everyone knew that he was a real Ajax man and that he would do anything for the club.” Wolfs retired from Ajax in August of 2003. He had spent 30 years with the club.
Chairman Uri Coronel got to know Wolfs well. ,,Sjaak was a unique personality. I have never seen an equipment manager who was so popular as Sjakie was. Often the cheers for him were bigger than for the players. That's because everybody felt that Sjakie's role went much further than taking care of the kits or pumping up balls. He was an intergral part of the team. And as such he was appreciated and admired by all, including the club's board.''
Ajax will observe a minute of silence before Sunday's match against PSV. Ajax will also wear mourning bands.