- Van Gaal to take Ajax advisory role
- Last managed the Netherlands in December
- Dutch side in a state of disarray
WHAT HAPPENED? Van Gaal has been out of management since resigning as head coach of the Netherlands national team after the 2022 World Cup last December. Now, the Amsterdam outfit have announced the Dutchman, who declared himself cancer free and in remission after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2022, will advise the club's Supervisory Board on 'football technical matters'. Van Gaal, who managed Ajax between 1991-97 and led them to Champions League success in 1995, has replaced Jan van Halst, who decided not to return to the board after his term as interim CEO ended.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ajax may need all the help they can get right now as they are in something of a crisis. Their Eredivisie game against rivals Feyenoord was abandoned in the 56th minute just over a week ago after home supporters threw flares and fireworks onto the pitch, with their side 3-0 down at the Johan Cruyff Arena. Riot police and tear gas were deployed as trouble spilled outside of the stadium and several days later, Feyenoord heaped more misery onto Ajax as the postponed game ended up finishing 4-0. The Dutch giants sit 15th in the 18-team league, plus the chief of their supervisory board Pier Eringa resigned last week. That is why Van Gaal's arrival could be a smart move for the club, both in an optics sense and a business one.
WHAT THEY SAID?: He told Ajax's website: "I want to help Ajax. I currently spend a big part of my life in Portugal, and this can be well combined with my role as an external advisor. I am willing to offer my football knowledge to the Supervisory Board, especially when Leo van Wijk and Michael van Praag are appointed. We must find our sportive way back up to the top, and we all have to contribute to that."
IN TWO PHOTOS:(C)Getty ImagesGetty Images
WHAT NEXT? Ajax take on AEK Athens on Thursday in their second Europa League group stage clash, before hosting AZ Alkmaar in the league on Sunday.