‘The Cruyff Philosophy’ (Part One 15/16) #FM16


I have had so many comments and request’s for my Ajax tactic over the last few day’s via social media that I have decided to dedicate an whole post on it. I am working on that post and still testing the tactic, what I will say at this point is that it is not a plug and play tactic but part of a system / philosophy that requires many other factors that include: Specific Team and Individual Training that requires time and patience each game week / month tailored to create the system that I call ‘The Cruyff Philosophy’. I have already spent endless hours watching,tweaking and understanding the system. I have regular conversation with my fellow philosopher @Rovazzz who is the American Guardiola about players and material online which gives us the opportunity to grow tactically. So I will post about the tactic when I am confident that I understand it and have got it playing how I want it too. I may even get a couple of people to test the system with other teams before posting it………..

The Formation 3-3-3-1 / 3-6-1  and the Sweeper variation and a 4-5-1 

Ajax 3-3-3-1 v1 Ajax 3-3-3-1 Sweeper ajax 451

Pre Season 2015-2016 


So first things first I was appointed manager of this famous club with a rich history on the day that Johan Cruyff passed away. One headline that I have seen from the many posted on that day was ‘Heaven Has A New Playmaker’ This save is dedicated to the man himself and ‘The Cruyff Philosophy’ which as served and shaped both Ajax and Barcelona so very well.

First day for me at the Amsterdam club was to take a look around at the squads and management team at the club. There is bags of potential already at the club in both the youth and B team squads that we will be using to feed the 1st team for years to come. The first team is also full of potential, the club is in a very good position. The management team is also in good shape and my first job was to offer contracts that will keep the staff together for the coming years. I have also added Head Of Youth Development Coach and fellow English man Phil Cannon to the team.


Head of Youth Development

head of youth

First Team Staff



B Team Staff

b team coach

Youth Team Staff

youth coach

Scouting Team 


First Team Squad


I am more than happy with the first team squad and have added Brazilian Rodrigo Caio to the ranks from Sao Paulo, he can play at the back as a Sweeper / Libero or Centre Back or in Midfield. He is the type of player I am looking for to fit in to our system. 

rodrigo caio




1st team

I am looking at keeping the 1st team squad at 21 players and promoting at least 2 players in to the squad each season. I have promoted Abdelhak Nouri to the first team.

Abdelhak Nouri

B Team Jong Ajax Squad


b team

Youth Team Squad

under 19

2015-08-09 AZ-Ajax 0-3 Alkmaar

Players Out On Loan


The Clubs Rich History

Founded on March 18, 1900 AFC Ajax is one of the largest and most storied clubs in European football. After their founding and acceptance into Dutch Football Ajax spent ten seasons in the country’s second division before earning promotion for the 1911 season. The move to the first division did not last long though as just three seasons later the club was relegated for the first and only time in its illustrious history.

The fate of the club quickly changed with the arrival of trainer Jack Reynolds who would spend 35 years at the helm of the team. Under the leadership of this legendary coach Ajax won their first National Championship in 1918. From that point on Ajax could always be found at or near the top of the Dutch table. It was also Reynolds and his revolutionary training methods that built the foundation for what has now become the world famous Ajax Youth Training Program. 

The historic win of 1918 was the first of what currently stands at an astonishing 29 league titles for the Amsterdam club. Five of those magical wins came in the decade of the 1930’s when the dominance of the red and white was at one its highest points ever. The 1930’s were also a special decade for the club as in 1934 they moved into what would become known as “De Meer.” Their new stadium where which legends would be born. It was there that Ajax would call home fore over 60 years and be the place that the club would come to dominate Dutch football and grow into a power across Europe. 

Ajax’ first taste of European competition came in 1961 when the club became the first from the Netherlands to participate in the European Cup Winners Cup. Success on the European front loomed in the future as the club found a place in the 1969 Cup final before bringing home their first title in 1971. Starting with the magical victory in 1971 Ajax went on to win three consecutive European Champions Cups. In 1972, led by the world famous Johan Cruijff had one of the best seasons ever by a professional football team winning the National Championship, the Dutch Cup, the European Champions Cup and the World Cup.

“De Meer” was also the place where Ajax would develop it’s world famous youth training program and develop some of the worlds best football players, a philosophy that is even more important to their success today.

The success of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s although impossible to duplicate was followed up by 25 more years of success for the club that included 11 National Championships in the final quarter of the century. The success was highlighted by another exciting venture in Europe as Ajax again became European and world champions in 1995.

Ajax definitively bids farewell to De Meer stadium one year after winning Champions League. The club moves to the much larger Amsterdam ArenA. The stadium is Ajax’s home base from that moment. The move is difficult for many Ajax fans and members, especially considering how many successes were celebrated in the old, trusted Ajax stadium over the previous 62 years. For coaches, players, and fans alike, De Meer had become a home away from home through the years. As Ajax experiences successes in the ArenA, an Ajax feeling steadily grows in the stadium. 

In addition to the stadium, Ajax’s world famous youth academy also got a new home. The academy moved from Voorland to de Toekomst. The complex is a stone’s throw away from the Amsterdam ArenA. The Ajax players of the future are hard at work there. Wesley Sneijder, Urby Emanuelson, Rafael van der Vaart, Maarten Stekelenburg and Gregory van der Wiel are among the many players who were trained at de Toekomst. Since the arrival of coach Martin Jol, the first team also practices at the modern sports facility, which has an inspiring view of the ArenA.

With Jol coaching, Ajax experiences a good 2009-2010 year. Unfortunately, they miss the title by one point, but Ajax’s results are good. After 17 home games, the team only has 4 goals against (!). Ajax breaks not only the club record, but the Eredivisie record. In total, 106 goals are scored. The top scorer of Ajax and the Eredivisie is Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan player scores 35 times in 34 Eredivisie matches. The cherry on the cake is the KNVB Cup win, after a double header against Feyenoord. For the eighteenth time in history, Ajax wins the ‘silver pine cone’. 

The outstanding performances were promising for the 2010-2011 season. But on December 6 2010, after a series of disappointing results, Martin Jol and Ajax announce the end of their partnership. Frank de Boer takes over, and under his leadership, Ajax de-thrones FC Twente as national champion in the final match of the season. Ajax wins the title for the thirtieth time. Under de Boer Ajax have gone on to win 3 more titles taking the total to 33.


The Boards Expectations


Pre Season Friendlies / Champions League Qualifier


pre season results

We had a good pre season mixing all 3 squads to get game time and work our tactics out, we also had to play our Champions League Qualifier’s


Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg

Home Young Boys Won 1-0

We controlled the game from start to finish but it took a 72nd minute goal from Milik for us to take a slender lead to Switzerland for the 2ns leg. I was pleased with our performance on the night we looked a solid unit and kept that all important away goal out.

young boys

Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg

Away Young Boys Won 3-0

A Pleasing away performance wrapped up for us by the in form Polish forward Arik Milik who netted a brace, one in each half with Zivkovic also scoring and setting up a 4th qualifying round tie up against Sparta Prague.

young boys 21945329214_1999999626_Milik_220X240

Champions League Best Placed Playoff 1st Leg

Home Sparta Prague Won 3-0

A resounding 3-0 win and a performance of entertaining football that Cruyff would have been proud of Nouri, Veltman and Milik got the goals but Daley Sinkgraven stole the show with stunning performance and a 95% pass completion rate. Another clean sheet and a huge step in qualifying for the group stage.

sparta prague 1 1945240395_1999999626_Sinkgraven_220X240

Champions League Best Placed Playoff 2nd Leg

Wow….what should have been a formality ended up being a nervous occasion until the hour mark when Boilesen scored a crucial away goal to ease the nerves. It was my fault for our poor first half showing which had seen Sparta go in 2-0 up at the break and bring the tie back to 2-3 on aggregate. I had tinkered with our system and nearly paid the price until I changed it back at half time. Sparta were rampant in the first 45 and could have gone in 3 up but for a superb save from Cillessen. We settled in the 2nd half and never looked in danger Bazoer getting our second to earn a 2-2 draw and put us in the hat for the group stage draw. Lesson learnt by myself not to tinker on matchday……

sparta 2 1938979910_1999999626_Bazoer_220X240

Champions League Group Stage Draw

We have been handed a tough group, we have drawn Real Madrid, Benfica and Wolfsburg. We will have to be on top form to progress in to the knockout rounds. Some big European night ahead then which I am looking forward to testing the system out on these European giants.


So thats our pre season wrapped up its time to get on with the season ahead, I hope you will enjoy following our fortunes as we try to entertain along the way with ‘The Cruyff Philosophy’

A shout out for @Rovazzz who as just done the double (Bundesliga and Champions League) with Bayern Munich in his first season, well done Bro and keep up the good work with the Juego de Posicion philosophy. until next time goodbye.






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