Ajax name former player as interim head coach

Ajax name former player as interim manager for the remainder of the season… days after Rafael van der Vaart blamed ‘so many s*** players’ for Maurice Steijn’s sacking

  • Maurice Steijn was sacked just seven games into a three-year contract
  • Ajax sit bottom of the Dutch top flight after a terrible start to the campaign  
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s football podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Struggling Ajax have named one of their former players as interim manager for the rest of what has so far been a calamitous season.

The Dutch giants sacked boss Maurice Steijn after a shocking start which has left them bottom of the Eredivisie table.

And the club released a statement on Monday that former winger John van’t Schip will take over on a temporary basis ‘before stepping into a function in technical management’ in July.

The appointment came one day after Ajax lost 5-2 to league-leading PSV and one week after Steijn was fired just seven league games into a three-year contract.

Ajax’s only league win was on the opening day in August and fan disorder forced a home game against defending champion Feyenoord to be stopped and completed three days later as a 4-0 loss. The club also sit bottom of their Europa League group without a win in three games.

John van’t Schip (2nd row, fourth from left) has taken charge of Ajax on a temporary basis

The Dutch giants sacked boss Maurice Steijn following the team’s shocking start to the season

Van’t Schip’s previous coaching job was with the Greece national team two years ago. His assistant then, Michael Valkanis, rejoins him for the rest of the season after leaving Hapoel Tel Aviv, Ajax said.

Van’t Schip played in midfield for Ajax for more than a decade and was in the Netherlands squad that won the 1988 European Championship.

He was an assistant coach to his long-time former teammate Marco van Basten with both the national team and Ajax from 2004 to 2009.

Van’t Schip (right) leaves the Johan Cruyff Arena on Monday following his appointment 

‘John is a real Ajax man,’ chief executive Jan van Halst said in a statement, adding ‘for the long term we see a different technical role for him.’

The news comes days after another former Ajax player slammed the current crop.

Speaking about the news of Steijn’s dismissal, Rafael van der Vaart said: ‘I feel for Maurice Steijn. He has so many s*** players.’

‘I don’t rate Ajax higher than Excelsior or FC Volendam,’ he continued. ‘I’m being serious. 12 players have been signed who all turned out to be useless.’

Former Spurs star Rafael van der Vaart has blamed ‘so many s*** players’ for Steijn’s sacking


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