The link didn't work but i tought maybee some of you want to read it, its a nice article :
In a sunny meadow, roughly halfway between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, located in the town of Zwammerdam to be precise, Willem van Hanegem and Sjaak Swart decide to meet. It was a poignant moment, an act of solidarity, only days before Ronald Koeman and Frank de Boer locked horns for the first time as coaches. Today, both are Dutch football's preeminent coaches, their clubs represent its future. And this weekend two of the most important clubs, separated by nearly 50 miles, clash in the game that stops a nation, 'more than a game' as some have commented. De Klassieker.
"A clash between two cities with extreme differences in attitude and culture," FIFA.com wrote in describing the game to a neutral audience. Ajax, steeped in success and renowned worldwide as the apostles of 'total football', contrasts with Feyenoord's reputation as a hardworking and closely-knit outfit, supporters of Ajax see their brand of football as a source of pride, which irritates their counterparts from Rotterdam, who view their team's legends as being Coen Moulijn, Van Hanegem and Paul Bosvelt - players who reflected the will-power and never-say-die attitude of the fans on the terraces. The Dutch for long been thought of as 'the Brazilians of Europe', to further the analogy, Rotterdam would then be São Paulo, the industrial heartbeat of Brazil, while Amsterdam is Rio de Janeiro, a cosmopolitan metropolis.
Van Hanegem and Swart are bona fide idols at their respective clubs – Swart even has the distinction of being called 'Mr. Ajax' – and veterans of Klassieker's of days gone by. If one word describes the relationship between the clubs it would be 'amicable'. There's a healthy rivalry not heated as the one that exists among their supporters. Rotterdammers feel that those hailing from Amsterdam possess delusions of grandeur, and there is a saying to reflect these sentiments: "While Amsterdam dreams, Rotterdam works". Both strive to be at the forefront on and off the pitch. Feyenoord's academy is award winning, voted the best for three straight years, yet Ajax's remains the most lauded abroad. The commitment to youth and developing their own players is the one underlying similarity both share. You can see it in their match-day squads. In the harsh economic reality Dutch clubs face they have no option and these are two of the best.
Amsterdam on Sunday, when both sides once again duel, will be bathed in a sea of red and white. The colours of the two clubs but in this instance solely Ajax's. Another reminder of today's Klassieker. A rise in hooliganism, not as bad as once before, led to the Dutch FA (KNVB) in February 2009 to bar opposition supporters from attending the showpiece match of Dutch football for five seasons. It was that or empty stadiums. Next season will be the last, but supporters want the ban to be prematurely lifted, that request is in the hands of the respective city mayors. It's unlikely to be granted.
A situation that brings sadness the atmosphere that once defined one of Europe's fiercest derbies is starting to become a distant memory. "I hope people will realise how unfortunate the current situation is," De Boer said. "In addition we [as clubs] continue to promote a rivalry that is laced with mutual respect. Unfortunately there's still too much friction among the supporters which makes it difficult in the short-term for away fans." De Telegraaf described both sides as "the standard-bearers of Dutch football" after their meeting earlier in the season. Feyenoord and Ajax are institutions. The archetypal Dutch game, and what it stands for, can trace its origins to either club notably the works of Wiel Coerver and Rinus Michels. Their successors notably Wim Jansen and Johan Cruyff still continue to carry the baton, the former instrumental in renovating Feyenoord's academy, the latter doing the same at Ajax. A combined effort, unintentionally, in the past forged what would come to be know as the 'Dutch school' (more 70/30 in favour of Ajax), all those years later and it looks like history is starting to repeat itself.
In a recent joint interview in De Telegraaf Jansen and Cruyff not only gave their seal of approval to Koeman and De Boer but were confident of them following in their footsteps, both agreed the future of Dutch football is now being shaped at the nations two most celebrated and important clubs, an example for every club. Notably presence of former players (like at Ajax) in key positions at coaching and administrative levels: Cruyff's vision in how a football club should be run, those who lived and breathed the game in collaboration with experts to run the business and financial side. "Last year, former players of Ajax and Feyenoord started to take charge," De Boer recently enthused. "It was really nice to see." Rivalry aside they share a common purpose, two differing ideologies, but with the same goal. Highlighted by Martin van Geel, sporting director at Feyenoord (previously at Ajax), "In terms of training, there are very few similarities," he argues. "We indeed have former players working with our youth. For that we are pleased, but consciously we employ many with educational and pedagogical qualities, without a great football background."
No one could have predicted when Koeman arrived in the summer of 2011 where Feyenoord would be now; giants they may be, the club on the river Meuse weren't expected to finish as league runners-up – given their recent plight – a feat never achieved since the 2000/01 campaign. De Boer has gone from strength to strength. If anyone thought Feyenoord's achievement would be a flash in the pan they were sadly mistaken. A squad heavily constructed from the playing fields of Varkenoord are now serious title contenders. The last few seasons the championship wasn't in the backdrop whenever Ajax and Feyenoord met, as once common, eighteen months after Koeman's arrival in Rotterdam it's like someone has turned the clocks back. Koeman and De Boer share many traits: former defenders par excellence as well as a similar outlook when it comes to football. De Boer is a fundamentalist. As far as he's concerned there's only one way of playing. Koeman slightly more flexible but would agree the football taught by Michels and subsequently spread by his disciples is the pinnacle. Ajax humbling the riches of Manchester City with a side containing seven youth graduates, days before their meeting, showcased everything good about the Dutch school.
Feyenoord though are not quite masters of circulation football like their eternal rivals but maintain steadfastness to proactive football, not surprising as Koeman like De Boer is a disciple of Cruyff, whom he played under first at Ajax then Barcelona. Last season Koeman and De Boer battled for the 'Rinus Michels award' presented to Dutch football’s most outstanding coach. It was expected to go to De Boer for winning the Eredivisie in his first full season, but such was Feyenoord's unexpected rise, it went to Koeman.
A tribute to friendship De Boer didn't begrudge his former Oranje teammate, instead saw Feyenoord’s resurgence as good for Dutch football, more teams involved in the title picture – especially one with such historical worth – better and more healthier the league becomes. It's proving to be the case, where certain championships are seemingly decided, top five in the Eredivisie are separated by five points. Ajax and Feyenoord are both level three points behind joint-leaders PSV and FC Twente. Koeman in turn only had good words for De Boer praising him for stabilising a club that all too often came close to turbulence in the past decade. He would know. Pleasantries aside they still retain the competitive streak that characterised their playing careers. Both want to be number one, the pressure from supporters and history – which can be relenting – ensures they will do everything in their power to attain it. De Boer for long lived under Koeman's shadow as a player, as a manager already equalled his two league championships, and going for a three-peat, a feat only achieved twice in their history by Michels and Louis van Gaal.
"For many, Ajax-Feyenoord is a battle between the elite and dockers," De Boer told Voetbal International. "It goes further than just football. In other countries you see rivalries between the wealthy and working class. In our case it might not be a good idea. I think Ajax is also a working class club, while we have the largest fanbase in the Netherlands, you can hardly call us elite." Koeman feels the game means more in Rotterdam. "I live in Rotterdam; the Klassieker is bigger here than in Amsterdam, in our last training session our supporters brought flares, the reverse is not common." However De Boer counters and by saying the desire to win this game in Amsterdam is unquestionable. "From my days as a youth player this game has been important, special events, it was hammered into us that we have to beat Feyenoord, because of the prestige." Some have even said in Amsterdam it's a 'matter of honour'.
In an age where clubs are starting to lose their identity both clubs are doing the utmost to preserve theirs with an unwavering commitment to youth football and development of talents central to their sporting policy. "Both clubs do what should be the case in the Netherlands: train and improve players, rather than spend millions," Koeman put forward. "Ajax, especially after the return of Cruyff, is doing what they once were famed for," alluding their title rivals in this case Twente and PSV could learn a thing or two. The aim set at start of every season is to promote from their academy. It's been no different this campaign. Feyenoord’s most recent graduate – off the never-ending Varkenoord production line – Jean-Paul Boëtius made his debut in the last Klassieker. Boëtius made further headlines by getting on the scoresheet, not since Harvey Esajas in 1993 had a player scored on his Klassieker debut.
It was a performance universally lauded none more so by his uncle, and former Ajax midfielder, Urby Emanuelson (who also made his professional debut under Koeman). "He made me really proud," he told De Telegraaf. "It was a pleasant surprise. My mother told me two years ago I had a nephew at Feyenoord. He played well and showed some real nice things." De Volkskrant were impressed with his fearlessness (a trait shared by many young Dutch footballers) and referred to his playing style as "uninhibited beauty". He was one of the shining lights in a pulsating end-to-end slugfest. Koeman added after a "fantastic debut" it would be "stupid to send him back to the reserves."
Boëtius since maintained a regular place in Feyenoord’s starting eleven often surrounded by six other products of the club including the mercurial 18-year-old attacking midfielder Tonny Trindade de Vilhena. Since the meeting Ajax introduced their own wunderkind in the guise of Danish wide-playmaker Viktor Fischer, like Boëtius making his biggest impact in one of Dutch football's grandest contests (against PSV) a performance that validated his tag as one of Europe’s most promising talents. Though the Dane might not be technically described as an Ajax youth product he still fits the requirements De Boer looks for.
The debate which club has the best training is one De Boer waded into. "That's hard to say," he told Voetbal International. "In recent years Feyenoord been named as having the best academy, but our talents go for higher amounts to bigger clubs, and in the last two seasons won the championship with largely home-grown players." The former Ajax youth team coach is determined De Toekomst to once again rule the roost. "Everybody has been copying the Ajax academy, so we want something new again, and in ten years time everybody will copy us," he told Algemeen Dagblad. "And we'll come up with something new once more. We want to be like high jumper [Dick] Fosbury. For years everybody jumped with their stomach over the bar. Out of nowhere, someone jumped backwards over the bar: Fosbury. Everybody said he was crazy, but two years later everybody used the same technique. That's the way things are going with Ajax now."
It's certain on Sunday a strong percentage of the twenty-two on the field would have been educated at one of the two academies. A "total of fourteen players" is Koeman's expectation. "I like that. It's really something to look forward to." It would also mean a game devoid of household names, but that doesn't make it less enticing, quite the opposite, the Klassieker has been known to create legends. It's not often Feyenood and Ajax supporters agree on a specific agenda but in the last year both have taken a hard-line stance with the direction football is heading often unfurling banners proclaiming "against modern football" at matches. The teams live within their means, in a modest league, with model academies the envy of Europe. Unfortunately it also equates competing at the highest level being a pipe dream for now. As they continue to evolve and start to rewrite the Dutch football blueprint, it's become all too apparent future success hinges on it, starting on Sunday.