We have to talk about AFC Ajax and their historic youth program, the Dutch squad has the single greatest academy in football history.
What AFC Ajax has been doing for decades shouldn’t surprise anybody at this point in history, they have the best youth academy that ever was.
This Dutch football institution has been the place where footballing talent has been brewed for many decades since an idea was planted by an Englishman of al people.
His name was Jack Reynolds and he is the man credited with teaching everything about the game to the Ajax school of football.
People tend to mistakenly believe that ‘Total Football’ is purely a Dutch invention that came from the mind of legendary Rinus Michels.
However, Reynolds if the unsung hero of this story that goes back all the way to 1915 when Jack decided to hang up his boots.
The man born in Manchester didn’t have much of a career as a player but he never imagined how important he would be for modern football.
Reynolds coached Ajax in three different spells that helped cement the ‘Total Football’ idea in the Dutch squad for eternity.
Ajax Daily explains how Reynolds has the same meaning as a figure for Ajax that Johan Cruyff is for Barcelona.
In this story, a young Rinus Michels played the role that Guardiola played in the Catalan club decades after Reynolds taught his methods.
Ajax’s first Golden Generation
The Ajax’s school of thought always followed Reynold’s philosophy of relying almost exclusively on honing players from the youth academy.
This is how the Dutch squad’s first golden generation was born under young manager Rinus Michels.
The legendary coach was the pioneer that brought Ajax’s first big generation of players with Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens at the helm.
This breed of players won three consecutive European Cups between 1971 and 1973, culminating in the World Cup finals from 1974 and 1978.
Cruyff went on to become one of the greatest players of all time during that period, he won three Ballon d’Or trophies during his career.
A decade later we saw another outstanding generation of players led by the likes of Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard.
The striker also went on to win three Ballon d’Or trophies during his career and had an incredible spell in Italian football playing for AC Milan.
Moving on to the ’90s decade, we have another great generation of players coached by Louis van Gaal.
This group was led by the likes of Patrick Kluivert, Clarence Seedorf, the De Boer brothers, Marc Overmars, Edwin van der Sar, Michael Reiziger, and Edgar Davids among others.
These players won the 1995 Champions League final and played another one on the next season.
AFC Ajax’s new blood
The current generation of Ajax players speaks for itself in regards to talent and accomplishments.
These lads already reached the Europa League finals two years ago with both Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt featuring in the 2-0 defeat against Manchester United.
You can search in all other football youth academies in history and we guarantee that you won’t find another one like Ajax.
There simply is no other club in football history that has produced so many world-class players in their history, we dare you to find one and let us know.
The downside of having this new generation of Ajax players in modern football is that they won’t last long together.
All the biggest clubs in the world are already fighting to sign their best prospects for their new projects.
FC Barcelona already has Frenkie de Jong in their ranks and they are close to landing De Ligt during the summer.
Justin Kluivert just left to play for AS Roma last summer and any other academy product that appears will leave the club soon enough.
Hopefully, the current Ajax squad gets to play the Champions League final, it would be a suitable gift to the impressive academic history they have in world football.
Which other youth academy matches AFC Ajax in football history? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.