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Thread: Ajax

  1. #1

    Ajax

    It's a bit long winded but some really good articles have been written lately.


    http://whitehouseaddress.blogspot.co...rward.html?m=1

    Ajax return to the Cruyff ideals as Peter Bosz leads new generation

    https://www.theguardian.com/football...y_to_clipboard

  2. #2

    Re: Ajax

    Another one which has an interesting point to it: https://www.fourfourtwo.com/features...ing?page=0%2C1

    I really hope Ajax beat Man United in the final and qualify for the Champions League to give Dutch football a real boost. Man United don't need it at this time and don't deserve it either.

  3. #3

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by surge View Post
    Another one which has an interesting point to it: https://www.fourfourtwo.com/features...ing?page=0%2C1

    I really hope Ajax beat Man United in the final and qualify for the Champions League to give Dutch football a real boost. Man United don't need it at this time and don't deserve it either.
    It was a really good article but far more depressing than the other two.

  4. #4

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by thehumblegringo View Post
    It was a really good article but far more depressing than the other two.
    It is indeed more depressing. The nature of football currently is that Ajax may be creating a wonderful system but a West Ham, to give one example of many, should be able to copy the system and put 10x the financial might behind it. You just have to trust that the culture cannot be replicated even if the all the parts can be and the more innovative club stays on an even keel or even slightly ahead.

    Whenever I read these sorts of articles I try to compare it to what's going on with Wales and (more recently) Cardiff City. The first link you posted talks about teaching technicality over tactics at a younger age, building the best individuals on and off the field and needing coaches who understand how to coach in order to achieve that. I believe we are doing well in the second two factors but wonder how close we are to matching the Dutch, the Italians, the Spanish at achieving the skill level needed to be regularly successful (regularly qualifying for tournaments) or whether that is going to come much further down the line and only if we continue to get the best coaches at all levels?

    Another article which you might like (not so obviously related to the thread) is one about Italian coaches and shows that what we have been doing in Wales recently has been done in the more forward thinking countries for decades: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2...learned-to-win

  5. #5

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by surge View Post
    It is indeed more depressing. The nature of football currently is that Ajax may be creating a wonderful system but a West Ham, to give one example of many, should be able to copy the system and put 10x the financial might behind it. You just have to trust that the culture cannot be replicated even if the all the parts can be and the more innovative club stays on an even keel or even slightly ahead.

    Whenever I read these sorts of articles I try to compare it to what's going on with Wales and (more recently) Cardiff City. The first link you posted talks about teaching technicality over tactics at a younger age, building the best individuals on and off the field and needing coaches who understand how to coach in order to achieve that. I believe we are doing well in the second two factors but wonder how close we are to matching the Dutch, the Italians, the Spanish at achieving the skill level needed to be regularly successful (regularly qualifying for tournaments) or whether that is going to come much further down the line and only if we continue to get the best coaches at all levels?

    Another article which you might like (not so obviously related to the thread) is one about Italian coaches and shows that what we have been doing in Wales recently has been done in the more forward thinking countries for decades: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2...learned-to-win
    Some interesting points you raise mate. As you know if you read any of my posts, i follow the academy at all ages and it's interesting how well we do when we play foreign teams. Recently a group of 13/14s went to Holland and won a tournament with i think it was Feyenoord.

    Next week a group of youngsters are going out to play Villareal and Valencia whilst another group are off to play against Ajax.

    We always do really well when we do this but the problem comes as the kids get a bit older and inevitably in England (Wales) the emphasis is on quick fix.

    This lack of a pathway is where i believe the problem lies.
    Ajax create a pathway for their youth talent whereas we block it.

    I believe there is far more opportunity to follow the Ajax model as a championship team than it is for a premier league team where survival is the be all and end all.

    I'd be more than happy to see us try to mimic Fulham’s approach rather than the shit or bust approach of Derby, Sheffield Wednesday etc.

  6. #6

    Re: Ajax

    There are those who say that pre teens should not play any competitive football, the emphasis should be on building skills and awareness. I can understand that to a point, but this season there has been a competitive element brought into matches played by our Under nine to Under eleven sides and it seems they have excelled at it.

    http://www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk/news/...t-3716525.aspx

    This news supports my feeling that City's youth development record is good at most age groups, but tapers off as you reach Under 18 level as youngsters who were very impressive when compared to those at other clubs fail to succeed in the final, and most important, stage of their development - the transition into the physically demanding world of the senior game.

    Do the players we produce just not kick on when they really need to after a serene progression through the Under nine to Under sixteen levels, or is there a culture at the club that says most, if not all, of our teenagers are not good enough to play in the Championship, let's keep them in the Development team or loan them out for a year or two and then see what they look like.

    Certainly until this season, I would argue that there was a strong element of the latter at Cardiff (let's face it, we are by no means the only team at our level who think like that), but, increasingly, in these days where the haves get richer and the have nots are left to fend for themselves, the attitude whereby Championship clubs (particularly those who have never had parachute payments or are reaching the end of such hand outs) behave as if they are in the Premier League already and look to the transfer market all of the time when there is a vacancy in the first team squad has to be a potentially damaging thing to do?

    The selection of Mark Harris in the first team and, even moreso, the apparent intended inclusion of sixteen year old Sion Spence in the squad for the Huddersfield match offers the possibility that things are changing at City and not before time either - Ajax are one of the best examples around of a club where the best young players are given their chance of first team football about half a decade before they would be likely to get such an opportunity in the Premier League or at many Championship teams.

    If there is any justice, Ajax will beat Man United in the Europa League Final. On the one hand, you have an exciting and vibrant young side that just goes out with the aim of scoring more goals than the opposition and, on the other, you have a club that boasts support, resources and finances that their opponents could only dream of - a club that have appointed a "special" manager who only works at teams that give him the opportunity to spend tens of millions of pounds on a single player, a club that has spent more than any other in the world on a single player and yet his sides always play a cynical, defensive game where possession of the football is almost discouraged because that's how you make the mistakes that your opponent can profit from.

    Football needs more clubs like Ajax and, if they could end the season with a Europa Cup win, it would send out a signal that developing, and then actually playing, your own youngsters doesn't have to mean that you have given up on winning the game's biggest prizes.

    Obviously, City will probably never be able to replicate what Ajax have made a habit of doing down the years, but I would love it if we were able to establish ourselves as a club which has a reputation for developing youngsters and then turning them into good senior players. I'd say that, currently, our reputation is the complete opposite of that, but, as stories like the one in the link above shows, it looks like we are still able to attract kids whose abilities compare favourably with others of the same age at other clubs - the talent is definitely there in this area, we just need to get a lot better at turning boys into men in the final stages of the youth development procedure.
    Last edited by the other bob wilson; 16-05-17 at 06:54.

  7. #7

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by the other bob wilson View Post
    There are those who say that pre teens should not play any competitive football, the emphasis should be on building skills and awareness. I can understand that to a point, but this season there has been a competitive element brought into matches played by our Under nine to Under eleven sides and it seems they have excelled at it.

    http://www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk/news/...t-3716525.aspx

    This news supports my feeling that City's youth development record is good at most age groups, but tapers off as you reach Under 18 level as youngsters who were very impressive when compared to those at other clubs fail to succeed in the final, and most important, stage of their development - the transition into the physically demanding world of the senior game.

    Do the players we produce just not kick on when they really need to after a serene progression through the Under nine to Under sixteen levels, or is there a culture at the club that says most, if not all, of our teenagers are not good enough to play in the Championship, let's keep them in the Development team or loan them out for a year or two and then see what they look like.

    Certainly until this season, I would argue that there was a strong element of the latter at Cardiff (let's face it, we are by no means the only team at our level who think like that), but, increasingly, in these days where the haves get richer and the have nots are left to fend for themselves, the attitude whereby Championship clubs (particularly those who have never had parachute payments or are reaching the end of such hand outs) behave as if they are in the Premier League already and look to the transfer market all of the time when there is a vacancy in the first team squad has to be a potentially damaging thing to do?

    The selection of Mark Harris in the first team and, even moreso, the apparent intended inclusion of sixteen year old Sion Spence in the squad for the Huddersfield match offers the possibility that things are changing at City and not before time either - Ajax are one of the best examples around of a club where the best young players are given their chance of first team football about half a decade before they would be likely to get such an opportunity in the Premier League or at many Championship teams.

    If there is any justice, Ajax will beat Man United in the Europa League Final. On the one hand, you have an exciting and vibrant young side that just goes out with the aim of scoring more goals than the opposition and, on the other, you have a club that boasts support, resources and finances that their opponents could only dream of - a club that have appointed a "special" manager who only works at teams that give him the opportunity to spend tens of millions of pounds on a single player, a club that has spent more than any other in the world on a single player and yet his sides always play a cynical, defensive game where possession of the football is almost discouraged because that's how you make the mistakes that your opponent can profit from.

    Football needs more clubs like Ajax and, if they could end the season with a Europa Cup win, it would send out a signal that developing, and then actually playing, your own youngsters doesn't have to mean that you have given up on winning the game's biggest prizes.

    Obviously, City will probably never be able to replicate what Ajax have made a habit of doing down the years, but I would love it if we were able to establish ourselves as a club which has a reputation for developing youngsters and then turning them into good senior players. I'd say that, currently, our reputation is the complete opposite of that, but, as stories like the one in the link above shows, it looks like we are still able to attract kids whose abilities compare favourably with others of the same age at other clubs - the talent is definitely there in this area, we just need to get a lot better at turning boys into men in the final stages of the youth development procedure.
    Excellent post Bob and i wholeheartedly agree.

    There definitely more of an emphasis in shaping the character of the kids now right down to the youngest age groups.

    A lot of kids are given the opportunity to play with the older age groups and are tested and pushed mentally in an effort build kids with the growth mindset.

    The age groups won those competitions against both Reading and Swansea who are category 1 academies. For all the doom and gloom about Swansea setting up development centres in Cardiff and other City strongholds we still seem to have our finger on the pulse when it comes to player recruitment.

    The u11s who came second to Reading are a very strong age group and play some unbelievable stuff.

    Despite the continual witch-hunt against Bellamy on Annis forum and sometimes even on here, i believe he has raised the profile of our Academy and given it more of a "voice".

    We had very good results against Arsenal academy throughout the ages very recently and let's remember this is an Arsenal team that pay kids as young as 9!

    I do believe there is an abundance of talent in the academy, the job is creating a pathway and building characters strong enough to overcome that final hurdle.

    Like you, I'm hoping to see more of Spence knocking on the door at first team level next season.

    I've been reading Cruyff autobiography and their clarity of vision at Ajax is frightening compared to anything in England and Wales as far as i can see.

  8. #8

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by thehumblegringo View Post
    It's a bit long winded but some really good articles have been written lately.


    http://whitehouseaddress.blogspot.co...rward.html?m=1

    Ajax return to the Cruyff ideals as Peter Bosz leads new generation

    https://www.theguardian.com/football...y_to_clipboard
    Have you read any of the bloggers books? Really good to be fair. Highly unlikely​ to be adopted here with both EPPP and the number of thick ex-pros in charge of academies

  9. #9

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by the other bob wilson View Post
    There are those who say that pre teens should not play any competitive football, the emphasis should be on building skills and awareness. I can understand that to a point, but this season there has been a competitive element brought into matches played by our Under nine to Under eleven sides and it seems they have excelled at it.

    http://www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk/news/...t-3716525.aspx

    This news supports my feeling that City's youth development record is good at most age groups, but tapers off as you reach Under 18 level as youngsters who were very impressive when compared to those at other clubs fail to succeed in the final, and most important, stage of their development - the transition into the physically demanding world of the senior game.
    Generally agree with your post but not sure about this. There's nothing wrong with competitive football at a young age as it encourages motivation but concluding that teams who win these tournaments must have a very strong set of promising players is what leads to bafflement at the lack of progress when they're at the age to turn pro.

    If two U11 teams went into a tournament, one trying to win it and one trying to work towards very good 16 year olds, then I'd strongly fancy the former to progress further. But do you judge the two teams at this stage and say that the former team have a good record? If they're not doing what they actually need to do, which is produce good pros, then it's a smokescreen.

    Perhaps it's easy to say "but they were doing so well" because there are medals but the cracks are hidden underneath the wallpaper. I'm not saying this is certainly the case at City but I would say it's easy to look in the wrong place for the breakdown.

    My personal take is that it's easier to teach a 14 year old what to do in a game than it is to teach them excellent ball skills, so it's the ball skills that should be a priority at a younger age.

  10. #10

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by lardy View Post
    Generally agree with your post but not sure about this. There's nothing wrong with competitive football at a young age as it encourages motivation but concluding that teams who win these tournaments must have a very strong set of promising players is what leads to bafflement at the lack of progress when they're at the age to turn pro.

    If two U11 teams went into a tournament, one trying to win it and one trying to work towards very good 16 year olds, then I'd strongly fancy the former to progress further. But do you judge the two teams at this stage and say that the former team have a good record? If they're not doing what they actually need to do, which is produce good pros, then it's a smokescreen.

    Perhaps it's easy to say "but they were doing so well" because there are medals but the cracks are hidden underneath the wallpaper. I'm not saying this is certainly the case at City but I would say it's easy to look in the wrong place for the breakdown.

    My personal take is that it's easier to teach a 14 year old what to do in a game than it is to teach them excellent ball skills, so it's the ball skills that should be a priority at a younger age.
    Maybe I'm interpreting what Bob was saying wrong but in the article Lawrence Hallett seems to imply that there is room for competitive games alongside the learning process.

    I 100% concur with this as in my experience the winning mentality is often missing from academy football at the expense of "tekkers"

    What we don't want is the coaches adopting a win at all cost mentality but i don't think there's a problem in giving the kids an individual will to win.

    The emphasis in our Academy has changed 180 degrees in the past year, especially at the younger ages.

    A year ago the emphasis was completely on 1v1 domination whereas now the emphasis is on pass and move.

    I haven't got any idea which one is right and which one is wrong and i suppose time will tell. Maybe both are right depending on the individual?

  11. #11

    Re: Ajax

    There's a couple of points here. First, the system used before this season produced decent results for our younger age group teams and the odd eye catching result, but is it just coincidence that in the thirteen seasons I think it is now since we've had Academy status, it seems to me that our Under 18s have ended up somewhere between fourth and eighth in a ten team league and, a run to the Quarter Finals with the Ramsey, Gunter team of 2008 I believe it was apart, made an early exit from the Youth Cup?

    You only have read my pieces on the Under 18 team on my blog for a short while to come across me emphasising that it isn't all about results at this level, but when you get the same sort of mediocre/mid table results season after season and there are hardly any home grown players making it into the first team squad, you have to come to some sort of conclusion about how good or bad our Academy has been.

    The other thing was to reinforce what Gringo pointed out regarding the comments by Lawrence Hallett in the piece from City's website, in particular

    "Our mainland European counterparts engage in competitive leagues from the age of six, whereas UK academies start at 18. The EDLTS allows us to plug that gap and enable the introduction of competitive match mentality much earlier in the Academy pathway"

    I agree entirely that we don't want to see a win at all costs attitude at the expense of individual development, but it's obvious that the people charged with producing good young footballers who have a chance of making it into the first team at the club believe that some competitive football for our younger age group teams is something that is to be encouraged and I'm happy enough to go along with them, especially as results so far have been good.
    Last edited by the other bob wilson; 16-05-17 at 12:52.

  12. #12

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by the other bob wilson View Post
    There's a couple of points here. First, the system used before this season produced decent results for our younger age group teams and the odd eye catching result, but is it just coincidence that in the thirteen seasons I think it is now since we've had Academy status, it seems to me that our Under 18s have ended up somewhere between fourth and eighth in a ten team league and, a run to the Quarter Finals with the Ramsey, Gunter team of 2008 I believe it was apart, made an early exit from the Youth Cup?

    You only have read my pieces on the Under 18 team on my blog for a short while to come across me emphasising that it isn't all about results at this level, but when you get the same sort of mediocre/mid table results season after season and there are hardly any home grown players making it into the first team squad, you have to come to some sort of conclusion about how good or bad our Academy has been.

    The other thing was to reinforce what Gringo pointed out regarding the comments by Lawrence Hallett in the piece from City's website, in particular

    "Our mainland European counterparts engage in competitive leagues from the age of six, whereas UK academies start at 18. The EDLTS allows us to plug that gap and enable the introduction of competitive match mentality much earlier in the Academy pathway"

    I agree entirely that we don't want to see a win at all costs attitude at the expense of individual development, but it's obvious that the people charged with producing good young footballers who have a chance of making it into the first team at the club believe that some competitive football for our younger age group teams is something that is to be encouraged and I'm happy enough to go along with them, especially as results so far have been good.
    I broadly agree but differ on the conclusion.

    I don't think that results matter at all or give any indication. Coming top rather than midtable might show that the team is getting stronger, but this is about developing, realistically, one player from an age group and not a team. And even then, getting a regular one from each age group good enough for the first team squad is a ridiculously successful strikerate. How well they all perform as a team doesn't have a bearing on that one stand-out player.

    You might say that a strong team has more of a chance of having a stand-out player in. Maybe it's true and I'd like to see what the evidence says. Given that a major attribute for making it is ambition/drive/workrate, it may be hard to see this at a young age.

  13. #13

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by lardy View Post
    I broadly agree but differ on the conclusion.

    I don't think that results matter at all or give any indication. Coming top rather than midtable might show that the team is getting stronger, but this is about developing, realistically, one player from an age group and not a team. And even then, getting a regular one from each age group good enough for the first team squad is a ridiculously successful strikerate. How well they all perform as a team doesn't have a bearing on that one stand-out player.

    You might say that a strong team has more of a chance of having a stand-out player in. Maybe it's true and I'd like to see what the evidence says. Given that a major attribute for making it is ambition/drive/workrate, it may be hard to see this at a young age.

    I agree with you that results at u9 u10 or even u15 mean nothing at all and give no insight into how many players may make the grade in the futute but ambition/drive/workrate are what the coaches are trying to instill at a younger age to give the kids a mindset for success.

    Like i said earlier, these young kids are continually being pushed where you often see kids playing 1, 2 and even 3 years up in order to challenge the kids progress.

    I think a strong team is far more likely to produce a strong player cos i have seen how this internal competition is pushing the players on collectively and individually.

    I know that the aim of the academy staff is to present the kids with challenges in order to put demands on the kids mentally to kind of condition them so they can cope with the mental rigours of their development.

    It's a tough world and having witnessed it fairly closely i have nothing but respect for any footballer who makes it all the way to the professional game.

  14. #14

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by thehumblegringo View Post
    It's a tough world and having witnessed it fairly closely i have nothing but respect for any footballer who makes it all the way to the professional game.
    The only time players annoy me is when they clearly don't try to live up to their potential, with someone like Antonio Cassano as a classic example.

    Having said all that, it is a dog eat dog world and I don't really blame him if he feels he can't be bothered to show loyalty and effort for a club that barely cares about him. He wasn't half bad trying, in his own words, at 30-40%, although he did try about 65% at Real Madrid because they deserve some effort...

  15. #15

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro de la Rosa View Post
    The only time players annoy me is when they clearly don't try to live up to their potential, with someone like Antonio Cassano as a classic example.

    Having said all that, it is a dog eat dog world and I don't really blame him if he feels he can't be bothered to show loyalty and effort for a club that barely cares about him. He wasn't half bad trying, in his own words, at 30-40%, although he did try about 65% at Real Madrid because they deserve some effort...
    I know what you mean but part of me loves eccentric characters like Cassano. Did you see Di Baggio recent comment about youngsters who are on instagram in the changing rooms? He said he wants to knock their teeth out with a baseball bat!

  16. #16

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by thehumblegringo View Post
    I agree with you that results at u9 u10 or even u15 mean nothing at all and give no insight into how many players may make the grade in the futute but ambition/drive/workrate are what the coaches are trying to instill at a younger age to give the kids a mindset for success.

    Like i said earlier, these young kids are continually being pushed where you often see kids playing 1, 2 and even 3 years up in order to challenge the kids progress.

    I think a strong team is far more likely to produce a strong player cos i have seen how this internal competition is pushing the players on collectively and individually.

    I know that the aim of the academy staff is to present the kids with challenges in order to put demands on the kids mentally to kind of condition them so they can cope with the mental rigours of their development.


    It's a tough world and having witnessed it fairly closely i have nothing but respect for any footballer who makes it all the way to the professional game.
    Interesting, particularly this bit. I was thinking about how personalities change with puberty, but I guess that there is still conditioning that can be done.

    It's an unpopular view, but I think that footballers are broadly worth what they earn as to make it as a pro they have to be the absolute creme in a highly competitive and lucrative industry.

  17. #17

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by lardy View Post
    Interesting, particularly this bit. I was thinking about how personalities change with puberty, but I guess that there is still conditioning that can be done.

    It's an unpopular view, but I think that footballers are broadly worth what they earn as to make it as a pro they have to be the absolute creme in a highly competitive and lucrative industry.
    I agree. To make the grade kids are now required to train 3 times a week from the age of 5 or 6. Is there a profession in the world that requires such dedication and is so competitive.

    It's great to see more and more articles covering the work of the academy and the thinking behind their approach.

    Here is another one

    http://mobile.cardiffcityfc.co.uk//n...e-3717521.aspx

  18. #18

    Re: Ajax

    Quote Originally Posted by thehumblegringo View Post
    I know what you mean but part of me loves eccentric characters like Cassano. Did you see Di Baggio recent comment about youngsters who are on instagram in the changing rooms? He said he wants to knock their teeth out with a baseball bat!
    I did and I absolutely love Cassano, he is infuriating but he's there to have fun, which is nice in the game today! Everyone takes it far too seriously. Also, if he was that good when he didn't try, I'd love to see him actually put a shift in!

    Loved that comment, he's got some great tattoos too, like this hazard warning from his tackles: http://imgur.com/gallery/nxgEpmC

  19. #19

    Re: Ajax

    I don't know if competitive football is the answer but one of the features on Icelandic football over the summer noted that the generation before trained infrequently in rough conditions whereas the generation of tomorrow train well in the indoor facilities and the type of player coming through is changing, more technically able but not able to grow a beard like Aaron. I think you need young players to have both the technical development but also something (perhaps competitive football) which gives them the toughness to survive in adult football.

  20. #20

    Re: Ajax

    My Mam always bought Vim not Ajax.

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