Football is big business but do football and business make a good team? If you look at the problems at Ajax of Amsterdam the answer must be no.
A report on Ajax yesterday said there were serious management failings at the club and that the best thing the Amsterdam club could do would be to take itself off the stock market.
Since its bourse launch in 1998, its share price has performed as badly as the team, losing much of its value. Ajax was one of the best in Europe in the mid-1990s, winning the Champions League in 2005.
Since then its performance in Europe has steadily declined and the team has not done much better at home, winning the premier league for the last time in 2004. Fans are asking why the club with the biggest budget and the best youth programme in Holland continually underachieves.
Bad decisions on the transfer market and misguided investments in talent schemes abroad are partly to blame. But Ajax’s budget is just a fraction of that of top European teams such as Manchester Utd and AC Milan. The Dutch domestic competition is also not a patch on England or Italy’s.
So are fans expecting too much? Probably not. What they miss is feeling and passion for football among the directors. Focusing on football instead of the stock market might be the answer.
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