Crisis-ridden football club Ajax have appointed John van ‘t Schip as interim coach until the end of the season following the departure of Maurice Steijn a week ago.
The 59-year-old arrives at the Amsterdam ArenA with the club in last place in the Eredivisie following a 5-2 defeat by league leaders PSV Eindhoven at the weekend.
“John is a full-blooded Ajax man who has plenty of experience both domestically and abroad, on the pitch and off,” said interim CEO Jan van Halst on the club’s website.
“For us he is the right person to give our performances a positive turn.”
Van ‘t Schip, who played as a winger for the club from 1981 to 1992 and won 41 international caps, has agreed to take up a role on the technical staff in July once his spell as head coach ends.
The Canadian-born Van ‘t Schip previously took charge of Australian club Melbourne City, PEC Zwolle and the Greek national team, but has not held a coaching position since the end of 2021.
He was a member of the Netherlands squad for the 1988 European Championships, but was dropped after the opening 1-0 defeat to the Soviet Union – the team the Dutch later beat in the final.
“The conversations I’ve had with everyone involved have made a good impression on me,” he said. “Ajax needs to pick up the pieces quickly on the field and I’m keen to be a part of it.”
Australian Michael Valkanis, who was manager of Hapoel Tel Aviv until yesterday, has been named as assistant coach, along with Hedwiges Maduro, who took charge of the team for Sunday’s match in Eindhoven.
Former Ajax striker Gerald Sibon told NOS: “Van ‘t Schip is a good coach who knows what he wants. He can be sympathetic but he is clear as well. He’s a trainer who’s immersed in football and a real disciple of Johan Cruyff.”
Van ‘t Schip can make an instant impact on Thursday by winning the bottom of the table clash with Volendam, which was rescheduled to allow Ajax to finish their home match against Feyenoord last month. The Feyenoord game was suspended because of crowd trouble.