Before May 31, 1972 Ajax were familiar names at best. After May 31 they were superstars – the whole team minus one: the goalkeeper Heinz Stuy. This was also the team which became the archetypal ‘Grand Ajax’, oddly attached to the name of Rinus Michels, who was no longer in the club. The mythical Ajax also has Johhny Rep instead of Swart – Rep was already in the team in 1972, but he made his name in 1972. Myths mix things… yet, this is one of the most beloved team of all time, fondly remembered, if not outright nostalgically, by fans of very different nations. It is my all-time favourite too, and like most Ajax maniacs I can recite the line-up not only by names, but also by the numbers they used. The latter is a folly: Ajax did not mind changing their numbers, as they did a year later, but somehow nobody remembers that. A legend does not change, however incorrect.
Ajax 1971-72. The photo is from the beginning of the campaign – the summer of 1971, so still only one European Champions Cup. Ruud Sourendonk is on the picture, but he was sold to Monaco soon after the photographer took the snapshot. The rest won their second trophy.