Breed Ajax player John van ‘t Schip interim coach with a major assignment: lead Ajax out of relegation zone

John van ‘t Schip will take over at Ajax until the end of the season. The 59-year-old former Ajax player was presented by the club today. Van ‘t Schip faces a challenge that no coach of the club has ever had: leading Ajax out of the relegation zone. After the season, the trainer will start working in the club’s technical management.

After the departure of football director Sven Mislintat, head coach Maurice Steijn who had to leave the club and the worst start to the season ever, Ajax is in last place in the Eredivisie. That is somewhat of a distorted picture, since the Amsterdam team still has two games to catch up, but it is still one historic low for the club.

Van ‘t Schip hopes that he can be the link to ‘take the sporting way up’. “I am happy that it has been completed and I am very much looking forward to starting at the club where it all started for me.” According to Jan van Halst, who temporarily fulfills the role of general manager, Van ‘t Schip is ‘the best person to put a positive spin on performance’. “John is a born Ajax player who has gained a lot of experience at home and abroad, both on and off the field.”

Past at Ajax

Van ‘t Schip is no stranger to Ajax, something that the hard core of the club also asked for. He played a total of 347 times in the red and white of Ajax as a right winger and managed to score 33 times and provide an assist 35 times. During his time as a player, Van ‘t Schip also managed to fill the club’s trophy cabinet quite a bit. He won four national titles, three NFL cups, a Uefa Cup – the current Europa League – and the Uefa Cup II. He also became European champion with the Dutch national team in 1988.

As a trainer, Van ‘t Schip was also on the bench at Ajax. First as a youth coach of the Under 17 and Under 19 and then as an assistant at Jong Ajax under Marco van Basten. Van ‘t Schip was later an assistant at the latter under the first team of Ajax. After Van Basten’s dismissal, he was already at the helm as interim coach for one match. He then won against FC Twente.

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Coaching career

His career as a head coach is currently less glorious than during his time as a player. His first real job as head coach was at FC Twente. That was not a success. Twente barely avoided being relegated from the Premier League, but after one season the collaboration between the Tukkers and Van ‘t Schip stopped. Abroad, the former Ajax player worked as a trainer at Guadalajara in Mexico and at both Melbourne Heart and Melbourne City in Australia. At Melbourne City he won his only prize as a coach, the national cup.

After his foreign adventure, Van ‘t Schip returned to the Dutch fields in 2017. He became the trainer of PEC Zwolle. After an excellent first season with the Zwolle team, things went wrong again. He was fired in December 2018 after a 5-0 defeat against AZ. His last job was as national coach of Greece, from 2019 to 2021. He performed reasonably well with the Greeks. But when a possible contract extension took too long for his liking, he decided to leave.

New assistant

Van ‘t Schip also brings a new assistant with him, the Australian Michael Valkanis. He also signs until the end of the season. The pair previously worked together at Melbourne City, PEC Zwolle and the Greece national team. Before switching to Ajax, he was the trainer of Hapoel Tel Aviv. Hedwiges Maduro, who did the honors as head coach in the past two matches, will continue as an assistant. As of today, temporary assistant coach Dave Vos will resume his duties as head coach of Jong Ajax.

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