Ajax 5 FC Twente 3 1980
It is the end of November 1980 and Ajax have just escaped from defeat in Maastricht when current national coach Bert van Marwijk scored an own goal for MVV to make it 1-1. The former European Cup winners had an inconsistant start of the season after the departure of Ruud Krol and Simon Tahamata in the summer. The combination of the Danish midfield dynamo’s Søren Lerby and Frank Arnesen with the upcoming internationals Frank Rijkaard and Willem Kieft looks promising, but coach Leo Beenhakker is in dire need of experience. Already eleven points behind runaway leaders AZ ’67, kicked out of Europe by Bayern München and with a goal tally of 35-27, Beenhakker is called in the boardroom by chairman Ton Harmsen. “Leo, we have contracted Wim Jansen, back from the States. And for technical advice, you can call on Johan Cruyff.”
The advice comes sooner than Beenhakker expects. In the next home game FC Twente surprise Ajax with an early 1-3 lead. With half an hour on the clock the visitors are still a goal up, when Cruyff comes walking throught the player’s tunnel with his hands in his pockets. The porter hurries to open the perimeter gate to let him in, although Cruyff carries no coaching licence. The referee can send him away, but does not. There is a spare seat on the bench next to the startled Leo Beenhakker, who, in hindsight, says he should have kick Cruyff in the butt and send him back to where he came from. But there is hardly time for the coach to react as his new advisor immediately starts directing. Wildly gesticulating, he puts several players on different positions. (One wonders what would have happened if there had been no space in the dug-out for Cruyff to sit.)
Ten minutes later Edo Ophof scores the equalizer. Another winger, Martin Wiggemansen, comes on to replace midfielder Piet Hamburg. De Meer is heaving now. With five minutes to go the excentric Tcheu La-Ling puts Ajax in front, when reserve goalkeeper Eddie Pasveer fumbles a clearance in his direction. This story would have been largely forgotten, had the referee given the visitors a deserved penalty for 4-4, but it is not, because Ajax score a fifth goal from the ensuiing attack.
A few months later Cruyff joins Levante, while Beenhakker steers Ajax to second place in the end, miles behind AZ’67.
This may seem familiar to the readers of Champions magazine as it was part of the article in issue 48.