How Eredivisie champions melted down their trophy to share it with followers


Normally, when Ajax win the Eredivisie title, they might parade the trophy in Amsterdam’s Museumplein for hundreds of followers, adorned in crimson and white, to hail their heroes for turning into Dutch league champions as soon as once more.

However with the COVID-19 pandemic locking the Ajacied out of the Johan Cruyff Area and a ban on mass gatherings stopping public celebrations for the membership’s thirty fifth title, Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar questioned: “Why cannot we share this trophy with the supporters?”

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Ajax have discovered a singular option to do precisely that after successful the 2020-21 title, to reward their fanatical followers in a singular means: by giving them a chunk of the particular trophy. Or, as they’re calling it, “a chunk of Ajax.”

Every year the winner of the Eredivisie is given a bespoke defend made by De Tingieterij, an organization based mostly in Alphen aan de Maas, 90 kilometres (56 miles) from the Dutch capital. The earlier trophies are within the membership’s museum, however this season Ajax requested the Dutch FA (KNVB) for 2 variations of the trophy — the unique one, and a duplicate model.

De Tingieterij have made the Eredivisie trophy since 1985, and crafted the 2020-21 defend for Ajax. However then the membership despatched it again, asking the maker to as an alternative use it to create a memento for his or her followers. The defend, which weighs in at 2.575 kilograms (5½ lbs.), was melted down by and changed into 42,390 particular person stars — one for each particular person with an Ajax season ticket.

The method of crafting the celebrities began with the defend being melted down, after which including tin. The combination was put by casting machines after which into star-shaped moulds. The celebrities have been then polished up, with every one weighing 3.45 grams (0.12oz), containing 0.06g (0.002oz) of the unique trophy.

“This season, we’ve largely needed to play with out our followers. Properly, with out them sitting within the stands, not less than,” Van der Sar, who gained 4 Eredivisie titles and the Champions League because the membership’s goalkeeper within the Nineteen Nineties, stated. “Regardless of this, we’ve felt their assist each week. On the way in which to the stadium, on social media and in our private contacts.

“Beforehand, once we stated ‘this title is for you,’ we have been expressing how we have been doing it for the followers. Nonetheless, sharing the trophy is the last word proof that we actually are. After a turbulent yr, we’re guaranteeing our followers really feel a part of our championship.”

The membership produced a video detailing the story behind the celebrities with gamers Ryan Gravenberch, Dusan Tadic and Lisandro Martinez — full with blowtorch — and director of soccer Marc Overmars taking the defend to the furnace to get it melted down, with the accompanying message: “Amsterdam, the town the place the whole lot is feasible.”

Most of the membership’s followers have already acquired their star, which has been despatched to every of them with a message on behalf of everybody on the membership:

“For the thirty fifth time in our historical past we grew to become champions of the Netherlands. The defend is ours. And above all we’d have celebrated like you might be used to, along with our followers on a full sq. within the lovely Amsterdam. However that’s not doable. We should miss one another like we’ve achieved nearly all season.

“Nonetheless this hasn’t withheld you from being there for us. To indicate dedication, even from a distance. One thing we’re extraordinarily grateful for. This trophy is as a lot yours as it’s from the membership. Even stronger, this one for you all. Subsequently we’ve determined to provide each season ticket holder a chunk of historical past as a present.

“Everybody will get a singular a part of the defend and this one is for you. You’re a part of our victories. You’re the membership. XXXV is yours.”

Ajax performed 30 of their 34 Eredivisie matches in entrance of empty stands. Additionally they gained the KNVB Cup this season, finishing a home double. The staff reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League, and have lately awarded supervisor Erik Ten Hag a brand new deal, taking him by to 2023, amid reported curiosity from Tottenham Hotspur. However he was delighted by the membership’s determination to award the trophy to the followers.

“It exhibits we have missed the followers and the followers missed us,” Ten Hag informed ESPN. “We need to be related with them.

“It’s a superb gesture that we did it collectively. Ajax is the gamers, the employees, all workers however most definitely additionally the followers. And I believe we present it in a really trendy means.”



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