Freefalling Ajax part company with Maurice Steijn

October 24 – Dutch record champions Ajax Amsterdam have parted ways with manager Maurice Steijn following a woeful start to the new season. Steijn acknowledged the decision was in everyone’s best interests. 

Last summer, the 49-year-old signed a three-year contract, but Ajax have only managed to win one of seven league matches since Steijn joined.

Last weekend, Ajax lost 4-3 away to FC Utrecht, leaving Ajax second from bottom of the Eredivisie with just five points. The proud Amsterdam club had never before lingered in the relegation zone and the improbable scenario prompted the club hierarchy to act.

“In recent months we have worked together very intensively and professionally, but the sporting results and the development of the team have lagged behind,” said interim director Jan van Halst in a statement.

“That’s why we sat around the table again today. Maurice himself now also admitted to having doubts as to whether he is still the right man in the right place. Together we subsequently drew the conclusion that it was better to break up.”

Steijn’s exit contributes to the malaise at Ajax. He had succeeded John Heitinga at the club after surprising as manager of Sparta with a sixth-place finish last season. Previously, Steijn had worked at ADO Den Haag, VVV-Venlo, Al-Wahda FC and NAC Breda.

“I had a meeting with the management and we met again at the end of the afternoon,” says Steijn. “We came to the conclusion that this is the best thing for Ajax, although I think it is a great shame.”

Dutch media report that John Van’t Schip is the frontrunner to take over until the end of the season. On Thursday, Ajax play Brighton and Hove Albion in the Europa League before facing PSV Eindhoven at the weekend.

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