Ajax, one of the prominent Dutch football clubs, announced on Monday that they have mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Maurice Steijn. This decision comes in the aftermath of a tumultuous start to the season, with Ajax currently sitting second from bottom in the league standings. According to reports, Steijn expressed his desire to continue as head coach but only under the condition that Hedwiges Maduro and Steven Berghuis were removed from the club.
The club management, however, did not entertain Steijn's demands, leading to the termination of his contract. Maduro, a former player and now the caretaker manager, reportedly lost Steijn's trust after expressing dissatisfaction with the coach's management to technical manager Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Steijn further suspected that Maduro had been leaking stories to former employers ESPN.
Additionally, the 31-year-old forward Berghuis was identified by Steijn as a disruptive element within the team. Steijn believed that swift action needed to be taken to remove Berghuis from the squad. Ajax's recent performance has been dismal, with their fourth defeat of the season against Utrecht further exacerbating the toxic atmosphere surrounding the club.
During the match against Utrecht, fan behavior turned disruptive, leading to play being suspended. After the final whistle, angry supporters threw a cup onto the pitch, leaving players attempting to calm the situation with limited success. This incident highlights the growing frustrations among the fans, with Ajax enduring eight winless games across all competitions.
Earlier in September, Ajax suffered an embarrassing defeat against Feyenoord, prompting fans to throw flares onto the pitch in an attempt to force the game to be abandoned. The unrest escalated as the supporters vandalized their own stadium, leading to the dismissal of sporting director Sven Mislintat. However, the team's form has failed to improve, with three subsequent games ending without a victory.
Ajax's struggles have not been limited to domestic competitions, as they also drew their first two matches in the Europa League. The club is currently facing a significant challenge both on and off the pitch, with the toxic environment and lack of cohesion raising concerns for the future.
As Ajax begins the search for a new head coach, it remains to be seen how they will address the underlying issues and strive for a turnaround in their fortunes. The upcoming weeks will be crucial for the club as they aim to rectify their poor start to the season and rebuild unity within the team.