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Thread: (Extreme) Cruijff-transfer policy at Ajax: own youth players ONLY! (so NO signing allowed...)

  1. #1

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    (Extreme) Cruijff-transfer policy at Ajax: own youth players ONLY! (so NO signing allowed...)

    Introduction

    As you will probably know, Johan Cruijff shook things up at Ajax a couple of years ago: he wanted the club to be run by ex-players, had ideas about what kind of football needed to be played and believed Ajax could only become succesful again when the club focussed on self-educated youth players instead of signing players from elsewhere. Signing players should be a last resort. While this proved succesful at first (with a couple of league titles in a row under Frank de Boer), the real succes funnily enough came when Ajax let go of their policy of not spending big on (older) players from elsewhere and bought some expensive players like Daley Blind and Dusan Tadic. However, this surely must be a coincedence, since the master couldn't be wrong. Therefore, I am going to take his transfer policy to the extreme, by playing with Ajax (ODB, 3.9.65) and don't sign ANYONE. Instead, I will solely rely on youth players coming through the academy. Since I usually tend to sign and sell players by the bucketload, this is especially a tough challenge for me, but I'm very curious as to how succesful one can be without ever signing a player... The ultimate goal of course is to win the Champions League with only regens who came through my academy.

    I will use a custom made (non WIB/WOB) 4-1-3-2 tactic (which I'll change into a slightly modified 4-3-1-2 tactic when I desperately need a goal) and use training regimes I found on this forum since they work very well and player devolopment is essential for this to work. All cash amounts are in Euros.

    Season #1 (2001/2002)

    Despite the fact that I don't need cash for anything else but wages (and signing on fees when offering new deals), I still needed to get rid of unneeded players, since chances of youth players coming trough increase when your squad isn't filled up. So I started of by selling some players (mostly wingers and some older players) for a combined figure of 10M. Since I couldn't buy any players, I had to be extra careful with the ones I did have. Normally, I would just sell anyone not in my first team (of 24 players) who was not a huge talent, but this time I put up a lot of youngsters for loan to see how they would develop.

    I was not unhappy with my first team. Ajax is a huge club of course in the Netherlands (arguably the biggest one), so even without extra signings, we should be able to make an impression, at least in the league. The only department I was really unhappy with was the goalie. Fred Grim never was a top goalie, but he would have to do for now. The other big challenge was not to look at names too much with the benefit of hindsight. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was simply not yet ahead of Nikos Machlas in 2001... Also the likes of Maxwell and John Heitinga had to take a backseat to more established players like André Bergdolmo and Ole Tobiasen:



    The start of the campaign was somewhat bumpy though, including a loss against PSV, which players are far better in CM 01/02 than in reality... I did however survive the first phase of the Champions League in a brutal group alongside Juventus and Barcelona. When league results picked up and we were paired in the second phase with Schalke 04, Panathinaikos and Lazio, I was optimistic about reaching the quarter finals. However, we finished dead last... We were also dumped out of the Dutch Cup early on (quarter final) by Roda JC, so all that remained was the league to play for.

    One issue when signing players is not possible, is morale. I was stuck with the players I had, so had to keep them happy. That included giving new contacts for wages the players weren't worth (and normally would never have gotten from me). I consoled myself with the thought that I didn't need money anyway. Still, I wanted to keep things realistic, so when substitute Ferdinand Vierklau thought he could shake me down for 130k per month, he could pack his bags. The same went for Wamberto, who was causing all sorts of problems. Including going AWOL and blaming me for the resulting fine! He also skipped training sessions regularly and the fines I gave him for that also led to unrest in the dressing room. In the end, I just cut him loose. Paid him 1.3M to buy off his contract and it was the best 1.3M I ever spent.

    My hopes of starting the new year with a fresh and happy set of players were dented by the African Cup in which three of my starting players appeared (Trabelsi, Yakubu and Mido). And they all reached the semi final meaning I had to cope without them for quite some time... Despite this, I managed to keep up with PSV quite well, but in the end, we couldn't handle the pressure. Losing the last game of the season with 4-2 away at lowly NAC having drawed 2-2 at Vitesse two games earlier. So no silverware for Ajax:



    Naturally, a season without silverware always qualifies as failure for a club like Ajax. However, somehow I was still not too unhappy with 26 league wins (including two against Feyenoord) and quite a few players were developing nicely. Lobont had replaced Grim in goal and Youssouf Hersi was a revelation in midfield, scoring goals for fun. As did Machlas. Sure, some players had disappointed me (like Trabelsi), but I was looking forward to next season. We now had one more year of experience, one more year of togetherness... what did PSV have? ...apart from having signed a bloke from Groningen called Arjen Robben... ?

    However, I was most of all looking forward to what new players would come through the academy! My policy of making room for them had already worked, since already in March of the first season, the first youth player was promoted, but unfortunately, it was a winger (FR) and a crappy one as well:



    Needless to say: Henry MacDonald was not offered a contract. Hopefully, this was not a sign of things to come. I was still crossing my fingers for a few Sneijders, Van der Vaarts and Van de Ligts

    Stay tuned for Season 2
    Last edited by the Devil's Advocate; 02-08-19 at 10:06 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Nice idea and a decent start. ODB without any of the To Madeira types will be new. Very brave to write a story about Ajax on here

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  5. #3

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    Yes very, very brave

    In my story I use much the same principle but in addition to our own youth players I also sign "prodigal sons".

    Just youth players probably is not enough as the generated youth players are usually crappy like your MacDonald.

    Any way, good luck!

    (There, I've said it!)

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  7. #4
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    Will keep an eye on this

  8. #5
    How good is your assistant manager? Could I see a screenshot of him, please?

    I'm looking forward to seeing how this idea pans out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Effiong unmarked! View Post
    How good is your assistant manager? Could I see a screenshot of him, please?

    I'm looking forward to seeing how this idea pans out.
    Please tell me that his quality does not influence the quality of youngsters coming through…. If so, I would have replaced him right away. I just thought your staff needed at least 50 in combined coaching points and you were good to go...

    Anyway, here he is:



    He appears to be somewhat schizo though… These are two of his comments made about a regen from my academy on THE SAME DAY...





    @the others: thank you for your comments. The second installment will not take too much longer...

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  11. #7
    I don't know whether he influences the strength of the players coming up from the academy or not. The manual says this:

    ASSISTANT MANAGER
    Without a shadow of doubt, the second most important member of the managerial team is the club’s
    assistant manager. As your deputy the assistant manager has to be an individual of exceptionally well-
    rounded skills, with high value attributes in all areas.
    They’re also the manager of your reserve team so you’ll need to be confident of their abilities bringing out
    the best of your second string and youngsters.
    Ideally the Assistant Manager will have high attribute values in each area of coaching, scouting and
    managerial skills.
    This doesn't answer the question one way or the other though. I'm sorry I asked to see your assistant manager now. Just ignore me and carry on.

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  13. #8

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    I doubt that the strength players coming through the academy is decided based on the assistant manager's ability.

    New players which are generated are rarely world class players.

    In the latest database the existingAjax youngsters are all incredibly good, though, and they have an awful lot of potential.

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    Well, I'm playing with the ODB, but the likes of Hersi, Van der Vaart and Chivu are not so bad as well. So the existing squad is fine. It's just that I'm curious how far you can go without ever signing a player. It will probably result in failure, but it's worth a shot anyway. And I hope (based on that Tsigalko vs Van Nistelrooy thread) that even regens with a modest PA will perform very well. We'll see.

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    Season #2 (2002/2003)

    Like I said, I was not too unhappy with my first season in charge. A lot of my players had devoloped quite nicely, allthough there were some who were performing below my expectations (such as backs Hatem Trabelsi and Maxwell). The one big surprise was AM/FRLC Jussi Kujala who seemed like a changed player after the summer update. This young Finnish U21-international went straight into my starting eleven, which (after one or two other minor changes) looked like this going into the new season:



    For the challenge I set myself though, the most important thing of course were the youth players who were promoted from the academy. There were three: a DC by the name of Robin Jansen, an AMR by the name of Ronnie Schilder and a SC by the name of Ruud Peters:







    Since beggars can't be choosers, they all got contracts despite the fact that none of them were being praised as potential stars by my assistent (on the contrary, they were all deemed 'decent squad members...'). Personally, I had a decent feeling about Ruud Peters and I hoped Ronnie Schilder would become a useful midfielder after having him retrained to an AMRC (since I didn't play with wingers). Robin Jansen would probably never make it to the first team, but you never know and he was only 15 years old.

    There were also a few players shipped out (Pascal Heije's contract had to be paid off since he was causing all sorts of problems, but Christopher Kanu and Tomás Galásek were sold and Fred Grim ran out of his contract. I also sent a few players out on loan (Maxwell, Nieuwenburg, Cruz and Mofokeng).

    Having finished last season in second place (and with PSV winning the league and cup double) I got to play PSV for the Dutch Super Cup. Despite the fact that I know it is nothing more than a glorified friendly, I was hoping to win my first bit of silverware… unfortunately, PSV trashed me with 3-0. I beat them with the same numbers in the league a few weeks later though, so revenge was sweet. And it was a result I desperately needed after finishing last in the first phase group of the Champions Cup where I had been paired with Valencia, Roma and… Rosenborg (ouch).

    Ronnie Schilder didn't like his training schedule one bit, although he did become an AMRC quite fast. If I remember correctly, players lose their newly learned position when you don't keep them retrained to that position, so Ronnie had to stay on a regime he hated (and complained about regularly). In the hope of pleasing him, I gave him his debut just before his 18th birthday (and a second match shortly after). This didn't help. He did OK and it was enough for First Division side ADO Den Haag to take him on loan and offer him regular football.

    While European football had proved nothing short of a disaster, I started the league very strong. Problem was that PSV and Feyenoord had done so as well. So after half the season gone and having only lost once and drawn twice, I was STILL not on top of the league.



    Frustrating business. Another 'problem' was that bigger clubs were taking an interest in my players. My star player (Youssouf Hersi) was being courted by a host of top sides (Liverpool, Chelsea, Napoli, Rangers) and Chivu was even attracting interest from Real Madrid. Fortunately, I only received one (insulting) offer from Rangers for Hersi which I rejected and this didn't affect Hersi.

    Halfway the season I sold Maxwell and Murillo (I wanted to make as much room as possible for regens) and hoped to start the second half of the season in the same fashion as I started it, but I was dumped out of the Dutch Cup in the third round by NEC (after penalties).

    The league went well. So well in fact that I could give a debut to Ruud Peters as well. I gave him half an hour against De Graafschap and AZ after leading both games comfortably and he scored goals in both games!

    Feyenoord found the self-destruct button quite early after messing up against lesser teams, so it was a two horse-race again between Ajax and PSV. Just at that time I got hit by an injury crisis with Yakubu, Chivu and Pasanen ruled out for many months. There also some other unrest as Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who wasn't even starting every game yet) requested a transfer to a bigger club! Instead of first trying to become a star player at Ajax... Still, I was on top of the league with four games to go... and then managed to lose at home versus Utrecht, handing the lead to PSV who won their three remaning games and win the league (and Dutch Cup) AGAIN! Grrrrr



    So that's two failed seasons in a row. Hopefully the dividens paid out to the shareholders (21 million this season) would keep me in a job for a little longer Actually, the board was delighted with my performances, so I didn't worry too much. This was a long term project after all.

    Ronnie Schilder played 15 games at ADO, getting 4 assists and managing an average rating of 7.13 while ADO had finished dead last in the First Division. I was quite content with that in his first season as a professional footballer. I was also very happy with Ruud Peters who had proven he knew where the goal was. Robin Jansen had failed to surprise me. I hadn't seen any improvement and he was having some disciplinary issues as well...

    That sums up my second seaons. Third time's a charm (hopefully).

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  19. #11
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    Bit harsh on yourself saying season a failure

    OK - Cup exit wasn't great

    Actually - finishing behind Rosenberg isn't ideal!

    But a fine league season!

    And seems ike you are shipping on a LOT of first team players very quickly - I'm surprised by that but guess it's the whole point of the story!

    I really like the 3 new recruits - all decent starting att's!

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    No silverware equals failure for them, Redders!

    The rest of us are (secretly) impressed and jealous. Typical also for Feyenoord to drop points against the weak teams.

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    Nice idea.

    I tryed to do something similar but at some point the quality of the players showing is disapointed...

  23. #14

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    I think this would be much easier with a lower league team than a major club like Ajax. I very much doubt that the academy will generate sufficient quality players to sustain a club like Ajax, but I do hope that I'm proven wrong.
    Done well so far considering that you have not strengthened the squad at all
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  25. #15
    Won't Ajax get their own regens back? I would have expected it to have been harder in the lower leagues, where clubs have no history of having good players. I'm not sure how regens work though.

    I've only been playing this game for just over a year, and I've mostly managed lower league clubs, but my experience is that few players come through from the youth team. Perhaps I've been signing too many players, if the secret is to keep the squad small.

    Mind you, the clubs I manage don't tend to have academies. I suppose that makes a lot of difference.

  26. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    I think this would be much easier with a lower league team than a major club like Ajax. I very much doubt that the academy will generate sufficient quality players to sustain a club like Ajax, but I do hope that I'm proven wrong.
    Done well so far considering that you have not strengthened the squad at all
    Well, you are right in the sense that there is a big gap in quality between youth players and the first team members at a club like Ajax which means that even if they would have potential, it will take quite a few seasons to reach that potential and I need to bridge all that time with the current squad (which I have probably underestimated). However, first of all I hope a club like Ajax will generate relative many and relative good regens. And second of all, I hope it is relatively easy to develop players since you will win many games as Ajax and therefore can give a lot of playing time to youth players (that's easier when you lead 3-0 than when you are grinding out a draw needed in a relegation battle). We'll see how it goes...

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  28. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Effiong unmarked! View Post
    Won't Ajax get their own regens back? I would have expected it to have been harder in the lower leagues, where clubs have no history of having good players. I'm not sure how regens work though.

    I've only been playing this game for just over a year, and I've mostly managed lower league clubs, but my experience is that few players come through from the youth team. Perhaps I've been signing too many players, if the secret is to keep the squad small.

    Mind you, the clubs I manage don't tend to have academies. I suppose that makes a lot of difference.
    Regen can show up anywhere. My Van Persie regen was snapped up before Heracles and had already played three games for them before I discovered him

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  30. #18
    Okay, that's awesome news. I might try one of these from a lower-league club then. Maybe allow loans for the first season and youth signings for the first two seasons and after that limit it to youth players coming through the club. Perhaps have a separate rule for goalkeepers though. Allow short-term loans for keepers when the club has only one fit keeper and allow a youth signing if there is only one keeper on the books or something.

    In the meantime though, I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out for Ajax. The players coming through are decent enough, so it looks like you were right about the Assistant Manager's strengths not being important in this respect.

  31. #19

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    I think it is pretty random where regens turn up, other than (mainly) being in the home country.

    I remember Guisely getting loads of brilliant regens in ODB.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  33. #20
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    Also Alfreton and Braintree

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  35. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Bit harsh on yourself saying season a failure

    OK - Cup exit wasn't great

    Actually - finishing behind Rosenberg isn't ideal!

    But a fine league season!

    And seems ike you are shipping on a LOT of first team players very quickly - I'm surprised by that but guess it's the whole point of the story!

    I really like the 3 new recruits - all decent starting att's!
    Well, it's like samsami said: you really can't say you had a decent season in Amsterdam when you won nothing. It is that simple. Naturally that is not always realistic (sometimes, Ajax simply doesn't have the best squad, but try tell Ajax-fans that. They expect to win regardless...). Having said that, personally I am a bit less unforgiving since I have a huge limitation compared to the other clubs. Besides, at this moment in time, I measure succes by looking at the development of my regens. However, I have to do well enough of course to keep my job!

    And it's true I have shipped out a lot of players. I might have gone a bit overboard. However, I do want to make room for regens AND it's not possible to keep 40 players happy anyway, so there's no point in keeping so many around anyway.

    And thanks for the support!

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    Season #3 - 2003/2004

    Since Brutil Hosé (my 5th striker from the First Team) didn't want to renew his contract which had run out, I had to replace him with the one remaining striker in my reserves: Ruud Peters. So while I had no choice, It was still a bit of a milestone for my first youth player to get a permanent place in my First Team! I would make sure he would get plenty of game time too by putting him on the bench thus making him available to come on for the last half an hour or so against inferior opposition.

    Another change in my First Team was a swap between Daniel Cruz and Cedric van der Gun with the first one making the step up from the reserves (being a regular international for Colombia) and the latter having to prove his worth on loan at fellow Premier League side Willem II.

    I said goodbye to the 20th player from the Original squad in Mofokeng, but instead of having a lean team full of players hungry for prizes, I had myself a truckload of whining babies who were either unhappy for a lack of playing time or for a desire to join a bigger club. Even my (pretty poor) goalie Lobont thought he had outgrown Ajax!? As did Cruz who had just made it to my First Team! Machlas and Mido: the same. However, they were my first and second striker and at least had proven their worth. But still.

    Having read on this forum that morale is just there for esthetics and doesn't influence performances one bit, I was still hopeful of a good season, but that hope soon faded... Not only did I again lose the Dutch Super Cup against PSV, but I drew the first league game at home versus... TELSTAR!!! How they managed to achieve promotion is beyond me anyway (they have been abysmal for as long as I can remember), but failing to win against TELSTAR?! After that, I lost against Twente (away). And since you are aware of the small margins for error in this brutal league with a rampant PSV, such a start was nothing short of dramatic.

    Even worse was the lack of youth players coming through. Right when I thought not one single player would come through, I got one at last at the end of August, however, John Landsbergen did not impress me... Naturally, he got a contract nonetheless since I was desperate for bodies:



    The only good thing from the start of the new season was that I had qualified for the group phase of the Champions Cup. My poor performances in this competition cost our country one automatic slot, so as the number two of last year, I now had to play in the last qualifying round against... Celtic. I'd rather had some Icelandic outfit, but I thought I was fine after the 3-0 home win. So fine as a matter of fact that I thought it was a good idea to play with a host of young talents in the return only to lose that game with 3-0... I can't tell you how relieved I was when we scored in extra time.

    Qualifying for the group phase however proved to be the worst thing that could have happened to me since I lost ALL my games in a group with Roma, Schalke and Galatasaray, scoring 3 goals and conceding 20... I was the laughing stock of Europe... I felt horrible.

    Things were going equally bad in the league losing at home against Eindhoven. No, not PSV Eindhoven, but their baby brother FC Eindhoven who had magically managed to win promotion as well (but are equally crap as Telstar). It was the ultimate humiliation. To lose at home against the SECOND team from Eindhoven. Yuk! Let no body tell you that morale doesn't matter. It most certainly does!

    Ronnie Schilder was loaned out to a bottom side in the First Division again (Excelsior). I hoped this would be better for his development than messing about in my reserves.

    When I had to play PSV at home, Rafael van der Vaart got sent of in the 10th minute and it was completely in line with how things were going. However, when I still managed to win that game, I was hoping for a turnaround. It didn't come. When the season was halfway gone, I was trailing PSV by a massive 10 points already with the board only 'pleased' with my performance (instead of 'delighted'). I hoped that PSV manager Eric Gerets joining Chelsea would cause some unrest there, but on the contrary, they kept winning and winning and I was down on my luck: suspensions, injuries, early red cards, you name it. In the end, I even had to settle for third I'm ashamed to say:



    The only upside of performing so poorly that the first and second place are out of reach before the end of the season is that I could hand debuts to Robin Jansen en 16-year-old John Landsbergen who even managed to score a goal in his second outing.

    However, this is not to say that my season didn't have its highlights. It absolutely did. I trashed Feyenoord 5-0 in the quarter final of the Dutch Cup and even managed to win that competition beating PSV 1-0 in the final! OK, maybe I must share with you that PSV got a player sent of really early on and I scored my goal from a penalty. Besides, PSV were probably saving some players for the Champions League final against Arsenal (which they lost by the way), but I couldn't care less. I won my first piece of silverware and it felt good! Sure, missing out on Champions League football hurt, but it was not as if I had enjoyed that very much over the last two seasons, hehe.

    Over the course of the season, bids were just coming in on a daily basis for many of my players. All of them were rejected of course. This often resulted in higher and higher bids which I would normally have accepted instantly, but I couldn't now, having imposed a tansfer ban on myself... Besides, I didn't have use for the money anyway.

    Hersi made his international debut and handed in a transfer request (as did Yakubu). Both request were naturally denied...

    Ruud Peters was developing quite nicely attribute-wise, but performance-wise I was not happy. He had started 6 games and played another 16 as a substitute, scoring a grand total of only 3 goals. His average rating of 7.05 was OK though.

    Ronnie Schilder had managed 21 games at Excelsior, scoring 2 goals, giving 6 assists and getting an average rating of 7.05 as wel. Not too shabby playing for the number 16 of the First Division.

    With the shareholders raking in a record 25 million in dividends, I was about to start my fourth season. Stay tuned...

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  39. #23

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    The decline has started. And yet. Those cup games are amazing!

    Still, you need better youth players and you need them quickly!

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  41. #24

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    22 points away from PSV. That is a big gap to close.

    I hope those youngsters perform better than they look

    Again brave to put on here that beating Feyenoord was a highlight !
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  43. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by the Devil's Advocate View Post
    Season #3 - 2003/2004Having read on this forum that morale is just there for esthetics and doesn't influence performances one bit,
    Who said morale doesn't matter ? It most certainly does.

    Unhappiness is only there for aesthetics, but a player with morale 20 will out perform an equal player with morale 1.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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