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Thomas van den Leeuwen - Making De Godenzonen The Kings Of Europe Again


tomtuck01

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Introduction

First things first, feel free to follow me on Twitter @tomtuck01 as I post bits and pieces on there and I often end up posting things on there before I update the thread. Be warned though, it is also a personal account so it won't just be FM stuff being posted on there and I often have drunken meltdowns about my personal life.

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Well my Journeyman Thread from Football Manager 2014 has come to an end, (read it here though, it's good!), but I am back with a new thread. I said all the long that my FM15 thread wouldn't be like it's predecessor, and indeed it won't be.

I have instead decided that this will be a one club thread, and it will be with AFC Ajax. Why Ajax, you ask? Well I want to return them to the pinnacle of European football, but I want to do so while trying to be true to life. By this I mean not giving out silly wages, spending vast amounts of money on players, and by promoting players from within the club.

Enough talk, time to get this party started!

Countries/Leagues

All counteries except The Netherlands have just the top division loaded.

Belgium - Jupiler Pro League

Brazil - Brasileirão

Denmark - Superliga

England - Premier League

Germany - Bundesliga

Italy - Serie A

Netherlands - Jupiler League

Norway - Tippeligaen

South Africa - ABSA Premiership

Spain - La Liga

For my save I have used a Large Database, and around about 44,000 players have been loaded.

As you can see I have loaded ten countries, but just eleven leagues. My laptop isn't a few years old now so I can't load as many countries and leagues as I'd like. Still, I think I've got a decent spread of leagues for the save and I anticipate it will be more than enough for my needs. And of course I can use the Add/Remove League feature if needs be.

Aims And Ambitions

Well I've already explained these really; I want to return Ajax to the pinnacle of European Football by sticking to some set rules.

The Rules

1. Maximum wage of £25,000 p/w

2. Maximum transfer fee of £5million

3. Half the matchday squad must be homegrown players (Trained in nation or club)

4. Players cannot be released unless their contract expires

5. Make profit on transfers over every three year period (2014-2017, 2017-2020, etc)

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I hope those of you who choose to follow this will enjoy it, and will not be put off by me diving into a save with a big club. Also thanks to users on Twitter who helped me finalise the above rules - you know who you are.

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The Club

238px-Ajax_Amsterdam.svg.png

Full Name: Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax

Nickname: De Godenzonen ("Sons of the Gods")

Year Founded: 1900

Stadium: Amsterdam ArenA (53,052 (52,960 Seated))

Status: Professional

AjaxSave-BackgroundofClub-Jun2014_zps71fbb8e0.png

We all know about Ajax and what they stand for; Total Football, and developing players from within its own system. I don't really need to add much here as I'd just be telling you stuff that you know already. Ajax have won the last four Eredivisie titles, the first time they have done so in their history, so domestically atleast I have alot to live up to following on from club icon Frank de Boer.

Financial Overview

AjaxSave-FinancialOverview-Jun2014_zps4a2b927f.png

The club is run in a sound way, with players coming through the youth system, (or brought into the club when they are young) and eventually being sold for big money, so these finances are not a surprise to me. Perhaps the balance is slightly higher than I would have expected, but after a summer in which Daley Blind and Siem de Jong left the club for a combined €25million I should have figured that the balance would be strong.

Key Players

Goalkeeper - Jasper Cillessen

The club and national team number one. Last season he displaced Ken Vermeer as the teams first choice and that resulted in Vermeer leaving the club over the summer. His season culminated in him being the Netherlands first choice goalkeeper at the 2014 World Cup. He will be crucial as we try to make our mark in Europe.

Defender - Niklas Moisander

Club captain. The player arrived at the start of the 2012/13 season from AZ Alkmaar for £3.2million he has gone on to establish himself as the teams first choice centrehalf. His contract expires next summer and I will have to decided whether to cash in on him or not.

Midfielder - Lasse Schöne

The teams best player, according to assistant Hennie Spijkerman. Last season he scored nine goals in twenty-nine league appearances as he helped lead the side to their fourth straight title. Like Moisander his contract expires next summer so an important decision on him needs to be made.

Forward - Kolbeinn Sigþórsson

A £4.3million arrival from AZ Alkmaar in summer 2011, Sigþórsson has yet to fully live up to his price tag. Injuries have played a part in his less than sensatiomal first three years with the club, so with two years left on his contract he has much to prove if he is to have a future with the club.

Three Under-18's To Keep An Eye On

Richairo Zivkovic - 4.5 Star Potential

Signed in the summer for £1.6million from Groningen, Zivkovic is already part of the first team squad and will no doube get some game time in the coming season. He is tied down for the next five years, so we have no worries about him being poached from Europes biggest clubs.

Nathan Leyder - 4.0 Star Potential

A just seventeen years old, Leyder already looks like he could do a job in the Eredivisie. Yes one or two things need some working on, but he could be turned into a terrific centreback in a few years time.

Abdelhak Nouri - 4.0 Star Potential

Similar to Leyder, Nouri could already do a job for a few clubs in the Eredivisie. He is just seventeen years old and has so much room to grow into a key player for the first team. Don't be surprised to see him make some first team appearances this term.

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Meet The Manager

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Manager Profile

"Ajax have today announced the appointment of Thomas van den Leeuwen as the teams new first team manager, replacing Frank de Boer who left the club in the summer after winning his fourth Eredivisie title in a row last season.

This is Van den Leeuwen's first management role after a three year spell working within the Dutch National Team set-up, helping to coach the under-16's right through to the under-21's. It has come as a big surprise to many fans, but Van den Leeuwen is said to have jumped at the chance to manage a club of such stature.

We now cross live to the Amsterdam ArenA where Van den Leeuwen will say a few words";

Thank you all for coming today.

I'm thrilled that I have been given this opportunity, though also a bit surprised. To be honest when Frank de Boer left at the end of last season I didn't give it a second thought, well, except to think the new man would have a tough act to follow!

I will do my best to uphold the traditions of this club, and hope that my previous work within the national team set-up will help me achieve the goals of the club and those of myself.

So here I am. I am Thomas van den Leeuwen, a former professional footballer who spent all of his career in the Dutch leagues, playing for various clubs at the top of the Eerste Divisie and bottom of the Eredivisie. After finishing my career at 33 I immediately did my coaching badges, obtaining my Continental Pro License while working within the Dutch youth set-up. I am new manager of AFC Ajax.

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Nice opening posts :thup:

I look forward to this, always enjoy careers where people set themselves some rules :)

Thanks alot. And I hope you and everyone else find this interesting for that reason. :thup:

Good luck! #DareToGoDutch

I might be daring to João yet - watch this space.............

Best of luckHow many years are you targeting for to win the CL?

I'm not targetting anything. When it comes, it comes.

Good luck tom :thup:
I'll definitely be following this. Good luck.

Thanks lads. :)

Great idea. That last rule might be a pain though regarding having to keep selling.

To be fair I don't think it'll prove to be a problem with the other rules I have. As we get better players will no doubt want more money, and with me having a maximum wage it'll mean I'll have to sell more regularly as the save goes on I reckon.

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I knew I shouldn't have read this thread, my hands are itching now and I want to play as Ajax again for the third time in as many years. Kishna, Tete, Nouri, Zivkovic, El Ghazi, Denswil, Fisher, Riedewald what's there not to like about the club :(

Good luck Tom, can't wait to see what you do with all the talent you have :)

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Ooooo here comes another tomtuck classic, here's hoping you get the Dutch João Pedro to come through your ranks!

If I get someone through who's half as good as him I'll be delighted!

Looking forward to reading along with this. I usually do something similar with Ajax. One of my favorite clubs to manage.

I hope I live up to your expectations then. :p

Good luck Tom. I still remember the good times I had with them in my FM14 save. :)

Hopefully I can bring back more good memories. :D

Good luck Tom. Will be following this.

Be interesting to see how you get on with your personal restrictions...25k seems so small. Will be good to see how you do.

I managed with £25k at Benfica, so hopefully it's not too much of a struggle! :D

I knew I shouldn't have read this thread, my hands are itching now and I want to play as Ajax again for the third time in as many years. Kishna, Tete, Nouri, Zivkovic, El Ghazi, Denswil, Fisher, Riedewald what's there not to like about the club :(

Good luck Tom, can't wait to see what you do with all the talent you have :)

The youth is of course the draw. So many players I could have mentioned when picking out Key Player/Youngsters. Nevermind a maximum of signing five players a year - i might not need any anytime soon!

And don't start with Ajax, you'll just make me look bad. :(

Needless to say i shall be following closely.

Looking forward to seeing you building squad after squad as i am sure it won't take long for the European big boys to come knocking.

That was the reason for the wage restrictions, it'll test me in terms of squad building as I can imagine I'll often have to regenerate the side after clubs from England, Spain, etc come knocking. :)

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The legend returns! Will definitely be following this :)

Looking forward to see how the academy graduates develop under your charge, I am sure some batches will go on to succeed like the class of 92 \o/

Ha legend is a bit much but thanks alot!

Regarding the players from the youth system, I'd happily take one or two who manage to achieve even half of what they did! :D

Looking forward to following this. I'm attempting something similar with them, though without the wage restrictions.

Cool. Hope the restriction on wages adds an extra dynamic to things. :)

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This will be fun but also tough to watch because I'm pretty sure your wage limit will make it hard for you to keep your starts at your team. Best of luck!

Cheers. I don't think the limit is too bad to be honest, at the start of the save my highest paid players are only on around £13,000p/w. :)

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Will keep an eye on this thread as currently running something quite similar though different values in Italy - Good Luck with it
cant wait for this, enjoyed reading your fm14 career. so good luck!

Thanks alot guys, hope you enjoy it as much as I hopefully will. :)

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Nice to see you start another career thread. I shall be following this..

Good luck

Thanks alot. Just hope playing with a big club doesn't discourage people. :p

I signed him for my save as well, he's superb! He's Dutch and Man United alumni so he's perfect for you :)

He could've been part of any club he wanted previously, I simply don't care aslong as he does the job. :D

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238px-Ajax_Amsterdam.svg.png

Thomas van den Leeuwen - AFC Ajax - Season Preview - 2014/15

Board Expectations

Eredivisie - Win the title

KNVB Beker - Win the trophy

Champions League - Not expexcted to progress past group stage

Johan Cruijff Schaal - Not important

Personal Expectations

Eredivisie - I have to agree with the board

KNVB Beker - Not as important as the league/Europe

Champions League - Would love to get to the 1st knockout round

Johan Cruijff Schaal - Always good to start with a trophy

The board seem a demanding sort, and that had to be expected after winning four titles in a row under previous manager Frank de Boer. It'll be tough as I get to grips with things, but I'm sure we ca make a decent fist of things. As for the KNVB Beker, the club haven't won it since 2010, even losing last seasons final to PEC Zwolle, so it'd be really good to bring it home.

I'm a touch surprised by the extremely low expectations for the Champions League, but given we're likely to be amongst just the third seeds we're likely to get a pretty tough group. Still, we'll give it our all and hopefully we can get some good results and with a bit of luck make it to the next round.

Budgets

Transfer: £12,678,126

Wages: £278,826 p/w (Currently spending £278,646)

Balance: £28,810,543

Terrific transfer budget if I want to bring in some players over the summer. The wage budget is sound aswell, though it will need to be increased a bit with funds from the transfer fund. Can't at all complain here, great funds to work with.

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Very good budget for the league you're in.

As I illustrated further up the page regards the balance, (post #2), it'll be to do with the summers business, with Siem de Jong and Daley Blind leaving for pretty big money. The club spent just over €5million yet brought in around €30million. :thup:

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AjaxSave-MoisanderNewContract-Jul2014_zps22cd4962.png

Big news for the club as he's our captain and by far and away our most experienced defender. We only had to give him an extra £3,000 p/w, but to smooth things over we had to give him a minimum fee release clause, which is set at £8million.

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238px-Ajax_Amsterdam.svg.png

Thomas van den Leeuwen - AFC Ajax - Preseason - 2014/15

Transfers

Just about nothing happened in the transfer window, despite the excellent budget afforded to me. Now new players arrived before the start of the season, but on deadline day we secured the signing of another creative central player on loan for season, and here he is;

Mattheus

He's come in on very little wages and for no monthly fee, and with an option to buy for £1.2million. He'll add another creative spark in the central area of the field, ad although believed to be injury prone, he could be a real asset if we can manage his fitness properly.

Preseason Friendlies

AjaxSave-PreseasonFixtures-2014-15_zpsecd03438.png

Not a very busy preseason for us as I was concerntrating on getting training in order and sorting out new contracts for a few players. I mainly tried to use players who wiuld be regular first teamers this season in the games in the hope that the tactics would bed in quicker, and thankfully it seems to have worked. Anyway, we managed four wins from four and kept three cleansheets, so I was happy enough with how we did.

Johan Cruijff Schaal

AjaxSave-JCSchaal-2014-15_zpsd4af45e2.png

A decent enough performace as we lifted the first trophy of my reign. We got off to a good start taking the lead through Niklas Moisander just before the half-hour mark. Zwolle hit back early in the second period through a stunning strike, but sub Lerin Duarte got the winner, finishing from the edge of the box following a nice passing move. 2-1 the final score.

Preseason over, we start the league season, again against PEC Zwolle. And of course we start without Mattheus, who didn't join until transfer deadline day on September 1st.

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Can't wait for your start to the season, I wasn't a frequent commenter on your last adventure in FM14 but I was a viewer since Day 1. Keep it up!

Thanks. Don't worry that you weren't a frequent commenter - I'm just glad people are interested and following. :)

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238px-Ajax_Amsterdam.svg.png

Thomas van den Leeuwen - AFC Ajax - August 2014

Eredivisie

AjaxSave-EredivisieFixtures-Aug2014_zps1ff32581.png

AjaxSave-EredivisieTable-Aug2014_zps5bab8307.png

A great start to he league season, even if we're conceding more goals than I'd like.

We began by beating PEC Zwolle 3-0 at home on the opening day, in a game that was much more comfortable than the Johan Cruijff Schaal a week earlier. We dominated throughout the match, eventually taking the lead a few minutes before halftime through Anwar El-Ghazi. The second half followed much of the same pattern, with us eventually getting our second goal twelve minutes from time thanks to Lucas Andersen. Niklas Moisander wrapped up the win eight minutes from time, heading home from a corner. Lucas Andersen and Anwar El Ghazi were again at the forefront of the next game away at ADO Den Haag, which we won 3-2. Andersen put us 1-0 up after just six minutes, with El Ghazi doubling our lead before the break. ADO came back into it in the second period, clawing back to 2-2 just after the hour mark. We maaged to regroup and grab a winner seventeen minutes from time, with Andersen firing home from the edge of the box. Excelsior then came to Amsterdam, and after a slow start we won the game comfortably. In just the first minute we fell behind, but equalsied through Lasse Schöne just two minutes later. Three minutes before halftime we were ahead, Anwar El Ghazi getting the goal. Joel Veltman headed us further infront in the 63rd minute, and then Kolbeinn Sigþórsson rounded off the scoring soon after with his first of the campaign. A tough game away at PSV followed, and we got off to a great start, taking the lead after just four minutes thanks to Lasse Schöne. Ten minutes later it was 2-0 when Davy Klaassen slotted home. PSV pulled one back on the half-hour mark, and then just before halftime PSV won a hotly disputed penalty, and converted it to level up at 2-2. In the second half both sides had chances to win, but neither side could grab the winning goal - 2-2 the final score. Our final game of the month was again away from home, this time at Cambuur. Niklas Moisander put us ahead in the tenth minute, and then Lasse Schöne doubled our lead just after the half-hour mark. Cambuur grabbed a goal back in the 56th minute, but just three minutes Anwar El Ghazi restored our two goal lead and ultimately sealed the win.

September kicks off with a visit from Heracles to the Amsterdam ArenA.

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Champions League Group Stage Draw - 2014/15

We were amongst the third seeds meaning the likelihood was that we'd get a tough group. With Roma and Monaco amongst the fourth seeds, there was the potential for a really tough group indeed.

AjaxSave-CLGrpDraw-Aug2014_zps4dabbaee.png

Group G, for "Gee this is going to be tough". I expect two defeats to Bayern and two bloody hard games against Roma - if we can win one of our fixtures against the Rome side I'll be delighted. As for second seeds Basel, they'll be no pushovers either.

I imagine we may be aiming for third place, and a passport into the Europa League knockout rounds, at best.

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Have fun beating PSV on every ocassion you get

I wish! I've no doubt they'll come again soon.

Quite a difficult group, especially for Ajax. Keenly looking forward to how you fare. :D

Anwar El Ghazi looks to be off to a crackin start. :thup:

Like I said, third might be the best we can do! :(

As for El Ghazi, I've been thrilled with him so far.

Ouch! tough group :eek:

Thank god we got Basel as the second seed in our group, otherwise it could have been horrendous!

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238px-Ajax_Amsterdam.svg.png

Thomas van den Leeuwen - AFC Ajax - September 2014

Eredivisie

AjaxSave-EredivisieFixtures-Sep2014_zps767211cd.png

AjaxSave-EredivisieTable-Sep2014_zpseb635fc7.png

Three more wins, and three cleansheets. Very happy.

We had a poor first half against Heracles, and didn't spend the second half much better. However, a controversial penalty just before the hour mark led to the opening goal when Lasse Schöne stroked home. Ten minutes later Schöne had a chance to double our lead with another penalty, but missed the target. However, sub Arkadiusz Milik made the points safe fifteen minutes from time as he scrambled home after Stefano Denswil's header was saved. A trip to Vitesse followed, and we scored a comfortable 2-0 win. Anwar El Ghazi put us upfront six minutes befoe halftime, and we evetually wrapped up the points with seven minutes to go when Lasse Schöne fired home his fifth goal in his last five Eredivisie games. Our final game of the month saw us travel to Go Ahead Eagles, and we struggled to victory. The only goal of the game came nine minutes before halftime, when Davy Klaasse sent Lucas Andersen clear who slotted into the corner. A poor performance, but we took the points.

Seven points clear after eight games - a great start to the season.

KNVB Beker - 2nd Round

AjaxSave-KNVBFixtures-Sep2014_zps6ca2b751.png

Not a brilliant overall performance, but the team was much changed and we got the job done inside the opening twentyfive minutes. Arkadiusz Milik fired us infront on the ninth minute, and then Mattheus curled in a freekick soon after to double our lead. Milik headed home in twenty-fourth minute to round off the scoring. 3-0 the final score.

We face VVV-Venlo in the third round, again away from home.

Champions League - Group Stage

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AjaxSave-ChampsLgeTable-Sep2014_zps2b463739.png

What a brilliant start to the group stages!

Roma came to Amsterdam on matchday one, and in the first half gave us a good going over. However we maaged to hold on, and went into halftime on level terms. We were much better in the second half, and just after the hour we went ahead. Lucas Andersen came in from the left and fed Anwar El Ghazi who carried it into the penalty area before firing home. Roma came strong again ad hit us with wave after wave of attacks, but we stood firm and Jasper Cillessen had little to do as we kept them at bay to win 1-0. A trip to Switzerland to face Basel followed, and in a real ding-dong affair, (late in the day), we came away with all three points. Lasse Schöne put us ahead from the penalty spot after fifteen minutes and that is how it remained until just after the hour mark when Basel equalised from a corner. Davy Klaaseen restored our lead in the 69th minute, and a second penalty from Schöne eight minutes later made it 3-1. Basel themselves got a penalty, but Jasper Cillessen saved to keep it at 3-1. A stunning freekick three minutes later though got Basel back into it at 3-2, but we wrapped up the win in stoppage time when we hit them on the counter and Anwar El Ghazi hit his sixth goal of the season. 4-2 is how if finished.

Next up we have Bayern Munich at the Amsterdam ArenA.

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