Champions League Manager 97/98 – Meet The Teams: Ajax 1995 & Juventus 1996 | @NTR9798

Here’s Nick with today’s two challengers – Deano and Matt

Here’s another relatively new member of our blog squad, Dean Emson (@emsonite). Dean is currently writing his cracking Wrexham blog, and has been handed the much-fancied Ajax side of 1995 (minus Frank Rijkaard) for this contest. Here are his thoughts…

It’s my first day at work. There’s a calm atmosphere in the air. It’s happy, relaxed, lazy even. I walk in the dressing room to meet the players. No one is really paying attention. A few of the the Dutch boys snigger. There are little in-jokes. Bob Marley is on the wireless singing “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright”.

Fred Grim sits down, and I notice a photo on the wall. I squint. Move closer. It’s this bloody Ajax team holding up the Champions League trophy. Oh, I see what’s going on here. I turn to my coaching staff “They think they’re already a great team! They think their Billy big time! Pffft!”

It’s ever so amusing and we have a good old laugh. The players go quiet, they look at us puzzled. Eventually I break it to them.

You are Ajax ’95 at the START of that season. Ergo – you are a bunch of nobodies, you’ve won nothing, you think what happened in a parallel universe 25 years ago has any bearing on this tournament? Turn that music off and listen. You ain’t going up to Scotland playing that total football nonsense. Have you seen the wind? Have you felt the cold? Even the cows wear coats.

There are 9 other teams just as good if not better that you on paper. We’re playing 4-3-3 Direct, get it? Here’s the team, listen up bitches…

GK- Van Der Sar. Keep being tall.

RB – Reiziger. Mike, count yourself lucky there’s no-one else. Just try not to score an own goal and stay out of the way.

LB – Frank De Boer. You’re not as good as your brother, so don’t pretend to be.

CB – Bogarde. I would absolutely sell you if I could.

CB – Blind. Captain. Keep being you.

MC – Finidi. “But boss, I play on ze wing” – you’ll do as I f*cking tell you.

MC – Seedorf. You’re awesome.

MC – Davids. You’ll end up at Barnet.

AMC – Litmanen. Right everyone, Jari is THE MAN! Everything goes through him, understand?

FC – Ronald De Boer. Remind your parents why you are their favourite.

FC – Overmars. You are really fast, stay on the last man.

Kluivert chirps up. “What about me, boss?” What about you? “I am Patrick Kluivert, I must play!” Disrespecting my authorotah! Out of the squad altogether, and let that be a lesson to the rest of you!

Anyway, as for this tournament. Haven’t practiced, no foreplay – we’re ‘going in dry’. Best of luck to my fellow managers. I just hope I’m not in the bottom 2, I don’t want relegation on my CV.

Matt Wills is a seasoned member of the blog team and writer of many a great story, “Alive and Kicking” was a personal favourite of mine and he’s currently entertaining us every Monday with his AFC United blog. Here he is with the lowdown on his Old Lady of 1996…

Juve. The Old Lady. The Italian Notts County. A giant of mid-90’s Italian football. 

This is the squad that won the Champions League against holders Ajax and sent Ravenelli to Boro, Vialli to Chelsea and a little bit later, Lombardo to Crystal Palace – signings that actually happened but sound like your average Championship Manager signing.

We’re short of Didier Deschamps and Vladimir Jugovic in midfield and there’s no Zidane or Davids here yet, so a lot will be required from Paulo Sousa and Antonio Conte in midfield. It’s workman like so a lot will rest on the hopes of our holy trinity of Del Piero, Vialli and Ravenelli.

At the back, Peruzzi is a safe pair of hands and the defensive line has bags of experience in Ferrara, Carrera, Torricelli and Pessotto, whilst Sergio Porrini should have no trouble settling into the Scottish surroundings.

Tactics wise I’m a committed follower of 2-3-1-2-2 Direct for my AFC United save, but here we’re going to try something a little different. 4-2-2-2 if you will.

It’s a strong first 11 I feel, but not a lot of depth. Hopes will be resting on a young Del Boy for that creative spark and the fire power of Fab and Luca up front.

I’m sure there will be plenty of old and future scores to settle. Ajax 95 will be out for revenge, familiar foes in Milan 94 and we best keep an eye on Heiko Herrlich, Karl Heinz Riedle and of course Roy Keane.

We’re not just here to take part, we’re here to compete. It’s going to be an interesting clash of the titans.

Tune in tomorrow, same time same place for Nathan’s synopsis of defending European champions, Dortmund 1997, and my views on Real Madrid 1998.

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