The Hague (AFP) – Ajax coach and former Dutch international Frank de Boer announced on Thursday he was quitting the Amsterdam club after failing to win the Dutch title.
“Frank de Boer is quitting as Ajax trainer. He told the club’s board in a meeting,” Ajax said in a statement issued in Amsterdam.
De Boer’s announcement comes after Ajax drew 1-1 against minnows De Graafschap on Sunday while defending champions PSV retained their hold on the trophy with a 3-1 victory against PEC Zwolle.
Ajax needed a win to claim the 34th championship in the club’s 116-year history.
PSV’s victory saw wild parties in their southern home base Eindhoven, but in the Dutch capital many Ajax fans slinked off in despair at the end of the highly anticipated televised match.
“After four national championships the 2014-15 season was a disappointment and we wanted to fix it this season,” said De Boer, a former Ajax player, in the statement.
“We’ve done everything. But alas, what we hoped for and were expecting didn’t happen.
“I’m realising more-and-more that it’s time to do something else. It’s better for me and it’s better for Ajax,” said De Boer, indicating that he may take a year off from any coaching duties.
“It’s an option, but I’ll wait and see what lies ahead on the road.”
De Boer’s last official job will be taking the team on a season-ending tour to China, leaving from the Netherlands on Friday, Ajax said.
His contract is due to run through until mid-2017 and Ajax said they still hope he’ll change his mind, although a club statement said the search for a successor is underway.
De Boer’s resignation “was not a big surprise, as over the last few months we’ve been discussing his future at Ajax”, club director and legendary former Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar said.
“But as all contracts of signed players run through until 2017 and because Frank is enormously ambitious, I still hope he’d want to serve out the contract,” Van der Sar added in the statement.
He had high praise for De Boer, saying he was an “excellent ambassador for the club who always made time for the fans, the media, the club’s social upliftment projects and sponsors”.
Former Dutch defender De Boer, who took the field 112 times for the Oranje, made a name for himself as assistant coach of the national squad thaty reached the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, where they lost to Spain.