Ajax stories - Martin Jol
Tue 05 May 2020, 16:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Forty-seven years in football, 16 as a player, capped by Holland, manager in Holland, England, Germany and Egypt, including spells at Spurs and Ajax.
Martin Jol has seen a lot of football.
Yet he admits he’d never experienced scenes and emotions quite like that night in Amsterdam on 8 May, 2019.
Spurs manager between 2004-2007, Martin led us to fifth place in the Premier League in 2005/06 and 2006/07, and the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in 2007.
Later in charge of Ajax, Martin, now 64, was guest of honour at a special evening hosted by Amsterdam Spurs, our official supporters' club in the city, on the Tuesday night and then invited to the boardroom by Ajax for the Champions League semi-final, second leg between two of his former clubs on the Wednesday.
Ajax led 1-0 from the first leg and impressed back in N17. Having already toppled Juventus and Real Madrid, they started well at home as well as goals from Mattijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech in the first half left us with what Martin described as ‘mission impossible’ - 2-0 down on the night, 3-0 on aggregate, 45 minutes left to play.
As we all know now, mission impossible was accomplished thanks to Lucas Moura’s hat-trick in the second half, the clincher arriving with the clock showing 95.01 and triggering incredible scenes inside the stadium - scenes Martin will never forget.
“At 2-0, I thought that was it in the first half,” Martin told us in a special interview this week. “Ajax were better. They scored the first goal, the second goal, they were playing unbelievably well. I thought ‘this is it’.
“I’ve never seen a game change in that way. It was almost impossible to get away with a result. Even after the first goal, it was still mission impossible. Okay, 2-1 was better, but I don’t think we had the feeling that Spurs would score three goals.
“In the final minutes, everyone was standing. Ajax people were standing ready to give Ajax an ovation. Of course, I’m a Spurs man, everyone (connected with Spurs) was very quiet, then Spurs scored and we had to pinch each other because we couldn’t jump up, because that would have been a bit awkward as guests in their directors’ box with Edwin van der Sar, Overmars, all these people… it was one of the most memorable away games in Spurs history.
“Afterwards, it was a little awkward, because if you stay in the directors’ box you have to talk to people, but everyone was speechless, speechless. They didn’t know what to think, because it was really... the final minutes, standing up, give them an ovation and then it was so different. I’ve never experienced that before in my life.”
Look out for a video special with Martin and other special Spurs guests on Friday...