Edwin van der Sar does more than he might get credit for. That is what Freek Jansen says in the Grab Scale Podcast. The general manager of Ajax has been under fire in recent months from (part of) the supporters, because of what is seen as his clumsy performances, both internally and externally. Jansen highlights the other side of Van der Sar: the hard worker.
‘He (Van der Sar, ed.) is not a vain man. Others in football had long since dropped it by journalists, but he does a lot in the background’, Jansen kicks off his account, before coming up with an example of what Van der Sar has been good for. ‘The Conference League, which Feyenoord has enjoyed so much, can be attributed entirely to Van der Sar. He got it off the ground with a committee.’
And there are more examples of far-reaching decisions in the international football field, in which Van der Sar played an important role. For example, the position of the ECA, the European Club Association, against the plans for the Super League in the spring of 2021. ‘When Ajax won the cup final two years ago, everyone at Ajax was celebrating. And Van der Sar was sitting in an office somewhere leading a meeting with the ECA about the Super League.’
That said, Jansen is not blind to the stitches that Van der Sar drops. “He does a lot of good work in the background, only at the defining moments he comes out badly and that’s his problem,” he sums up before going into detail. ‘You hear that he also does a lot within the organization, only he is also there while there has been no td for thirteen months. And that he is there that a transfer summer has been done on the basis of an agent. A lot just goes wrong and so the criticism is justified, but it is also sometimes a bit short-sighted.’
‘Very weak of the Supervisory Board if everything suddenly happens now’
Finally, Jansen also discusses Pier Eringa, who was officially appointed as the new chairman of the Supervisory Board of Ajax on Tuesday. Many consider him to be the one who has to straighten things out within the club, but Jansen wants to guard against over-enthusiasm. ‘Aren’t we making Pier Eringa a bit too big now?’, he wonders aloud. ‘It would be very weak for the rest of the Supervisory Board if everything suddenly started to happen under the leadership of a new chairman. Leen Meijaard and Leo van Wijk had not fallen on the back of their heads either. They were very respected people.’