Former Ajax manager Louis van Gaal is returning to the club in an advisory role, the Amsterdam-based team announced on Tuesday, as they seek to bounce back from their worst start to a season in nearly 60 years.
The 72-year-old former Dutch national team manager, who has been recovering from prostate cancer, is riding to the rescue of the Eredivisie giants, who are struggling both on and off the pitch.
“I want to help Ajax,” Van Gaal said in a statement. “My life is mainly based in Portugal and I can combine this well with a role as an external advisor.”
Van Gaal’s first head coaching job was at Ajax and he led the club to a Champions League title in 1995.
Ajax find themselves in unfamiliar territory, 15th in the Dutch top flight, just above the relegation zone, with five points from five games.
It is the worst start since the 1964/65 season, when club legend Johan Cruyff had just joined the youth team.
Making life worse for the Ajax faithful, bitter rivals PSV Eindhoven are unbeaten, winning seven from seven. Ajax also suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to their other main grudge team, Feyenoord from Rotterdam.
That game was abandoned ten minutes into the second half when hardcore Ajax fans lobbed flares onto the pitch with their team 3-0 behind.
Ugly scenes ensued as fans fought mounted riot police and smashed the entrance to their own stadium.
Van Gaal was recently rumoured to be under consideration for the German national team.
“We need to find a way up on the sporting front and we can and we must make a contribution to that,” said Van Gaal.