With Jaap Stam reportedly having agreed to become the new Reading manager, we got in contact with Ajax fan Nick Reimert who runs the Twitter account @ItweetAjax for his thoughts on the Dutchman.
First of all it is important to know that he coached our second team, Jong Ajax, in de Jupiler League (Second tier of professional football in The Netherlands) and he didn't do this alone. There were actually two head coaches, Stam and [Andries] Ulderink.
It's also important to know what Jong Ajax is all about. First of all it is all about the development of our players. Jong Ajax is a stepping stone for youth players to reach the first team. The average age is around 20, maybe even younger. We normally line-up the 11 most talented players and not the best or more experienced players. Results aren't the most important thing, development is. The squad changes a lot during the course of the season, making it difficult for the manager to manage. There is like a standard group of players + some of the more talented U19 players and also a couple of first team players who need to gain match rhythm. So this makes is extra difficult for Stam and Ulderink.
We all know Jaap's record as a player but how have his first steps into coaching been viewed?
Personally I didn't like him too much and most Ajax fans would agree with me. He was a candidate to replace de Boer, but nobody wanted him. His line-ups and subs are questionable. His tactics too, but Jong Ajax are supposed to play like the first team so the players don't have to adapt if they eventually reach the first team. So it's hard to say if the tactics were poor because of Stam, or De Boer's influence on the second team, or even because of Ulderink's influence.
Any reports about what he's like on the training ground as a coach?
He is great as a coach. Some of our players, especially Joël Veltman, have made huge steps the past season and they gave Jaap Stam credit for that. He trains Jong Ajax and also the defenders in the first team.
Our current RB Kenny Tete, who broke through at the start of the season, was always considered as a bright prospect, but he has had some trouble during the 14/15 season. He played in Jong Ajax at the time and even though he was a stand out player every match he didn't get a chance to prove himself in the first team. His frustration grew worse and he even considered to leave Ajax. Stam helped him a lot during that period and changed his mind about leaving the club and told him he was an excellent defender and he would get his chance soon.
Tete is just an example, there are also other players who said he was great mentally. Especially First Team players who had been downgraded to the second team. On a sidenote: You should definitely check out Kenny Tete, you can see the spirit of Jaap Stam in him. He's one of our most promising first team players, and said Stam made him a better player. If Stam could train Reading defenders like he trained Tete then you'll be very lucky.
What style of play have the teams he's been involved with been using?
He uses the same style of play as the first team, but that's probably because he was forced to. He could change his tactics and style of play if he joins Reading. But it wouldn't surprise me if he'd still use a 4-3-3 formation as most Dutch managers use. At Jong Ajax it was about possession and build-up play from the back, high tempo and quick combination. (Wasn't always the case, depended on the available players). Some games could be very exciting to watch, and other games were like watching the first team. Really boring football, a bit like how Manchester United played last season.
Any stories about him off the pitch?
He helps players off the pitch too. His dream is to manage a team in England, which is happening. Can't think of anything else to be honest.
What can Reading fans expect?
I think Reading fans can expect a disciplined coach, laziness won't be tolerated. They can also expect a great individual coach for defenders and he could help players mentally. I believe Tete even said he was a father figure (despite his terrifying appearance). It is really hard to predict a certain style of play because of De Boer's and Ulderink's influence on the first team.
Do you think he'll be a success in the Championship?
I find this really hard to predict. Personally I think he is still rather unproven and he'd be better individual coach than a manager. Jong Ajax is to gain experience as a manager but it is hard to judge them because of the second manager (Ulderink) and De Boer's influence (I can't stress this part enough). I think England suits him and Reading could be a great start for his coaching career. I hope he does well at Reading.
Many thanks to Nick for taking the time to answer our questions, and you can leave your thoughts on the appointment of Stam below.