Digital and social media play an increasingly large role in the world of modern football. Platforms like Twitter provide the easiest way for clubs to communicate with their fans and vice versa. The community of Ajax supporters is well-represented on Twitter, and there are many pages dedicated especially to news, commentary, and celebration around the club. Most of these are Dutch, but there are also a good few foreign accounts, connecting to the international fan base in the same way we do at All About Ajax. So we reached out to some of the biggest Ajax-related accounts on Twitter, which are being managed from all over the globe, to ask them a few questions about their page and their support for Ajax.
Regular visitors of the Johan Cruijff ArenA might recognize the name UKAjacied from a certain banner that frequently waves from the stands during Ajax matches. When you see that flag, you know Bradley Dobson is in town. The 28-year-old Englishman lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire, but he tries to catch as many Ajax matches as possible. Dobson genuinely might be the most fanatic Ajax fan of his country, and he expresses his love and dedication for Ajax on both Twitter and Instagram.
Q: When did Ajax first catch your eye, and how did you develop a passion for the club?
My auntie and uncle moved to Amsterdam in 2002. My uncle worked with the city council of Amsterdam for maintenance work on what was supposed to be a 6-month contract, but which actually went on for around 10 years. I first saw Ajax when I was 12 years old back in 2002. My uncle took me to the game which I believe was against Den Bosch, they won 2-0 and the only player that I ever remember from the game was Chivu. I always kept an eye out for Ajax growing up, but my Dad was an avid Manchester United and Lincoln City supporter, so I grew up going to a lot of Manchester United games throughout my teens. It was in my early twenties when my passion for Ajax evolved. I got a full-time job with my own wage, which meant I could go to and from Amsterdam without relying on my parents funding my trips.
Q: Are there more Ajax supporters among your family and friends?
My family members are either Manchester United, FC Halifax Town or Lincoln City fans. FC Halifax Town are my home town club. I’ve followed them for many years. Only recently have I taken a step back due to the increase in ticket prices in English football alone. It costs £20.00 for an adult ticket to Halifax who are in the 5th tier of English football. The standard of football at that level doesn’t justify its admission prices. I’ve converted a lot of my friends into having a soft spot for Ajax, my Dad included.
Q: How often do you attend a match at the Johan Cruijff Arena, and how do you logistically manage that?
I visit as often as I can. I’ ve had a club card for around seven or eight years and this season I managed to get my hands on a season ticket in VAK 411 on the Northside of the ArenA. I average about 12/13 trips a season with European games included. Matches that are played on a Sunday or any mid-week games (Champions League or Europa League) flights are very respectfully priced, anything from £40 to £80. As an example, if I make a day trip to Amsterdam I will catch the 7:30am flight out of Manchester and fly back from Amsterdam are 21:30pm. I roughly spend around £150.00 per trip if its a day trip. If I stay over, hostels and hotels are all relatively cheap.
Q: Do you follow any other clubs besides Ajax and why?
As stated above, I follow my hometown club, FC Halifax Town. Everyone should follow their home town club. Halifax are in the National League, one league below the Football League. They play at the Shay Stadium which holds are 14,000 seated and standing. I used to go week in week out and also home and away to watch them. The rise in ticket prices for the level of football they’re plying their trade in just doesn’t sit right with myself and many others.
Q: When and why did you decide to dedicate a twitter account to Ajax?
My Twitter account is dedicated to myself being an Ajax supporter from the United Kingdom. I’m more active on Instagram which my account handle is the same. I dedicate my Instagram account to everything I do that relates to Ajax. I set the account up some time ago, way back in the Frank de Boer era but at over 7,000 followers people must enjoy my content.
My dedication to the club is phenomenal.@ukajacied
Q: You are not the only one who tweets about Ajax. Why should people follow you on twitter?
I’m an Ajax supporter from the United Kingdom, my dedication to the club is phenomenal. I spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds per season following the club I love. People should follow me because I would like them to see just how much time, money and love I put into following this beautiful club from Amsterdam.
Q: What kind of content gets you the best response on Twitter? Breaking news, analyses, rumors or something else?
I haven’t really had that response on Twitter but on Instagram anything where I’ve shared an image with myself and my U.K. AJACIED flag always gets a great number of likes and comments. My biggest response was of my tattoo of Appie Nouri – people from all over Amsterdam were messaging me with praise and respect for the support I’d shown.
Q: What is your opinion on Ajax’ own twitter account? Could it be improved? Do you offer a kind of content that the official account lacks?
I think Ajax’ media team are class! I follow some of the English Premier clubs on most social media platforms and their content is nowhere near as good as it is at Ajax. The thing I like the most is the good English content with players who don’t speak Dutch, like Onana, Tadic, or Nico. I can’t offer anything that Ajax’ media team have to offer other than fan content from the UK.
Q: Do you also tweet about the Ajax youth and women’s teams? Why or why not?
I don’t really share stuff about Jong Ajax or the women’s side unless I’ve had something to do with either of them. This season I went to Jong Ajax vs Helmond Sport, which was an awful game for Jong Ajax, might I add. I used to talk to Danilo Pereira and Kenneth Taylor on Instagram a fair bit. I got talking to Danilo after playing with him on the Playstation and to Taylor after doing some posts about him when he first got the ball rolling at Ajax.
Q: Ajax gained a lot of followers across the borders after last season’s Champions League run. Is this effect noticeable to you when it comes to your Twitter account?
Absolutely! People all around the globe have heard of Ajax but if there were people who hadn’t, they definitely do now! I had friends and family gatherings at my house for all the Champions League games. I remember Schone scoring that free-kick against Madrid and me and my friend, who’s a Liverpool fan, just running and jumping around the living room. Unbelievable! I gained a lot of followers last season, mainly for sharing my reaction videos on my story and my flags I hung outside my house on the washing lines.
Q: If you look at your audience, what is the ratio between Dutch Ajax supporters and foreign fans like yourself? Has this ratio changed since you started?
I don’t think you can say there is a certain ratio between Dutch and foreign supporters. Ajax are known worldwide for their production of youth and playing football ‘The Ajax Way’, a vast majority of people outside the Netherlands will admire Ajax the same way I do. I know Ajax supporters from Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Japan, and even Curacao. In terms of following them the way I do, I only know a handful of people who travel like I do to attend matches.
Q: Would you consider expanding to other social media platforms?
I used to be part of AjaxDaily.com which was run by myself and quite a few other lads from across the globe. We brought daily news in English across all platforms, but even as a team it was incredibly hard work. Looking back at my time with AjaxDaily, expanding further than Instagram and Twitter on my own isn’t on the cards right now but who knows what the future holds.
Q: What was your favorite moment of the historic 2018/2019 season, and how did you experience that match?
I’ve got many, but this specific moment was down to the Ajax media team. I entered a competition on Ajax’ Facebook page a couple of weeks before the Real Madrid game at home. It was to win two match tickets, free flights, free hotel. I was at work on my break and this unknown number kept on calling me. Eventually, I answered and it was Ajax, they informed me I’d won the competition! It was a life-time experience. I took one of my good friends along with me. Flights from Leeds Bradford Airport to Amsterdam, collected at the airport and taken to our hotel. Upon arriving we got handed our tickets and goodie bag from Ajax. The seats were row 5 on the halfway line. The only way it would have been even better is if we came away with a win.
Q: What are your expectations of Ajax this season in the Eredivisie and the Europa League?
It was always going to be tougher this year without De Ligt and De Jong and of course Lasse. Those three players played pivotal roles in last season’s European campaign. Of course, we’ve dropped into the Europa League and face another strong Spanish side, Getafe. Valencia were no walkovers but Getafe sit almost as high in La Liga as Valencia, so it’s going to be no easy game both home and away. The Eredivisie is far from wrapped up. PSV and Feyenoord have both had dreadful starts to the first half of the season, but AZ, on the other hand, can’t knock them! They’ve come from nowhere and have a great youthful squad this year. I feel we need the likes of AZ to push us all the way, it’s what makes it more enjoyable, especially for us as fans. The players also need it to ensure they keep to the top of their game week in week out.
Q: Who is your favorite player of Ajax’ current team and why?
If you’d asked me last year and the year before that and the year before that. I’d of said Lasse Schone every single time. However, Lasse has gone on to new challenges in Italy. Right now, I’m swayed to Martinez. I love the passion and desire he has. Every single battle on the field he will always give 100%, you can always tell by the emotion on his face how much every minute means to him. I hope he goes all the way and becomes another highly rated player like Tagliafico.
Q: Who do you think is the most underrated player of Ajax’s current team and why?
Carel Eiting. I really hope he gets the chance to progress as well as the likes of Donny, Sergiño, De Jong, etc have done within the first team. I’ve seen him play for Jong Ajax so much and his passing is second to none, as well as his positioning both on and off the ball. He doesn’t try the fancy stuff, everything he does is the Ajax basics in how to progress as an Ajax academy graduate.
Q: Who is your all-time favorite Ajax player and why?
Lasse Schone! The Dane that won the hearts of all Ajacieden. I’ve always admired Schone more than any other player simply for his natural midfield ability and knowing that every freekick he got, something magical would happen. He eventually became a veteran of the recent Ajax squad but his knowledge and experience were certainly passed on to others around him. Just this Christmas it trended on all social media platforms for Lasse to come back to Ajax with the hashtag #comehomelasse.
Q: Which player from your country’s national team would make the best addition to Ajax? What would he add to the squad?
I’d have to say with his current age and where he’s playing, Jadon Sancho. He’s an out and out goal scorer and one of the rare English players to actually leave England and prove himself elsewhere in Europe. His time with Borussia Dortmund has been incredible. I feel he’d adapt to the Ajax way very quickly and bring the pace we need going forward and our counter-attacks.
Q: If you could pick any Ajax player, former and current, what would your perfect Ajax line-up look like?
André Onana, Frank de Boer, Matthijs de Ligt, Michael Reiziger, Jan Vertonghen, Jari Litmanen, Frenkie de Jong, Lasse Schöne, Clarence Seedorf, Johan Cruijff, and Dennis Bergkamp.
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