While we continue to worry about Atlanta United’s concerning start, lack of attack, Barco’s hair, and what exactly is wrong with Pity Martinez, it is somewhat refreshing to turn our eyes to a competitive match 4200 miles away. This afternoon, Tottenham Hotspur hosts AFC Ajax in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
In a game that should mean little to a struggling MLS squad across the pond, Spurs versus Ajax retains some competitive relevance to two of Atlanta United’s most notable figures. From 2010 to 2014, Darren Eales was Director of Football Administration for Tottenham Hotspur before Arthur Blank was able to pluck him away for Atlanta United. Leaving Spurs on good terms, Darren has always spoke highly of his former club throughout his tenure with the Five Stripes. This leaves little doubt that he is pulling for Spurs to move forward to the final.
As rumors about Frank de Boer swirled in the offseason, Dirty South Soccer reported extensively on his accomplishments and issues. In short, de Boer is Atlanta’s manager because of his success at AFC Ajax. With four consecutive domestic titles, de Boer coached Ajax in the group stages and some qualifying rounds of the Champions League and knows the competition well. De Boer’s Ajax team even beat Atlanta United’s former manager Tata Martino in 2014.
The President and Manager even have a little friendly wager on the outcome. Eales tells Dirty South Soccer that if Ajax are victorious he’ll wear a pair of clogs for the day and we will serve Stamppot in the training ground restaurant. If Spurs win, De Boer has to wear a pair of a Spurs slippers and we will have fish and chips in the restaurant.
Eales added, “Needless to say that given the choice of cuisine – everyone at the Training Ground is rooting for a Tottenham victory!”
While Ajax has had more European success, winning the European Cup/Champions League four times, Tottenham have the edge in head to head, winning twice against the Dutch squad. For the next few weeks, it’s Eales versus de Boer in this European clash.
So, in this Atlanta United civil war, which side do you think prevails?
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