AZ Alkmaar

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This article is about the men's association football team. For the women's team, see AZ Alkmaar (women).
AZ
AZ Alkmaar.svg
Full name Alkmaar Zaanstreek
Nickname(s) Cheeseheads
Short name AZ
Founded 10 May 1967; 49 years ago (1967-05-10)
Ground AFAS Stadion
Ground Capacity 17,023
Executive director
Technical director
Robert Eenhoorn
Max Huiberts
Chairman René Neelissen
Manager John van den Brom
League Eredivisie
2015–16 Eredivisie, 4th
Website Club home page
Current season

Alkmaar Zaanstreek ([ˈɑlkmaːr ˈzaːnstreːk]), better known as AZ Alkmaar or simply AZ (Dutch pronunciation: [aːˈzɛt]), is a Dutch professional football club from Alkmaar and the Zaanstreek. The club plays in the Eredivisie, the highest professional football league in the Netherlands, and hosts home games at the AFAS Stadion.

AZ has won the Eredivisie twice, in 1980–81 and 2008–09. In the same season as their first league title, they also reached the UEFA Cup Final, which they lost to Ipswich Town. In addition, the team has won the KNVB Cup on four occasions.

History[edit]

1954–1972: Foundation and first years[edit]

AZ was founded on 10 May 1967 as AZ '67, the result of a merger of Alkmaar '54 and FC Zaanstreek. FC Zaanstreek was formed in 1964, continuing the professional adventure of the Kooger Football Club (KFC). KFC had been founded in 1910, had nearly become National Champion in 1934 through a narrow loss to Ajax in the finals, and had been professional since 1955.

In 1964, the brothers Cees and Klaas Molenaar, former players for KFC and owners of a growing appliance store chain, sought to create a powerful football team in Zaanstreek by merging the two local professional teams: KFC and Zaanlandsche Football Club.

After this merger failed, they successfully merged KFC (now "FC Zaanstreek") with Alkmaar '54; the team would be based in Alkmaar. Partially through the hiring of expensive foreign players, the new club soon acquired large debts.

1972–1985: The Molenaar years[edit]

Fortunately, in 1972, the Molenaar brothers bailed it out and invested heavily in the club, to the point that AZ '67 were successful in the late 1970s and early '80s, regularly playing European football from 1977 to 1982 while also winning three KNVB Cups over that period.

After four close league campaigns, AZ finally became Dutch champions in 1981, becoming the only team other than the "big three" of Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV to do so in a 44-year period spanning from 1965 to 2009 (when AZ once again won the league title). They won the title with overwhelming power, winning 27 of 34 matches and only losing once while scoring a club record 101 goals and conceding just 30. That same season, AZ reached the final of the UEFA Cup, losing 5–4 on aggregate to Ipswich Town. The next year, in the European Cup, they lost in the second round 3–2 on aggregate to Liverpool.

Georg Keßler was AZ's manager over most of these years (1978–82), while star players included: Kees Kist, the club's highest ever goalscorer with 212 goals and the first ever Dutchman to win the European Golden Boot in 1979 when he scored 34 goals in a season; Jan Peters, who played 120 games for AZ during this period scoring 30 goals from midfield; and Hugo Hovenkamp, who played 239 games in defence for AZ from 1975–83, as well as receiving 31 caps for the Netherlands national team from 1977–83 and playing each game in UEFA Euro 1980 while an AZ player. Additional stars included John Metgod, who spent six years at AZ playing 195 games as a defender, scoring 26 goals including a goal against Ipswich in the final of the UEFA Cup. Like Hovenkamp, Metgod was also included in the Dutch squad for Euro 1980. Meanwhile, Danish forward Kristen Nygaard spent ten years at AZ, scoring 104 goals in 363 games between 1972 and 1982.

1985–1993: The interim years[edit]

The club deteriorated after Klaas Molenaar left the club in 1985 (Cees died in 1979). AZ were relegated in 1988 from the Eredivisie.

1993–2009: The Scheringa years[edit]

The involvement of businessman Dirk Scheringa in the mid-1990s marked the revival of the club as AZ returned to the Eredivisie in 1998.

After a 22-year hiatus from European football, AZ appeared in the 2004–05 UEFA Cup, advancing to the semi-finals. The second leg of the semi-final against Sporting Clube de Portugal had a heart-breaking conclusion when Sporting scored in the 122nd minute (two minutes into stoppage time) to reach an aggregate score of 4–4; Sporting advanced to the final via the away goals rule. In the same season, AZ finished third in the Eredivisie, thus also qualifying for the subsequent season's UEFA Cup. These were great achievements for the club which does not have a similar sized fanbase relative to Eredivisie and European rivals; AZ's home ground until the 2006–07 season, the Alkmaarderhout, had a capacity of only 8,390.

In the summer of 2006, the club moved to a new 17,000 capacity stadium AZ Stadion.

Despite playing strongly for the majority of the 2006–07 season, AZ's season ended in disappointment. First, entering the last matchday of the 2006–07 Eredivisie season, AZ led PSV and Ajax on goal difference at the top of the league table, but ended up third after losing their last match against the eventually-relegated, bottom-of-the-table Excelsior, who played with ten men for 80 minutes. Additionally, AZ then lost the KNVB Cup final to Ajax 8–7 after a penalty shoot-out, while also falling to Ajax over two play-off games for participation in the Champions League. After the season, key players like Tim de Cler, Danny Koevermans and Shota Arveladze left the team.

AZ versus Larissa in a 2007–08 UEFA Cup match.

A remarkable run ended in the 2007–08 season: after AZ lost a group stage match against Everton (3–2) in the UEFA Cup, the club's unbeaten run of 32 home matches in European competitions – lasting from 1977 to 2007 – ended. AZ had a poor season, suffering elimination in the first round of the KNVB Cup and the group stage of the UEFA Cup, as well as finishing the 2007–08 Eredivisie in 11th place. Towards the latter stages of the season, in March 2008, AZ manager Louis van Gaal had initially tendered his resignation, but after protests the players and directors, however, he withdrew his resignation.

The 2008–09 season had an unpromising start after two opening defeats against NAC Breda and ADO Den Haag. However, starting with a 1–0 victory over defending league champions PSV, AZ did not lose a game in its next 28 matches, including a run of 11-straight matches where AZ did not concede an opposition goal. Three weeks before the end of the season, AZ became Eredivisie champions, edging nearest title rivals Twente and Ajax comfortably.

Being league champions, AZ qualified for the Champions League for the second time, but only took four points from six matches and finished bottom of their group.

2009–present[edit]

For the 2009–10 season, Ronald Koeman succeeded Louis van Gaal, who had departed to manage Bayern Munich after leading AZ to the championship. Koeman was officially hired on 17 May 2009, but on 5 December, AZ announced he was no longer in charge of the club after losing 7 of his first 16 games. Former Rangers and Zenit Saint Petersburg manager Dick Advocaat took over for the remainder of the season. Under Advocaat, AZ achieved solid results and secured European football for the next season.

For the 2010–11 season, AZ appointed Gertjan Verbeek as its new manager. They finished the 2010–11 Eredivisie in fourth place, thus securing Europa League football for the next season, while in the KNVB Cup, AZ reached the last eight, where they were beaten by rivals Ajax by a 1–0 scoreline. AZ also finished third in their Europa League group, thus failing to qualifying for the competition's knockout round.

In the 2011–12 season, AZ finished fourth in the Eredivisie, though performed significantly better in cup competitions, reaching the semi-finals in the KNVB Cup (losing to Heracles Almelo after extra time) and the quarter-finals in the Europa League. In the latter, the club ultimately lost to Valencia after having defeated Udinese, Anderlecht, Malmö FF, Austria Wien, Metalist Kharkiv, Aalesund and Baumit Jablonec to reach that stage.

On 21 December 2011, during the quarter-finals of the 2011–12 KNVB Cup, a 19-year-old Ajax fan invaded the Amsterdam Arena pitch in the 36th minute with Ajax winning 1–0, attacking AZ goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado. The fan slipped and Alvarado kicked the fan twice, prompting the referee to issue the goalkeeper a red card. Following this, AZ manager Gertjan Verbeek ordered his players to leave the pitch for the dressing room in protest. The match was later played on 19 January 2012, with Alvarado's red card rescinded; AZ won 3–2.

The 2012–13 season started in the Europa League with a qualifying play-off round against Guus Hiddinks Anzhi Makhachkala; AZ were hammered 6–0 on aggregate. Disappointingly, AZ finished tenth in the 2012–13 Eredivisie, although the club won the 2012–13 KNVB Cup after defeating PSV 2–1 in the final. As cup winners, AZ automatically qualified for the 2013–14 Europa League.

In September 2013, just one day after emphatically beating PSV, at the time the league leaders, Verbeek was dismissed as first team manager by the club due to "a lack of chemistry" between management and players.[1] He was replaced by Dick Advocaat for the remainder of the season until a permanent replacement could be found. Advocaat took AZ to the semi-finals of the KNVB Cup, the quarter-finals of the Europa League and eighth in the league, ultimately losing to Groningen in the Europa League play-off final round (their 58th game of the season, a club record).

The 2014–15 season began with a new manager, former Heerenveen manager and Ajax great, Marco van Basten.

Current squad[edit]

As of 6 August 2016

For recent transfers, see List of Dutch football transfers summer 2016

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Uruguay GK Sergio Rochet
2 Sweden DF Mattias Johansson
3 Netherlands DF Rens van Eijden
4 Netherlands DF Ron Vlaar (captain)
5 Netherlands DF Ridgeciano Haps
6 Netherlands MF Ben Rienstra
7 Iran FW Alireza Jahanbakhsh
8 Netherlands MF Joris van Overeem
9 Netherlands FW Wout Weghorst
11 Sweden FW Muamer Tanković
12 Greece DF Pantelis Hatzidiakos
14 Netherlands DF Jop van der Linden
15 Netherlands MF Guus Til
No. Position Player
16 Netherlands GK Gino Coutinho
18 Morocco MF Iliass Bel Hassani
19 Netherlands FW Dabney dos Santos
20 Netherlands MF Mats Seuntjens
21 Netherlands FW Robert Mühren
22 Netherlands MF Thomas Ouwejan
23 Netherlands DF Derrick Luckassen
25 Netherlands GK Nick Olij
26 Netherlands MF Jeremy Helmer
27 Nigeria FW Fred Friday
28 Trinidad and Tobago FW Levi García
29 Netherlands DF Fernando Lewis
30 Belgium MF Stijn Wuytens

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
10 Norway MF Markus Henriksen (at Hull City until 31 December 2016)
34 Netherlands DF Joris Kramer (at FC Dordrecht until 30 June 2017)

Jong AZ[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
31 Netherlands GK Koen Bucker
32 Netherlands DF Levi Opdam
33 Netherlands DF Justin Bakker
35 Netherlands DF Owen Wijndal
37 Netherlands FW Nick Doodeman
38 Netherlands FW Ferdy Druijf
39 Netherlands FW Jelle Duin
40 Netherlands GK Jasper Schendelaar
43 Iceland FW Viktor Karl Einarsson
No. Position Player
45 Netherlands MF Jamie Jacobs
46 Turkey MF Furkan Kurban
47 Netherlands DF Vincent Regeling
48 Sweden FW Zia Sakirovski
49 Netherlands MF Teun Koopmeiners
50 Netherlands FW Robin Schouten
51 Netherlands GK Maarten List
52 Netherlands GK Joey Roggeveen

Stadium and sponsor[edit]

See also: AFAS Stadion
AFAS Stadion, AZ's home venue in Alkmaar

AZ play their home games at the AFAS Stadion, located in the southern part of the city of Alkmaar. The stadium, which is directly owned by the club, was opened in 2006 and replaced the old Alkmaarderhout venue as the DSB Stadion. The stadium currently has a capacity of 17,023. During its design stages, the name Victorie Stadion was frequently used, referring to the Dutch War of Independence, the phrase "n Alkmaar begint de victorie" (Victory begins in Alkmaar) in particular. Until now, this name has not been officially in use, the board instead opting for sponsorship deals because of financial motives. To this day, however, the name maintains a good share of support among the fans.

In order to further increase revenue, AZ's board of directors decided to expand the capacity of the new stadium to at least 30,000 somewhere in the future. The extension will be realised by constructing a second tier to three of the four stands. The main stand with all technical areas, VIP and sponsor and media facilities will remain in place. These plans, however, were put on hold after the DSB bankruptcy and there are no current plans to increase the capacity.

In October 2009 sponsor DSB Bank was declared bankrupt. The stadium name temporarily changed from DSB Stadion to AZ Stadion, as it was considered undesirable that the stadium was linked with a non-existent bank. In February 2010, a new main sponsor was found in construction works service provider BUKO, based in Beverwijk.

A year later, in the 2010–11 season, AFAS Erp Software took over as official shirt sponsor, also taking over duties as stadium sponsor. The current external name of the ground is the AFAS Stadion.

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

AZ Eredivisie Results 1976 to 2009

International[edit]

1 As Alkmaar '54

AZ in Europe[edit]

Below is a table with AZ's international results in the past seasons.

UEFA current ranking[edit]

As of 13/04/2016[3]
Rank Country Team Points
42 France Marseille 46.516
43 Czech Republic Viktoria Plzeň 44.986
44 Netherlands AZ 43.432
45 Portugal Braga 43.083
46 Belgium Club Brugge 43.000

Domestic results[edit]

Below is a table with AZ's domestic results since the introduction of professional football in 1956.

Notable (former) players[edit]

For a list of former AZ players with a Wikipedia article, see Category:AZ Alkmaar players.

The players below had senior international cap(s) for their respective countries. Players whose name is listed represented their countries while playing for AZ and its predecessor AZ'67.

Managers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11912/8948012/eredivisie-az-alkmaar-announce-surprise-sacking-of-coach-gertjan-verbeek
  2. ^ http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/news/newsid=2075981.html
  3. ^ "UEFA rankings for club competitions". uefa.com. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 

External links[edit]