Marc Overmars (50), Director of Football Affairs at Antwerp, has already been asked twice to return to work at his old club Ajax, once when he was already working at Antwerp. This is evident from an investigation by NOS Sport and was confirmed to our editors. Overmars said no a few months ago: “Because I really enjoy Antwerp,” says the Dutchman.
Overmars was guilty of inappropriate behavior during his time at Ajax, where he was a very successful technical director between 2012 and 2022. He was also thrown out in February 2022. Six weeks later he started working as Director of Football Affairs at Antwerp. A bull’s eye, because in the following season the Great Old won the national title for the first time in 66 years and reached the Champions League.
Research by NOS Sport shows that Ajax has tried to bring back the successful TD twice since his dismissal. The first time less than four weeks after his departure. But also when Overmars was already working at Antwerp. A few months ago, Ajax was looking for a successor for the dismissed Sven Mislintat – dismissed in September due to the sporting malaise. Danny Blind was appointed as technical commissioner to coordinate the resurrection of the Amsterdam team. One of the first actions he took? Overmars asked whether he did not want to return. “Even if there is only a one percent chance that it will work,” Blind thought at the time.
Overmars said no to the offer. “I think if I had pushed through and said I was open to it, things would have been set in motion. But I want to stay in Antwerp. I really enjoy it here.”
Overmars is currently unable to carry out any activities at his club. In November 2023, he was suspended for one year by the Dutch Sports Jurisdiction Institute. That suspension was taken over by FIFA. As a result, he cannot and may not carry out his activities in Antwerp. Overmars did appeal.
Overmars had difficulty following his old club for a long time. “I haven’t been able to watch Ajax matches for a year and a half. Too painful. Now I see fragments.” Although he does not want to rule out a return to the Arena in the long term. “Don’t know. Amsterdam feels like my city. I cherish very fond memories of my time at Ajax, but my physical shelf life has become shorter. Then you might also make different choices in life,” he tells NOS. Overmars points to his heart problems. At the end of 2022 he suffered a heart attack. He recently had an internal defibrillator installed. “Everything takes a lot of energy. I have to rest a lot to function a bit. It has eaten me to pieces… And there is anger. Sadness for what I did to my family. How could it have been solved differently at Ajax? I think that the Ajax board panicked and acted accordingly. I don’t want to play a victim role, but I think they pushed me out.”
About transfer from Avila: “I thought: God, what are they getting?”
Overmars did do business with his old club in the summer of 2023. Gaston Avila moved from Antwerp to Ajax. For no less than 14.5 million euros. “I said to my colleague (at Antwerp, ed.): ‘I want to stay out of it a bit. You just do the contact, the settlement and so on.’ I sent Mislintat one message: ‘This must be it.’ It was the fastest deal ever. But it was also difficult for me, because I thought: damn, what are they getting into? You have to sell something to the club you love. At Ávila I thought: he is not a typical Ajax player.”
PORTRAIT. Bookworm with enormous walking ability and a product of Neerpede: who is Antwerp acquisition Eliot Matazo?
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