A major soccer club in Europe has taken its recent championship trophy and melted it down — in order to craft miniature stars that it then gifted to its most dedicated fans.
Ajax, a legendary soccer club based in Amsterdam, won the Eredivisie title this year as the best team in the Netherlands, but had to play the great majority of its matches in empty stadiums, physically apart from its fans, because of the pandemic.
That led the team to decide, according to its website, to take the Eredivisie trophy, melt it down, and create mementos of the trophy for Ajax’s 42,000 season ticket holders.
“This season, we have largely had to play without our fans,” said General Director Edwin van der Sar, then adding. “Well, without them sitting in the stands, at least. Despite this, we have felt their support every week. On the way to the stadium, on social media and in our personal contacts.”
“Previously, when we said, ‘This title is for you,’ we were expressing how we were doing it for the fans however sharing the trophy is the ultimate proof that we really are.’ After a turbulent year, we are ensuring our fans feel part of our championship.”
“We have really missed our supporters over the past season here in Amsterdam and during all our matches,” added team captain Dusan Tadic. “We therefore want to dedicate this title to our fans and can’t wait to play in front of them again.”
Each of the eligible fans will get a star weighing 3.45 grams (or an eighth of an ounce), with 0.06 grams of the metal coming directly from the trophy — the 35th in the storied team’s history.
On Wednesday, the club released a video showing how the trophy was melted down the stars were created.
Ajax recently came out against the European Super League proposal that some giant Spanish, English, and Italian clubs were pushing for — and then withdrew after fans from around the world expressed their discontent.
While the club is dominant in its home country, it’s also gained a reputation in recent years for developing young players who go on to the world’s most elite teams, starting with an academy that’s regarded as one of the world’s best.
Ajax also has a connection to reggae legend Bob Marley, if you’re looking for more reasons to love the club. His “Three Little Birds” has been adopted as an unofficial anthem for its fans, and as the Bob Marley website notes, his son Ky-Mani sang the song in the Amsterdam stadium for fans at a 2012 match.
Though Ajax made this grand gesture to give their trophy to the fans, they won’t be without one to commemorate the win. The article on the Ajax site notes, “Since it has been an extraordinary football year, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has given Ajax a second trophy as an exception, giving the trophy a place in the trophy cabinet.”