Interview of the Month / November 1980

‘I would even have played football for free at Ajax'
A dream came true for Martin Wiggemansen

This summer a dream came true for Martin Wiggemansen. Cause he signed a three year contract at Ajax. The 22-year-old player from Amsterdam who came over from F.C. Amsterdam for 300.000 guilders did not have a lot of time to dream on though, because immediately he had to give everyting at Ajax. Wiggemansen tells about his transfer and his first months at Ajax open-heartedly. He also looks back on his football carreer up until now and his youth.

Martin Wiggemansen scores during FC Amsterdam - Roda JC (March 24th 1978)

After the goal Wiggemansen kicks the ball against the ropes very hard again

Roda-keeper Jan Jongbloed takes offence at Wiggemansen doing this

At FC Amsterdam Wiggemansen regularly played for empty stands


From his early days Wiggemansen has been a fan of Ajax. The born player from Amsterdam regularly went to matches and still knows very well how this went in those days. “With a friend of mine we would step on the tram early in the morning in Amsterdam. In the trams we could get a free ticket almost every time, cause in the trams they placed match tickets on a window to announce the next match of Ajax. At a certain moment we were allowed to take those along for free if we asked the tram conductor nicely and then we went to Ajax.” A second opportunity for Wiggemansen to visit a match in stadium De Meer was to sneak into a food elevator to then witness the match from the roof. After a match of Ajax he made a little extra money through taking away cushions from the seats. Those cushions were put there against the cold and to let the supporters sit a little more comfortable. Formerly Wiggemansen had one idol and that was Johan Neeskens. “His features and his immovability hugely appealed to me. In those day I also had an agenda with number 7(the number of Neeskens).” That Wiggemansen has experienced the times of glory of Ajax from closeby turns out from the fact that he has gone to two European cup finals. In 1971 Ajax-Panathinaikos (2-0) on Wembley and in 1972 Ajax-Inter (2-0) in stadium De Kuip.

Last clubs

“On my eighth I started playing football at DEC from Amsterdam. I have played there for two years and after this I went to Zeeburgia.” Wiggemansen played there for six years before he left for FC Amsterdam. At FC Amsterdam he played in the C-team the first year, also called Young FC Amsterdam. From the second season he became a semi-professional and he ended up in a good team with routined players. “In the beginning I was really ragged in the dressing room and on the training pitch. You know the typical football humor and the fierce tackles or remarks at trainings. They were really testing me but I did not care and moreover I've come out of it stronger. I come from Amsterdam myself so the humor did appeal to me. We have made incredibly much fun and laughed a lot, but if we were finally on the pitch we were razor-sharp.” The quite fresh player of Ajax can remember two matches of Ajax against FC Amsterdam in particular. The first match he refers to comes from the season '74-'75. (Ajax - FC Amsterdam 2-4) “Geert Meijer made two goals in stadium De Meer and of course it wasn't a surprise that we won there quite easilly.” The second match that Wiggemansen still has in his head, is the 5-1 defeat of FC Amsterdam in stadium De Meer (season 77-78). The reason for that is that he made the comforting goal for FC Amsterdam.

Wiggemansen during Telstar - FC Amsterdam (April 15th 1978)

During FC Amsterdam - FC Volendam Martin Wiggemansen scores the 1-0 for the home club (May 4th 1978)

Wiggemansen played at FC Amsterdam since his days at the juniors

Team of FC Amsterdam of the season 1978/1979. Standing, fourth from the right, is Wiggemansen

In the season 1979/1980 Wiggemansen plays in the first division with FC Amsterdam, and plays against Heracles among others

With FC Amsterdam Wiggemansen plays in the Intertoto in the season 1977/1978


The capricious left-winger had already totally gotten used to the fact that he would be shining with F.C. Amsterdam the coming year, but from one moment to the other everything changed and he could go to Ajax. Although Ajax had already showed interest two years earlier, it still came as a surprise. “Two years ago I was playing a good second half of the season and then Ajax was interested in me. They needed a left striker and were watching me from the stands. I had been informed in advance and felt good.” Too bad that this day Wiggemansen played a very bad match. It turned out that Ajax knew enough and did not appear again.

After the departure of Simon Tahamata last summer Ajax was again in need of a left-winger. Eventually Ajax ended up at Wiggemansen. “I still remember clearly how I found out that I would be going to Ajax. Cause I thought it must be a joke”. Wiggemansen was in a training camp with FC Amsterdam in De Lutte. During the match-talk he heard from trainer Van de Meent that he would not be playing and could pack his bags. “After all we had to depart for Amsterdam immediately. Apparantly Ajax did not want to lose any time.” On Friday evening he signed a contract during the Amsterdam-tournament and he could call himself an Ajax-player. “I have only been in the stadium for a little while. Journalists threw one question after another at me. Of course those guys also weren't blind. Cause they saw me walking around there with boardmembers of Ajax. After the matters had been settled I immediately went home.” For the 23-year-old the personal negotiations were a formality for the player from Amsterdam. “I would also have played for free. FC Amsterdam gave him the total cooperation at this transfer and I'm still grateful for this. The only thing I thought was a pity is that I had to give up my job at Delta Lloyd. But on the other hand I just could't let this chance pass me by. The Monday after this I have gone to my work for the last time with cake to say good bye to my colleagues. The day after the negotiations had been concluded Wiggemansen made his debut for Ajax in the Amsterdam Tournament against AZ 67.

For Wiggemansen the season 1980/1981 begins with the training camp of FC Amsterdam in hotel De Bloemenbeek in De Lutte

At last Sunday August 10th Wiggemansen made his debut for Ajax during the Amsterdam 705-tournament

Ajax wins the final of the Amsterdam-tournament of AZ'67

At August 1980 Wiggemansen played his first competition match for Ajax. In stadium De Meer FC Wageningen won with no less than 2-4 (August 30th 1980)

First months at Ajax

In his first months Wiggemansen has been able to make a reasonably impression at Ajax. By some people he is already compared to Piet Keizer, although specially the composed attitude is striking for both football players. Wiggemansen himself thinks that he should become way more constant, but despite this he has up untill now played along in many matches and a little while ago this was more than he could dream about. But the prepartion was also really tough for him, also because he wasn't transfered until quite late when all of the teams were already in the middle of their preparation. Moreover he went from three or four trainings a week to seven. “In the preparation in De Lutte (Ajax was also in training camp there) we for example had a training at seven o'clock in the morning, at eleven o'clock and at half past two a more intensive training with the ball. And in the evening we played against a team from the first class and after this I was so tired I couldn't even sleep. And the next morning Bobby Haarms was ready to go again! The first one and a half month I have constantly trained individually with Bobby to totally get into shape. I have to say that now I reap what I sowed.” According to Wiggemansen every training at Ajax are at daggers drawn.

Wiggemansen made his debut for Ajax in the second competition match against Roda JC. After the break he replaced nobody else than Sören Lerby to make up for the 0-2 arrears. After Martin van Geel had made the connection goal the big moment was there for Wiggemansen in the 56th minute. He found a way to make the ball end up in the goal out of a pass by Dick Schoenaker. Scoring at your debut isn't a thing a lot of players get a chance to do and by doing this Wiggemansen ended up in an illustrous line of football players among whom Johan Cruijff. Eventually the match was won by Ajax with 4-2.

But there are three more matches Wiggemansen can still remember like they were played yesterday. The first is Bayern Munich against Ajax for the European cup 1. “First we had to play them away. I thought it was a bit strange that we drove right into the hallway of the Olympia stadium and that the bus stopped in front of our dressing room. It was just everything that was big there.” The match turned out into a disaster for Ajax. After Arnesen had still put Ajax on an advantage Bayern let there be no mistake about it who was the better team, 5-1. The return seemed to be a formality in Amsterdam, but it still seemed to become tensed. In the 16th minute a lost shot of Arnesen ended up in front of the feet of Wiggemansen who could dribble the 1-0 into the goal. Two minutes later it was again a goal when Frank Rijkaard signed for the 2-0 with a devastating shot. Ajax pushed on, but could not score again in the first half. Fifteen minutes before the end of the match Ajax almost came on 3-0, when Wiggemansen gave a pass on Kieft who then shot the ball on the bar. “If it would've become 3-0 then, then I would have been very curious if Bayern would keep standing. Then we would have had fifteen minutes to score the fourth goal and then we might have scored it as well.” In stead of 3-0 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge eventually scored 2-1 which means that the European adventure for Ajax is already over this season.

Martin Wiggemansen: left leg and a big mouth

Pass by Martin Wiggemansen during Ajax - FC Groningen 5-1 (September 28th 1980)

Awaiting a possible place in the strating line-up we are at the moment still seeing Wiggemansen observe things from the dug-out

They shall not hear Wiggemansen complain very quickly

During the important European Cup-match of Ajax against Bayern Munich Wiggemansen scores an important goal. Ajax wins with 2-1 of the West-Germans, but despite this it is eliminated (November 5th 1980)

During Ajax - FC Twente this month Wiggemansen is allowed to come in from the bench by technical advisor Johan Cruijff (November 30th 1980)

Ajax-FC Twente (5-3) was the last match of November and what a match it was! “A very strange match of course. I sat on the bench and we got on a 1-3 arrears. Then Cruijjf comes down from the stands for whatever reason it might have been. I must say that the media totally blew it out of proportions, while there wasn't really a lot going on. Beenhakker just stayed calm and we still won the match with 5-3. I came in fifteen minutes before the end of the match when it was still 3-3 and then it is still really nice to be able to contribute to the victory. All in all I was quite satisfied about my first months at Ajax and I hope to play and win a lot more with Ajax.”

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