During the late 1960's and early 1970's Rinus Michels and Ajax took flowing, attacking soccer and turned it into a science. This science has become widely known as 'Total Football.'
The fortunes of Ajax and the Dutch national team have always been inexorably linked. As it was in the 70's, 80's, and 90's Ajax's stars of today are the Dutch international stars of tomorrow: Cruyff, Van Basten, Kluivert etc.
In the early 1990's Louis Van Gaal and his staff took over at Ajax, reshaping the team, and in less than six years conquered Europe with what was essentially a youth team. Many of these former Ajax stars have gone on to become the backbone of the Dutch national team, and are among the world's best players.
Kormelink and Seeverens,' 'The Coaching Philosophies of Louis van Gaal and the Ajax Coaches,' is a wonderful book, that details Louis van Gaal's time at Ajax, including system/tactics, drills/training, youth development, goalkeeping and general philosophy. This book takes you behind the scenes of one Europe's most influential and respected clubs, allowing the reader the unique experience of critically observing Ajax through eyes of one of football's greatest minds. Van Gaal and his staff meticulously dissect all aspects of the Ajax system from the ground up, providing coaches, players and fans with an indispensable guide to attacking football.
Litmanen, Kluivert, Davids, Overmars, Kanu, Seedorf, the De Boers, Rijkaard, Van der Sar, Blind etc, all make an appearance, and Van Gaal's comments on their abilities, strengths and roles within the system make for some excellent reading. One of the most fascinating parts of the book from a fan's perspective, is Van Gaal's incredibly detailed account of Ajax's preparations for the Champions League final against AC Milan. He takes you through drills, training, tactics, even the warm up --not to mention the game itself, with the thoroughness one would expect from one of football's perfectionists.
Ultimately this is a book of philosophy and ideas, and is among the very best (of the many) football books I've read. Interestingly enough, it's also extremely accessible. While coaches at all levels will find it an extremely valuable resource, players and fans will find it equally informative. I highly recommend it to all fans of Dutch soccer and attacking football.