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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 matches at the AFAS Stadion.
|Full name||Alkmaar Zaanstreek|
|Founded||10 May 1967|
|Executive director |
|Robert Eenhoorn |
|Manager||John van den Brom|
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.
1954–1972: Foundation and first yearsEdit
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 yearsEdit
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 matches for AZ during this period scoring 30 goals from midfield; and Hugo Hovenkamp, who played 239 matches in defence for AZ from 1975–83, as well as receiving 31 caps for the Netherlands national team from 1977–1983 and playing each match in UEFA Euro 1980 while an AZ player. Additional stars included John Metgod, who spent six years at AZ playing 195 matches as a defender, scoring 26 goals including a goal against Ipswich Town 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 matches between 1972 and 1982.
1985–1993: The interim yearsEdit
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Co-owner Cees Molenaar died in 1979. AZ Alkmaar deteriorated after his brother, Klaas Molenaar, left the club in 1985. AZ was relegated in 1988 from the Eredivisie.
1993–2009: The Scheringa yearsEdit
The involvement of businessman Dirk Scheringa in the mid-1990s marked the revival of the club as AZ returned to the Eredivisie in 1998. 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 matches for participation in the Champions League. After the season, key players like Tim de Cler, Danny Koevermans and Shota Arveladze left the team.
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, he rescinded 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 match 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.
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 matches. 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 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 Hiddink's Anzhi Makhachkala. AZ was 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. 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 match of the season, a club record).
The 2014–15 season began with a new manager, former Heerenveen manager and Ajax great Marco van Basten. However, after just three matches into the season, Van Basten resigned as manager to become assistant manager under Alex Pastoor, citing heavy stress as the main reason. Pastoor was the interim manager during two matches under Van Basten's absence and received the official title on 16 September, but contract negotiations failed and he left the club just two days later. A week later, John van den Brom was appointed manager. Under Van den Brom, AZ quickly rose up to the sub-top, eventually finished the season in third place, surpassing Feyenoord on the final season's matchday and qualifying for the 2015–16 Europa League.
The 2015–16 Eredivisie started with AZ selling most of its first-team players from the previous season during the summer transfer period. As a response, AZ bought players from other Dutch clubs, notably Vincent Janssen from Almere City, Alireza Jahanbakhsh from NEC and Ben Rienstra from PEC Zwolle. In December, it was announced free agent Ron Vlaar signed a contract until the end of the season after training with the club for a few weeks prior. Vlaar quickly became team captain and helped lift AZ from tenth place to a fourth-place finish in the league. Along this rise, new signing Vincent Janssen scored 27 goals for the club, earning him the Eredivisie top goalscorer title. In the 2015–16 KNVB Cup, AZ made it to the semi-finals, losing 3–1 to Feyenoord. AZ won the first two qualification rounds to qualify for the 2015–16 Europa League group stage, but finished last in their group.
At the start of the 2016–17 Eredivisie, AZ sold last season's performer Vincent Janssen to Tottenham Hotspur and long-time midfielder Markus Henriksen to Hull City. In the 2016–17 Europa League, AZ finished second in Group D, surviving the group stage for the third time in five seasons.
- As of 1 March 2019
For recent transfers, see List of Dutch football transfers winter 2017–18
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loanEdit
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For the reserve squad of AZ see: Jong AZ.
Stadium and sponsorEdit
AZ play its home matches 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 "In 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. However, to this day, 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 stadium sponsor. The current external name of the ground is the AFAS Stadion.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
- Eerste Divisie
- Tweede Divisie
- Runners-up (1): 1963–641
- KNVB Cup
- Johan Cruyff Shield
- UEFA Cup
AZ in EuropeEdit
Below is a table with AZ's international results in the past seasons.
|AZ in Europe|
|Year(s)||Tournament||Result||Opponents (home result, away result)|
|1977–78||UEFA Cup||Second Round||Red Boys Differdange (11–1, 5–0); Barcelona (1–1, 1–1p)|
|1978–79||Cup Winners' Cup||First Round||Ipswich Town (0–0, 0–2)|
|1980–81||UEFA Cup||Final||Red Boys Differdange (6–0, 4–0); Levski Sofia (5–0, 1–1); Radnički Niš (5–0, 2–2); Lokeren (2–0, 0–1); Sochaux (3–2, 1–1); Ipswich Town (4–2, 0–3)|
|1981–82||European Cup||Round of 16||Start (1–0, 3–1); Liverpool (2–2, 2–3)|
|1982–83||Cup Winners' Cup||Round of 16||Limerick (1–0, 1–1); Internazionale (1–0, 0–2)|
|2004–05||UEFA Cup||Semi-final||PAOK (2–1, 3–2); Group F with Auxerre (home: 2–0), Amica Wronki (away: 3–1), Rangers (home: 1–0), Grazer AK (away: 0–2), result: group winner; Alemannia Aachen (2–1, 0–0); Shakhtar Donetsk (2–1, 3–1); Villarreal (1–1, 2–1); Sporting CP (3–2aet/a, 1–2)|
|2005–06||UEFA Cup||Round of 32||Krylya Sovetov Samara (a3–1, 3–5); Group D with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (away: 2–1), Middlesbrough (home: 0–0), Litex Lovech (away: 2–0), Grasshopper (home: 1–0), result: group runners-up; Real Betis (2–1aet, 0–2)|
|2006–07||UEFA Cup||Quarter-final||Kayserispor (3–2, 1–1); Group C with Braga (home: 3–0), Grasshopper (away: 5–2), Slovan Liberec (home: 2–2), Sevilla (away: 2–1), result: group winner; Fenerbahçe (a2–2, 3–3); Newcastle United (a2–0, 2–4); Werder Bremen (0–0, 1–4)|
|2007–08||UEFA Cup||Group Stage||Paços de Ferreira (0–0, 1–0); Group A with Zenit (away: 1–1), Larissa (home: 1–0), 1. FC Nürnberg (away: 1–2), Everton (home: 2–3), result: 4th place in group|
|2009–10||Champions League||Group Stage||Group H with Olympiacos (0–0, 0–1), Standard Liège (1–1, 1–1), Arsenal (1–1, 1–4), result: 4th place in group|
|2010–11||Europa League||Group Stage||IFK Göteborg (2–0, 0–1); Aktobe (2–0, 1–2); Group E with BATE Borisov (3–0, 1–4), Sheriff Tiraspol (2–1, 1–1), Dynamo Kyiv (1–2, 0–2), result: 3rd place in group|
|2011–12||Europa League||Quarter-final||Baumit Jablonec (2–0, 1–1); Aalesund (6–0, 1–2); Group G with Metalist Kharkiv (1–1, 1–1), Austria Wien (2–2, 2–2), Malmö FF (4–1, 0–0), result: group runners-up; Anderlecht (1–0, 1–0); Udinese (2–0, 1–2); Valencia (2–1, 0–4)|
|2012–13||Europa League||Play-off round||Anzhi Makhachkala (0–1, 0–5)|
|2013–14||Europa League||Quarter-final||Atromitos (3–1, 0–2); Group L with Maccabi Haifa (1–0, 2–0), PAOK (1–1, 2–2), Shakhter Karagandy (1–1, 1–0), result: group winner; Slovan Liberec (1–1, 1–0); Anzhi Makhachkala (1–0, 0–0); Benfica (0–1, 0–2)|
|2015–16||Europa League||Group Stage||İstanbul Başakşehir (2–0, 2–1); Astra Giurgiu (2–0, 2–3); Group L with Partizan (1–2, 2–3), Athletic Bilbao (2–1, 2–2), FC Augsburg (0–1, 1–4), result: 4th place in group|
|2016–17||Europa League||Round of 32||Giannina (1–0, 2-0); Vojvodina (3-0, 0-0); Group D with Zenit Saint Petersburg (0-5, 3-2), Maccabi Tel Aviv (1-2, 0-0), Dundalk (1-1, 1-0) result: group runners-up; Lyon (1-4, 1-7)|
UEFA current rankingEdit
- As of 28/02/2018
Below is a table with AZ's domestic results since the introduction of professional football in 1956.
|Domestic Results since 1956|
|Domestic league||League result||Qualification to||KNVB Cup season||Cup result|
|1956–57 Eerste Divisie (as Alkmaar '54)||2nd (group A)||–||1956–57||Third round|
|1957–58 Eerste Divisie (as Alkmaar '54)||9th (group A)||–||1957–58||Third round|
|1958–59 Eerste Divisie (as Alkmaar '54)||4th (group A)||–||1958–59||Third round|
|1959–60 Eerste Divisie (as Alkmaar '54)||1st (group B)||Eredivisie (promotion)||not held||not held|
|1960–61 Eredivisie (as Alkmaar '54)||17th||Eerste Divisie (relegation)||1960–61||First round|
|1961–62 Eerste Divisie (as Alkmaar '54)||12th (group A)||Tweede Divisie (relegation)||1961–62||Second round|
|1962–63 Tweede Divisie (as Alkmaar '54)||4th (group A)||–||1962–63||Semi-finals|
|1963–64 Tweede Divisie (as Alkmaar '54)||1st (group A); 2nd overall losing play-off||Eerste Divisie (winning promotion tournament)||1963–64||First round|
|1964–65 Eerste Divisie (as Alkmaar '54)
1964–65 Tweede Divisie (as FC Zaanstreek)
6th (group A)
|–||1964–65||First round |
First round
|1965–66 Eerste Divisie (as Alkmaar'54)
1965–66 Tweede Divisie (as FC Zaanstreek)
3rd (group A)
Eerste Divisie (promotion)
|1965–66||Group stage |
Group stage
|1966–67 Eerste Divisie (as Alkmaar '54
and FC Zaanstreek)
|–||1966–67||First round |
First round
|1967–68 Eerste Divisie||2nd||Eredivisie (promotion)||1967–68||Group stage|
|1968–69 Eredivisie||16th||– (after surviving relegation play-offs)||1968–69||Second round|
|1969–70 Eredivisie||12th||–||1969–70||Quarter-finals|
|1970–71 Eredivisie||17th||Eerste Divisie (relegation)||1970–71||Second round|
|1971–72 Eerste Divisie||2nd||Eredivisie (promotion)||1971–72||First round|
|1976–77 Eredivisie||3rd||UEFA Cup||1976–77||Semi-finals|
|1977–78 Eredivisie||3rd||Cup Winners' Cup||1977–78||Winner|
|1979–80 Eredivisie||2nd||UEFA Cup||1979–80||Quarter-finals|
|1980–81 Eredivisie||1st||European Cup||1980–81||Winner|
|1981–82 Eredivisie||3rd||Cup Winners' Cup||1981–82||Winner|
|1982–83 Eredivisie||11th||–||1982–83||Second round|
|1984–85 Eredivisie||13th||–||1984–85||First round|
|1985–86 Eredivisie||9th||–||1985–86||Second round|
|1986–87 Eredivisie||15th||–||1986–87||Second round|
|1987–88 Eredivisie||16th||Eerste Divisie (relegation)||1987–88||First round|
|1988–89 Eerste Divisie||5th||–||1988–89||Quarter-finals|
|1989–90 Eerste Divisie||12th||–||1989–90||First round|
|1990–91 Eerste Divisie||4th||promotion/relegation play-off: no promotion||1990–91||First round|
|1991–92 Eerste Divisie||13th||–||1991–92||Second round|
|1992–93 Eerste Divisie||10th||–||1992–93||Third round|
|1993–94 Eerste Divisie||3rd||promotion/relegation play-off: no promotion||1993–94||Round of 16|
|1994–95 Eerste Divisie||5th||promotion/relegation play-off: no promotion||1994–95||Round of 16|
|1995–96 Eerste Divisie||1st||Eredivisie (promotion)||1995–96||Round of 16|
|1996–97 Eredivisie||18th||Eerste Divisie (relegation)||1996–97||Quarter-finals|
|1997–98 Eerste Divisie||1st||Eredivisie (promotion)||1997–98||First round (knock-out stage)|
|1998–99 Eredivisie||9th||–||1998–99||Round of 16|
|2001–02 Eredivisie||10th||–||2001–02||Second round (knock-out stage)|
|2002–03 Eredivisie||10th||–||2002–03||Second round (knock-out stage)|
|2003–04 Eredivisie||5th||UEFA Cup||2003–04||Second round|
|2004–05 Eredivisie||3rd||UEFA Cup||2004–05||Round of 16|
|2005–06 Eredivisie||2nd||UEFA Cup (after losing Champions League play-offs)||2005–06||Semi-finals|
|2006–07 Eredivisie||3rd||UEFA Cup (after losing Champions League play-offs)||2006–07||Final|
|2007–08 Eredivisie||11th||–||2007–08||Second round|
|2008–09 Eredivisie||1st||Champions League||2008–09||Quarter-finals|
|2009–10 Eredivisie||5th||Europa League (Q3)||2009–10||Round of 16|
|2010–11 Eredivisie||4th||Europa League (Q3)||2010–11||Round of 16|
|2011–12 Eredivisie||4th||Europa League (Q4)||2011–12||Semi-finals|
|2012–13 Eredivisie||10th||Europa League||2012–13||Winner|
|2014–15 Eredivisie||3rd||Europa League (Q3)||2014–15||Quarter-finals|
|2015–16 Eredivisie||4th||Europa League (Q3)||2015–16||Semi-finals|
|2017-18 Eredivisie||3rd||Europa League (Q3)||2017-18||Final|
Notable (former) playersEdit
- 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.
- Sergio Romero
- Eli Babalj
- Joey Didulica
- Brett Holman
- Mousa Dembélé
- Stein Huysegems
- Maarten Martens
- Sébastien Pocognoli
- Gill Swerts
- Haris Medunjanin
- Willie Overtoom
- Esteban Alvarado
- Kemy Agustien
- Kristen Nygaard
- Kenneth Perez
- Simon Poulsen
- Ole Tobiasen
- Ragnar Klavan
- Toni Kolehmainen
- Thomas Lam
- Niklas Moisander
- Juha Reini
- Shota Arveladze
- Joey Guðjónsson
- Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson
- Kolbeinn Sigþórsson
- Grétar Steinsson
- Alireza Jahanbakhsh
- Graziano Pellè
- Héctor Moreno
- Nourdin Boukhari
- Abdelkrim El Hadrioui
- Mounir El Hamdaoui
- Ali El Khattabi
- Adil Ramzi
- Tarik Sektioui
- Khalid Sinouh
- Peter Arntz
- Roy Beerens
- John Bosman
- Dries Boussatta
- Tim de Cler
- Barry van Galen
- Willem van Hanegem
- Hugo Hovenkamp
- Kew Jaliens
- Vincent Janssen
- Jos Jonker
- Kees Kist
- Danny Koevermans
- Jan Kromkamp
- Denny Landzaat
- Jeremain Lens
- Adam Maher
- Dirk Marcellis
- Bert van Marwijk
- Joris Mathijsen
- Martijn Meerdink
- David Mendes da Silva
- John Metgod
- Oscar Moens
- Barry Opdam
- Jan Peters
- Fernando Ricksen
- Stijn Schaars
- Ronald Spelbos
- Henk Timmer
- Pier Tol
- Eddy Treijtel
- Nick Viergever
- Ron Vlaar
- Bobby Vosmaer
- Ronald Waterreus
- Demy de Zeeuw
- Robin Nelisse
- Markus Henriksen
- Pius Ikedia
- Celso Ortíz
- Nemanja Gudelj
- Denni Avdić
- Rasmus Elm
- Viktor Elm
- Mattias Johansson
- Muamer Tanković
- Pontus Wernbloom
- Levi Garcia
- Oğuzhan Özyakup
- Jozy Altidore
- Aron Jóhannsson
- "Eredivisie: AZ Alkmaar announce surprise sacking of coach Gertjan Verbeek".
- "Van Basten doet stap terug bij AZ, Alex Pastoor nieuwe trainer".
- Association, Press (7 December 2015). "Former Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar joins AZ Alkmaar until end of season". the Guardian.
- "Spelers". www.az.nl. AZ. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- UEFA.com. "UEFA Europa League quarter-final draw". UEFA.com.
- "UEFA rankings for club competitions". uefa.com. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2018.