The first time I saw you play was at the Future Cup, some years back. I remember watching only for you. Even then, your star was rising within Ajax. Your reputation was huge already, and I wanted to see if you could live up to the hype. And it won’t surprise you, but you absolutely did. It was a joy to behold, and I’ve been excited ever since to watch you light Amsterdam on fire. Because that’s what you were destined to do.
You don’t know me, Appie, but I complain about Ajax online. Mostly every week, sometimes not every week. About regular Ajax-related nonsense. About Nick Viergever, about Nemanja Gudelj, about Marc Overmars. Stuff I think is important. But right now, I’m honestly embarrassed to have ever cared about things like that. Right now, I can only think about you, and about the injustice you have suffered.
I can only think about your family, who you love and who love you so dearly. About your cat, the one you played with on the morning of your debut against Willem II, when you first graced the Johan Cruyff ArenA with your presence. The cat you’ll never play with again. About your brother, who earlier today said you’ll probably never recognize again. I think about them, and I have not been this sad for a long, long time.
These stories are always tragic, I’m sure you know. It always involves someone who is ripped from his life, his passion, far too early for no apparent reason. What did you do wrong, Appie? You loved your sport, you loved your family, you loved the club who loved you. I know everyone has said how likeable you are about one hundred times by now, but that’s because you are. That’s because the injustice of the last week can not possibly be understated.
Because that’s what it is. It’s so f*cking unfair. (Sorry for cursing, Appie, I hope you forgive me).
I hope your family finds comfort in their prayers and the overwhelming responses they’ve received the last 24 hours. I know it will never replace you, nothing ever will. And I can only pray, hope and think about all the people you positively affected, all the potential that will never bloom, and the Future Cup where you were still doing what you loved.
What you were destined to do.
Stay strong Appie,
Some Ajax-fan who writes to find comfort