This christmas, my father gave me two half-season tickets. Which is why I spend every other Sunday high up in the Amsterdam ArenA, getting annoyed at Ajax together with fifty thousand others. Last Sunday against Sparta gave me a lot of inspiration for things to write about. I could write about how annoyed Bertrand Traoré makes me, or how beautiful we honored fallen legend Piet Keizer. However, Joel Veltman gave me no other choice.
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the last week, you have seen the commotion surrounding Veltman. Against Sparta, he convinced Ivan Caleiro to stop playing so that Traoré could recieve injury-treatment, only to resume playing and produce a pretty sh*t cross that didn’t result in anything. For me and everyone around me in the stadium, it caused some hilarity, but really nothing more. It was only in the subway home I noticed how many people got upset about it.
It’s weird, the way Veltman went viral and all the angry rival fans were crawling over each other to condemn the move. Unsportsmanlike behavior is something that occurs around seventy times every game. Whether it’s an idiotic tackle (like Jerry St. Juste from SC Heerenveen last weekend) or time-wasting (which Sparta’s right-back did, every throw-in he took): it literally happens all the time. Just because it’s a new way of being a d*ck, doesn’t mean it’s a more d*ckish move than other ways of unsportsmanlike behavior.
Joël Veltman trolling Sparta defenders. #ajaspa #ajax pic.twitter.com/Jef6MY6zMO
— AjaxDaily (@ajaxdailydotcom) February 12, 2017
However, I ended up being disappointed in Veltman nonetheless. Because he caved. For the first time in his career, he showed to be a little bit of an asshole by taunting his opponents, and I really enjoyed it. After the match, he fueled the never-ending fire of rage by openly admitting he couldn’t care less about the responses from the Sparta-side. It was only after he made headlines, when he decided to apologize. And that disgusted me.
Veltman is arguably one of the most boring Frank de Boer-like players in the Frank de Boer-era. This move was something straight out of the Luis Suárez-playbook, and it’s one of the reasons why football is so amazing to watch. The unpredictability made the move nothing more than something that makes the supporters enjoy their game a little bit more. If anything, it’s something that should be encouraged. Be a little crazy, make our rivals hate us even more. It was probably the most Ajax-thing Veltman had ever done.
By apologizing, he completely threw that out. It was not worth apologizing for. He didn’t try to break someone’s legs, he didn’t insult the referee and he didn’t take a sh*t on the black band around his arm. It was a nothing moment in a very dull game that made said dull game a little less boring. I really was proud of you, Joel. Shame you wasted it.