Having reached the Semi-Finals of the Fairs Cup (later the UEFA Cup) in 1970,
with a team that now featured Ruud Krol and Gerry Mühren,
Ajax went one better in the European Cup the following year.
While Feyenoord were reclaiming the Dutch league,
Ajax beat Nendori Tirana, Basle, Celtic and Athletico Madrid,
and found themselves playing Greek side Panathinaikos
(coached by Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas)
in the European Cup Final at Wembley.
The 2-0 victory was almost a stroll,
Ajax's superiority in all the arts of the game quite manifest
from the first whistle to the last,
and people were beginning to sit up and notice something was going on.
Their movement was bewildering, their skill on the ball astonishing,
their tackling frightening.
We were used to seeing Italian and Spanish teams dominating Europe,
but the Dutch, having seemed to get there almost by stealth,
were now at last being given the credit they deserved.
British commentators were even learing to pronounce their name correctly
(Ay-ax rather than Ey-jax)
though liberties were still to be taken with Cruyff's name for many years to come.
The Ajax European Cup winning team of 1971.
Back: Hulshoff, Stuy, Suurbier, Van Dijk, Mühren.
Front: Keizer, Swart, Rijnders, Vasovic, Cruyff, Neeskens.
The Ajax team in the Final was:
Heinz Stuy in goals;
Johan Neeskens, Vasovic, Hulshoff and Suurbier in defence;
Nico Rijnders and Gerry Mühren in midfield;
and Swart, Cruyff, Dick van Dijk and Keizer up front;
with Horst Blankenburg and Arie Haan as substitutes.
Van Dijk, from Keizer's cross, and Haan, with a deflected shot, were the goalscorers.
Ruud Krol had featured in earlier rounds, but was injured for the Final,
hence Neeskens at right-back and Suurbier at left-back.
The Yugoslavian international Velibor Vasovic was the captain.
Michels was a remarkable coach by any standards,
a stern disciplinarian by all accounts, and almost obsessed with physical fitness.
Yet these qualities, when allied to the raw talent of the players at the club,
were turning Ajax into not only the best team in Europe (to judge by results)
but also the most thrilling to watch.
Although Michels is very often given sole credit for the Total Football
revolution at Ajax,
the Ajax youth system played its part,
and many in Holland pay tribute to the efforts of Vic Buckingham,
who coached the side in the early 1960s.