Press Office

Saturday 23 Aug 2014

Press Release

Late Kick Off uncovers the story of Manchester football pioneer

The little-known story of arguably one of the most important figures in the history of 20th century European football is revealed on BBC One on Monday.

Jack Reynolds's name seems to have been lost in the mist of time yet his arrival at Ajax in 1915 changed the club forever and created a legacy that still resonates today.

His remarkable story is told on Late Kick Off (North West) on BBC One, Monday 14 February at 11.05pm.

A former Rochdale and Manchester City player, not much is known about why Whitefield-born Jack left Manchester, but after brief spells in Switzerland and Germany he took over a Dutch side which had never won a thing – Ajax Amsterdam. But that all changed with the arrival of Jack who is today regarded as the club's founding father.

Within two years he had led the club to their first ever trophy, the Dutch Cup, and went on to win a total of eight League Championships during his 27-year association with the club.

But his legacy was about much more than silverware. Jack was a football pioneer and it's said that he helped to revolutionise how the game was played.

Wim Schooevart, 94, knew Jack because both his father and uncle played for the first team. Wim, still the Ajax archivist, says Reynolds transformed the club by introducing wingers, something they had never been seen before.

He says: "Ajax always played football in the same way because of Jack Reynolds, always with an outside left and an outside right and always open play. He'd say, 'left half to the outside right, right half to the outside left', always long balls."

Dutch author Menno Pot says Jack Reynolds created a lasting legacy, not only with the Ajax philosophy, but also with their world-renowned youth development programme that he created.

He says: "Ajax would never have become the force that they are now without Jack Reynolds. There's no way. Basically everything that this club is about and everything that this club is known for was invented and introduced by Jack Reynolds."

Jack retired from management in 1947 to run a tobacconist's shop, but his football methods live on and are still practiced today at Holland's biggest, most successful club. His standing within Ajax is obvious to this day. The Jack Reynolds lobby greets VIP guests to the Amsterdam Arena and is home to the plaque which used to grace the stand named after him at the old De Meer ground.

Late Kick Off has also obtained never-before-seen footage from 1961– club film of a special reception to mark Jack's 80th birthday.

Late Kick Off (North West), BBC One, Monday 14 February at 11.05pm.

Viewers outside the region can view the programme on BBC iPlayer.

Notes to Editors

Please credit Late Kick Off, BBC One, Monday 14 February at 11.05pm.

The programme will be shown in both the North West and Yorkshire & Lincolnshire regions. Viewers outside the region can watch on BBC iPlayer.

Late Kick Off is on Twitter @bbclatekickoff and Facebook.

JC

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