AZ

Founded In
1967
Location
Alkmaar, Netherlands

AZ

About AZ

Alkmaar Zaanstreek, more commonly known as AZ and sometimes incorrectly referred to as AZ Alkmaar, was founded in 1967 after two former clubs, FC Zaanstreek and Alkmaar '54, united to create one team. Since their formation, AZ have been one of the few Dutch clubs to challenge the Eredivisie dominance of the big three clubs: Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven.

During the early years, AZ suffered from mounting debt as a result of overspending on players. Their financial problems were eased by significant investment from Klaas and Jos Molenaar, two brothers who owned an appliance business. This investment from the pair helped AZ to progress rapidly and challenge for major honours in the years to come.

The club won its first major trophy, the KNVB Cup, back in 1978, after defeating Ajax in the final. A few years later, in 1981, AZ would enjoy their most successful season ever, finishing as Eredivisie champions, winning a second KNVB Cup and reaching the final of the UEFA Cup, where they lost out to Ipswich Town. They built on this success with a third KNVB Cup win in 1982, but soon after, Klaas and Jos Molenaar left the club and AZ's fortunes changed. In 1988, they were relegated from the top flight and would not achieve significant success again until the new millennium. In 2006, AZ finished as Eredivisie runners up and in 2007 they were beaten finalists in the KNVB Cup. Using these near misses as a stepping stone, the club became Dutch champions for the second time in 2008-09, under the management of Louis van Gaal.

Some of the more notable players to represent the club over the years include Kees Kist, Willem van Hanegem and Mounir El Hamdaoui.

AZ play home matches at the AFAS Stadion, previously known as the DSB Stadion. The ground officially opened in 2006 and holds a maximum capacity of 17,000 spectators.   

Netherlands
Eredivisie