Ajax Amsterdam’s all time topscorer is not one of the famous players of recent years like Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp, Luis Suarez or Patrick Kluivert, but Piet van Reenen who played for Ajax between 1929 and 1942 and scored 273 goals.
The early years
Piet van Reenen was born on January 17, 1909 in the Dutch city of Utrecht and the soccer career of the attacker started in the youth teams of UVV, a Football Association team. Nowadays, this club is playing in the amateur leagues of Dutch soccer, but at that time the Utrecht-based club was a leading soccer club. In the former First Division matches against Ajax, Piet van Reenen stood out because he played well and scored a goal against the team from Amsterdam. UVV relegated that season, while Ajax had narrowly escaped relegation and it was clear to the board of the soccer club that scoring power needed to be added to the team and they contacted Van Reenen, who asked after the 1928/1929 soccer season for a transfer to the Amsterdam club.
Piet van Reenen – Ajax top scorer
The attacker impressed in his first season at Ajax Amsterdam with his shots and in his first season with Ajax, he immediately claimed the championship of the local league. The role of Piet van Reenen in this success was essential, he made a big contribution by scoring 28 goals. Ajax did not win the Dutch overall champonship that season, but the famous club from the Dutch capital was one later succesful in winning the Dutch championships and Van Reenen scored 32 goals in 23 soccer matches. The Ajax player improved that number of goals one eason later, Piet van Reenen scored no less than 39 goals in 24 matches and with those goals he contributed to the prolongation of the Dutch title. In the following seasons, ‘Goaltjes Piet’ scored 23, 30, 24 and 25 goals and that led to the 1934 and 1937 national Championship titles for Ajax Amsterdam.
At the end of the Thirties, the goal scoring skills of the Utrecht-born attacker decrease and in the 1938/1939 soccer season, Piet van Reenen only scores 13 goals in 23 matches, however, that was still sufficient to claim the Dutch title during that season.
The second World War
Because of the beginning of the Second World War, the national soccer competition came to a standstill and football did not play a major role in the lives of the people. There were alternative soccer, but Piet van Reenen decides to quit playing soccer at the age of 31.
He returns to Ajax in 1941 to play 6 matches and he scores 4 goals. He is also still active in 1942/1943 soccer season, but on 18th October 1942, after the match against Blauw Wit, Piet van Reenen calls it quits from soccer.
Piet van Reenen and the Dutch national team
Although Ajax’ topscorer of all times was very succesful in the Dutch league, he only played two international matches for the Dutch national team. Both against Hungary and Belgium, the forward did not score a goal.
The small number of international matches was related to fierce competition from, among others, Beb Bakhuys. In addition, Piet van Reenen also had a character that was considered difficult to handle by the officials of the Dutch soccer federation. After his second international match, Piet knows that he will no longer be invited to the Dutch national team. He works for the British American Tobacco Company and they, without the knowledge of Piet van Reenen, advertise the cigarette brand North State with the image of the Ajax player and the Dutch soccer association did not accept at that time, these kind of commercial activities.
Piet van Reenen passed away on 8th June 1969, Ajax’ all-time topscorer reached the age of 60 years.