Here’s a simple exercise: count from 1 to 15. What happens when you get to 14? Does a light go on in your head? Do you hear the crowds? Do you see the ball dance across the field at the feet of an artist? How did number 14 turn into much more than a one and a four?
The first part of the answer to that last question is… An accident. On the 30th October 1970, preparing for the game against PSV, Gerrie Mühren couldn’t find the number 7 shirt. Johan Cruyff offered Gerrie his own number 9 and then grabbed the next shirt he found. Number 14. Ajax won the match, and Johan took a liking to number 14, as he believed it would bring him luck.
The second part of the answer is about what Johan did while wearing the number 14 shirt. He discovered what he wanted to do in life and then excelled at doing just that. Playing football. Johan didn’t walk on to the pitch to make up the numbers; he went out there to win. The number 14 on his back became associated with skill, vision, beauty…