A former Chelsea assistant manager turned down the opportunity to become Ajax manager in order to star in a TV crime drama, according to reports.
The Dutch giants recently parted ways with manager Maurice Steijn after their dreadful start to the 2023-24 campaign saw them fall to the bottom of the Eredivisie.
In response, John van ‘t Schip has been appointed as the new manager on an interim basis but it appears that the Dutch side had someone else in their sights prior to Schip.
According to Dutch sports journalist Johan Derksen, former Chelsea assistant Henk ten Cate was approached but turned down the role in order to star in the show.
Derksen said: ‘I heard that Henk ten Cate was approached first, because John van ‘t Schip was of course in that difficult situation with his wife’.
Van ‘t Schip’s wife, Daniëlle, died last month from cancer however the 59-year-old still decided to take the role after being approached after Steijn’s departure.
‘Henk didn’t do it for a very strange reason’, Derksen continued. ‘He will play the role of chief inspector in a police series, Sleepers, for Videoland, ten episodes. That is a bit difficult to put together.’
‘I don’t think Henk was in the mood either, because Henk has seen this player material and thought: I will never come fifth with this mess,’ Derksen added.
On the Videoland website, in a trailer for Sleepers, ten Cate can be seen in a number of scenes as he takes on the role of the inspector in the series.
Ten Cate spent one season as the Chelsea assistant, working under Avram Grant, before being sacked from his role in 2008.
Just one year prior, ten Cate had been in charge of Ajax and led them to victories in the Johan Cruyff Shield in both 2006 and 2007.
Despite his successes there as a manager, he opted to leave and join Chelsea as an assistant.
In a statement on Monday, Dutch giants Ajax confirmed that manager Steijn had agreed to step down with immediate effect.
The statement read: ‘Ajax and Maurice Steijn will part ways with immediate effect. The club management and Steijn have agreed that the coach will step down from his position. Steijn (Den Haag, November 20, 1973) transferred from Sparta Rotterdam to Ajax this summer and signed a contract until June 30, 2026.’
Ajax Chief Executive Jan van Halst said: ‘We have worked intensely and professionally together over the last few months. But the sportive successes and the development of the team were lacking.
‘That is why we decided to sit down together again today. This time, Maurice also expressed his concerns on whether he was the right man in the right place. Together, we decided that it would be best to part ways. Hedwiges Maduro will do the honours for the coming period.’