The roots of AZ lie in 1954, when the football club Alkmaar ’54 saw the light of day. Because Alkmaar ’54 and FC Zaanstreek (merger of KFC and ZFC 1964) saw a better future in professional football in 1967, the two professional clubs merged that year to AZ’67. The city where then the stadium De Alkmaarderhout is the arena for the first match in professional football between AZ’67 and Venlo. Initially called AZ’67 The club had their hour of glory in 1981, when they won the league title and reached the final of the UEFA Cup, which they lost against Ipswich Town. In the 2009 they became league champions again, and got as far as the semi-finals of the Europa League. In addition, the team has won the KNVB Cup on four occasions. Biggest Rivals of AZ Alkmaar are Ajax and Telstar.