AMSTERDAM: Frank De Boer has stepped down at Ajax after six years in charge and following the end-of-term drama which saw the former world and European champions miss out on the Dutch title after being held to a surprise draw by struggling De Graafschap.

Ajax needed a win to secure the title, but the draw allowed PSV to overtake Ajax and retain their title after they won at PEC Zwolle.

De Boer, who won four successive league titles with Ajax, has been linked with Premier League Everton with his departure coming hours before Roberto Martinez was sacked even ahead of the end to the English campaign at the weekend.

The former Holland defender had a year left on his Ajax contract but, in the wake of this title collapse, said: “I began to realise it was time for something else. That is better for me and I think also for Ajax.

Ajax director Edwin Van der Sar paid tribute De Boer saying: “We are sorry he is leaving and wish him every success in his future endeavours.”

At Everton Martinez’s three years in charge were shown to have ended after his team, 12th in the Premier League, were beaten 3-1 by champions Leicester on Saturday and then 3-0 by Sunderland on Wednesday. The Toffees also lost in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and League Cup this season.

The club praised the Spaniard, 42, for his “utmost integrity and dignity”, describing him as a “great ambassador” who played a “key role” in developing young players.

However they have won pnly five league games at home all season and are guaranteed to finish with their lowest points tally at Goodison Park since the introduction of three points for a win in 1981.

A banner saying “Time to go Roberto” was flown over Goodison during a win over Bournemouth last month and some fans remained inside the ground for more than an hour after the match to protest against Martinez and chairman Bill Kenwright.