Kit of the Week #94: Three Little Birds . . . Pitched By My Neckline

Ajax and adidas, have finally launched their tribute to reggae legend Bob Marley and his song, Three Little Birds; a terrace anthem for fans at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Following months of rumours, leaked images and bootleg editions finding their way onto dodgy websites, it had begun to feel like we might be Waiting In Vain for the official launch of a shirt so good it’s mad that the Amsterdam club had not thought of the idea before.

Launched in collaboration with the family of the late Bob Marley, the new Ajax third shirt celebrates their fans’ love for the great man’s music, and in particular, his 1980 hit, Three Little Birds.

Here’s the club’s launch video to really get you in the mood!

The story goes that Ajax fans adopted the song and its “Don’t Worry” message in the unlikely surroundings of the Cardiff City’s Ninian Park back in August 2008, after a friendly match against the Bluebirds.

When the army of travelling fans were asked to remain in the stands after that evening’s goalless draw in Glamorgan, the stadium DJ played several tracks over the old public address system in an effort to entertain them.

One of those was Three Little Birds and the Ajax fans – who we suspect may have already been aware of Marley’s work – immediately burst into spontaneous song, adopting the “melodies pure and true” as their own.

They’ve been singing it at every game since.

Ajax, Bob Marley, adidas, football kit, Amsterdam
You can’t help but smile at Ajax’s new 3rd shirt

In recent years, we’ve asked ourselves how adidas could continue to keep their famous three stripes fresh and vital and spare them from becoming too repetitive?

The answer in this shirt at least, comes with the application of green, gold and red – three colours instantly associated with Bob Marley – to that famous trademark.

Placed on the backdrop of a an all-black strip, this is further evidence of a brand on form, but it’s the sweet little detail on the back of the collar that really sings.

Ajax, Bob Marley, adidas, football kit, Amsterdam
The Three Little Birds device continues to this pair of adidas Samba trainers from the launch collection

Sitting on top of the City of Amsterdam’s “XXX” Andreas crosses are those three reassuring little fellas, in a subtle nod to the song, providing a neat finishing touch to the shirt which we look forward to seeing in European competition this season.

Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s daughter and CEO of the Marley Group Of Companies, said;

“I am beyond touched that Ajax has taken Three Little Birds and made it their anthem. Stories like this warm my heart and show how impactful songs like Three Little Birds can be. Soccer was everything to my father. To use his words: football is freedom”.

Ajax, Bob Marley, adidas, football kit, Amsterdam
The full Ajax kit – because we know how important shorts and socks are to true football fans!

Whilst we can’t help but wonder whether adidas and Ajax were ultimately inspired to lively up themselves by O’Neills’ (the other great sportswear firm to wear three stripes) and Bohemians’ ill-fated tribute to Bob Marley’s visit to Dublin; this cover version of a classic reggae number feels like just the new material we were looking for and is a worthy recipient of our Kit of the Week title!

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