Creative Soccer Culture

adidas Drop Bob Marley-Inspired Ajax 21/22 Third Shirt

In a week where some may have lost hope for the future of football shirt design, Adidas and Ajax swoop in to restore parity with the club’s quite outstanding 21/22 third shirt, which is inspired by Bob Marley’s song ‘Three Little Birds’.

Since 2008, Ajax fans have been heard singing the Bob Marley track ‘Three Little Birds’ on their travels around Europe, embracing and adopting it as their unofficial anthem. Well now it becomes the inspiration for the club’s third shirt, with Ajax and adidas, in collaboration with the Bob Marley family paying tribute to the fans and their affinity with the reggae legend and his iconic song. The black kit features red, yellow and green details. On the back of the jersey, just below the collar, it features a subtle reference to the iconic song, with three little birds sitting on Amsterdam’s Andreas crosses. The kit will be worn in this season’s European matches, alongside Ajax’ home kit. 

The story of Ajax, Bob Marley and Three Little Birds started in August 2008, when Ajax played a friendly match in Cardiff, against Cardiff City F.C. The Ajax fans were asked to remain in the stands after the game. To entertain the patient fans, the stadium DJ played several tracks, one of which was Three Little Birds. The rest is history. The fans instantly embraced the song as their own and have been singing it at every game since. A true symbol of hope, the fans sing the song regardless of the score in the game. 

Bob Marley’s widely known love of football makes this collaboration and the collective love for his music from Ajax fans especially poignant with his family.

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...and to use his words ‘football is freedom’”, Cedella Marley.

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To celebrate the launch adidas captured imagery with those at the heart of London’s Caribbean community.

First up was Nintey, a Caribbean chef originally from Jamaica, Spanish Town. Nintey was mentored by Peter ‘The Wailers’ Tosh through his teen years and fondly remembers playing football with both Peter and Bob Marley. "I was a teenager and living in Jamaica when we would play football with Bob Marley & Peter Tosh." Nintey said. "All of Bob Marley song's were done after midnight because he was always playing football in the day, he had a special love for that ball. Sometimes we think he loved football more than music!"

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Kongo is a Caribbean chef who specialises in Vegan Caribbean cuisine. He is originally from Grenada and he has now resided in the UK for the past three years, where he prepares sought after vegan cuisine all over London for tropical, raw and organic food specialists 'Rainforest Creations'. 

"I always used to listen to it (Three Little Birds) with my grandma. It’s calming, you put it on early in the morning and it’s almost like a prayer. Bob died before I was born but I grew up on his music. His music is like gospel, once you’re from the Caribbean the family grows up listening to it. It’s easy to understand and his words are clear, it’s music for the whole family."

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Clary is a Designer & the Artistic Director of Mahogany CarnivalShe has been designing costumes since 1989 for Notting Hill Carnival and her design studio 'Mahogany Carnival Design' has resided in Harlesden since 1995. She has been responsible for some of the most show stopping carnival designs including her iconic piece named 'Out of The Blue'.

"We moved into our design studio ‘Mahogany Carnival Designs’ in Harlesden in 1995 and we keep the community's voice going. We see ourselves as a bridge between communities, the inclusivity of carnival is very important to us. We support each other - the Caribbean record stores, hair shops and food shops in the area keep the community thriving."

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Following the launch adidas are hosting a gallery exhibition at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, which has its place in history as one of the founding places of the Notting Hill carnival. The Exhibition will be open to the public over the weekend from 12pm to 9pm both Saturday and Sunday showcasing the imagery and the collection.

The Ajax 21/22 third shirt is available to preorder now at

Daniel Jones

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