Bob Marley is famous for many things: having the bestselling reggae album ever, a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

But one strange yet charming story is of the connection between him and the Dutch football club Ajax.

Giant of Dutch Football

Ajax conjures up many mental images, from the Latinized version of the hero Aias in Homer’s epic poem telling of the Trojan War to the most successful football club in Dutch history. 

Indeed, such is the football club’s prowess on the pitch that the word ‘Ajax’ nowadays makes people think immediately of Dutch success.

Right now, Ajax is the reigning Eredivisie champions, (which they won last season for the second time in a row). In total they have an astonishing 36 domestic league wins to their name, and an impressive quartet of European Cups/Champions League trophies as well. 

Naturally, Ajax has a small army of supporters in its native Netherlands and has earned attention, respect, and fans all around the world too (which is unsurprising given football is fun to watch and a great way to stay healthy).

Wagering on Real and Virtual Football

Betting on the Eredivisie is big business, but sometimes the odds are too stingy or it’s the off-season. 

Whether there’s a drought in fixtures or you just fancy something else, online casinos offer a great opportunity to have fun wagering on the latest slots, playing favorites like blackjack and roulette, or even betting on virtual football matches. 

It can be tricky to find the best Netherlands online casinos if you’re searching by yourself. Save time and take advantage of great promos and excellent games with the best offers for the Dutch players here. 

Many online casinos now welcome Dutch players with excellent introductory special offers, and the curated list in our link is a great place to start.

Forging the Link

Bob Marley is probably not the first name that springs to mind when it comes to Ajax, but the two are linked. Rewind back to 2008 and Ajax played a friendly match against Cardiff. 

Once the on-pitch tussle with the Welsh side was done the spectators were asked to stay in the stadium for a little longer than usual. Obviously, the crowd would be more at ease with some entertainment, but the football was over.

Step forward one Bob Marley (via the DJ). To keep the Amsterdam Arena crowd amused, the DJ played Three Little Birds, by Bob Marley and the Wailers. 

Sometimes, sporting anthems and songs can come about in strange ways, and just as the English rugby team now has the unofficial anthem of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot so too did a few minutes and a DJ’s good taste inexorably link Three Little Birds with Ajax, sung by a man who had died over a quarter of a century earlier.

The 2018 Performance and the Shirt Controversy

The association of the song with the club continued for years, to the extent that a decade after its first playing there was a live performance. 

Obviously, the man himself could not do it, but Ajax got the next best thing: Bob Marley’s son. In 2018, his son took to the hallowed turf and sang to a packed stadium.

Following this, Ajax decided to break UEFA regulations and produced a third shirt that was inspired by the reggae legend. 

Call football fans sentimental, but this also proved a great business decision as the new piece of kit ended up outselling every other shirt on sale. 

And yet, despite this, the breaking of regulations did mean that Ajax had to take to the pitch with a slight variation to the immensely popular shirt.

Past Shirt Controversies

This is not the only time that a shirt has proved controversial or had to be changed, although it’s worth noting that in Ajax’s case the shirt had no political message and was approved of by the club itself, its fans, and supporters of Bob Marley (in short, the regulatory breach was the only ‘wrong’, nobody was offended by the shirt).

One such example that stirred up some antagonism within the United Kingdom was when England and Scotland met on 11 November (Armistice Day) a few years ago. The two sides are fierce rivals so when they agree on something it’s worth paying attention to. 

On this occasion, it was the wearing of the poppy, with both sides requesting the right from FIFA to have them on armbands. The request was rejected, and England and Scotland both chose to ignore the refusal and wear the poppies anyway, with the support of their Football Associations. 

The poppy is a symbol of remembering those who have died in the war, and while wearing it in the UK is not mandatory a huge number of people do so every year. Generally, it is not seen as a political symbol (there are some minority positions against this, however).

Another musical link is between Jimi Hendrix and the Seattle Sounders of the MLS. The club has All Along The Watchtower as one of its unofficial anthems but when a shirt was produced featuring Hendrix’s signature it was deemed unacceptable.

One of the great things about sport in general and football, in particular, is how it can bring people together from all over the world, and across generations, as proven by the link forged between Bob Marley and Ajax.


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