While the first part of this series saw an instance of two teams wearing three kits against each other in the same season, this one is only a 3-2 split (technically 3-3 if sleeve patches are taken into account but that’s a hard sell, we accept).
The emergence of Patrick Kluivert’s son Justin with Ajax this season has made everyone feel very old, as the father’s winner against AC Milan in the 1995 Champions League final seems a lot more recent than 22 years ago.
That was the clubs’ third meeting in the competition that season, as they were paired together in the group stage too, Ajax winning 2-0 on each occasion, with an interesting approach taken to the kits.
In Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium in September, home shirts were worn, with Milan in change black shorts and socks to provide differentiation (in the 1969 final, Milan had worn black socks).
Incidentally, the Ajax shirt had to be modified for Europe, with the domestic version having extra Umbro trim on the sleeves.
When the teams met again in Italy in November, the scoreline was the same but this time both teams were in their away kits.
It’s not as if Milan refused to wear black shorts and socks at home – they did so against PSV in 1992-93 – so there must have been an official mandate. Maybe it was because both teams were ‘away’ – the game, and Milan’s home tie with AEK Athens, took place in Trieste as they were punished following crowd trouble in their opening home game against Casino Salzburg.
Ajax comfortably topped the group and easily saw off Hajduk Split and then Bayern Munich to reach the final.
Milan finished level on five points with Casino Salzburg in second place (two points for a win, and they were deducted two for the crowd trouble) and had a worse goal difference than the Austrians but advanced thanks to a better head-to-head record.
They picked up form in the spring, though, and beat Benfica and then Paris St-Germain in the knockout stages to make the decider. Perhaps seeking to summon good fortune, they wore white for all four games, but a plain white shirt rather than the red-heavy away.
As was traditional, they kept that kit for the final, with Ajax once again in their navy change kit, both teams using the new Champions League ‘Starball’ sleeve patches. Sponsors’ logos were also allowed in the final for the first time.
This time, though, the luck deserted Milan as Kluivert came off the bench to earn the win for the Dutch side.