Season’s meetings, no. 8 – Aberdeen v Hamburg, 1983 European Super Cup

Ordinarily, two games in the one season wouldn’t be enough for inclusion here (Brazil and Sweden in 1994 an exception as that was a World Cup), the 1983 Supercup deserves examination, given that that the kits chosen remain something of a mystery.

Hamburg, having won the European Cup against Juventus, were pitted against Aberdeen, conquerors of Real Madrid in the Cup Winners’ Cup decider, in what was still a two-legged affair, played mid-season rather than the one-off August affair we are now used to.

While Hamburg’s normal home kit is a distinctive white shirts, red shorts and blue socks, in Europe back then they often lined out in all-white. That was they used in the first leg in Volksparkstadion on November 1982, as they had in both legs against Aberdeen in the 1981-82 Uefa Cup.

Hamburg had new v-neck short-sleeved shirts for 1983-84, but they retained the previous set with neck insert in long-sleeve format, while the shorts had a fainter pinstripe than the shirt.

Aberdeen were clad in the same kit which they had worn in the previous season (around the crest was text commemorating their Scottish and Cup Winners’ Cup wins) – the design was essentially the opposite of Hamburg but with non-contrasting neck and cuffs. The game finished scoreless.

However, four weeks later in Pittodrie, it was all change – both teams wore their second kits as Aberdeen won 2-0 thanks to goals from Neil Simpson and Mark McGhee.

Both shirts were straight reversals of their home versions, with Aberdeen in black shorts and socks.

The reason why? We simply can’t say. Nowadays, it would be put down to commercial considerations, promoting away kits, but that wasn’t as much of a factor back then.

For Aberdeen, the game came between league clashes at home to Hibernian and away to St Mirren, when the home kit would have been worn, but there were four days between the Super Cup and the latter clash (on Christmas Eve), so it’s not as if they were under a lot of pressure landry-wise – they had been at home to Hearts three days before the away leg, for instance.

Hamburg were in the middle of their domestic winter break, so it’s unlikely that there were any external factors forcing them to wear something almost identical to their hosts’ home kit.

Perhaps there was a mistake and they packed the all-red, but given that it was their fourth meeting with the Dons in just over two years, surely someone would have been alive to it.

With 35 years having passed since, we probably won’t find out the real reason. And we have to be okay with that.

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