UEFA Super Cup



The original idea of creating a European competition confronting both the winners of Champions Cup (C1) and Cup Winners' Cup (C2) in the same season was first proposed by the Dutch journalist Anton Witkamp in 1972.  While working for De Telegraaf, he thought of a way to publicly assess the quality of the "total football" played by the Ajax of Cruijff, Neeskens, Rep, and others.  This would be rendered by means of a European Super Cup, which would decide the "Champion of Champions", the best team in Europe.  Together with Jaap van Praag, the president of Ajax, Witkamp proposed his idea to UEFA (under the presidency of Artemio Franchi): a confrontation between AFC Ajax and Rangers FC (from Scotland), the respective winners of C1 and C2 in 1972. Rangers were also ecstatic with this idea, because there were celebrating their centennial that year.

However, the Scottish club was banned from participating in European competitons due to the riots and incidents of its fans during the Cup Winners' Cup final played in Barcelona against Dynamo Moscow.  That's the reason why UEFA refused to organize an official match between Ajax and Rangers.  Anyway, these two teams on their own agreed on the celebration of an "unofficial" Super Cup, sponsored by the newspaper De Telegraaf.  This trophy was played on a home and away basis to maximize the revenue for both clubs.  The first match took place at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, on January 16, 1973.  A crowd of 57.000 people witnessed the 1-3 victory of Ajax (goals by MacDonald for the Rangers and Rep, Cruijff, and Haan for Ajax). The ajacied also won the second leg, played on January 24 at the De Meer Stadium of Amsterdam in front of 26.000 spectators.  The score was 3-2, with goals by Haan, Gerrie Muhren (from the penalty spot), and Cruijff for Ajax, whereas MacDonald and Young scored for the Rangers.

Since this revolutionary trophy proved itself a complete success among media and football fans, UEFA decided to take up this competition and organize it officially.  This way, the first edition of European Super Cup, corresponding to 1973, was celebrated between the respective champions of C1 and C2 that year: Ajax and AC Milan.  It wasn't until January 1974 when the double game final of the first official edition of Super Cup was played, for lack of available dates during 1973 (this is in fact a problematic issue that has been cropping up ever since in the history of this competition).  The first leg was played at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in Milan, where the local team won 1-0 (goal by Chiarugi).  However, an Ajax without Johan Cruijff (who signed for FC Barcelona) took revenge and crushed AC Milan with a stunning 6-0 in the second leg at Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium (goals by Mulder, Keizer, Neeskens, Rep, Gerrie Muhren, and Haan).

The second edition of the European Super Cup would have confronted the champions of C1 and C2 in 1974 (Bayern Munich and Magdeburg, respectively), but it was never celebrated for lack of available dates.  This was the same case some years later, in 1981, when Liverpool (C1 champion) and Dinamo Tbilisi (C2 champion) couldn't play this competition either.  The Super Cup edition of 1984 was unusually decided in a single match final (in 1985), also for lack of dates.  The tragedy of Heysel Stadium, with the consequent ban of all English teams in European competitions, was the reason why the 1985 Super Cup between Juventus and Everton wasn't celebrated.  The 1986 edition of this tournament (again a year later, in 1987) was first played at a neutral venue: Louis II Stadium in Monaco.  Ever since 1998, all Super Cup finals are played in this city of the Côte d'Azur in the summer, previously to the rest of European competions.  The 1991 edition was decided in a single game in Manchester because of the political situation in the Balkans.  In 1993, the runner-up of C1, AC Milan, replaced the champion, Olympique de Marseille, because the latter was suspended by UEFA due to a bribe scandal in the French Championship. From 1999 on, after the disappearance of Cup Winners' Cup (C2), the Super Cup final gathers every year the winners of Champions League (C1) and UEFA Cup (C3) in the previous season.


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