As most pub quiz regulars will know the German company adidas (note lower case ‘a’) was formed by Adolph (Adi) Dassler in 1948. Adi’s brother Rudolf later formed Puma and commenced an intense rivalry between the two firms that exists to this day. Although the firm were known to eagle-eyed English fans who were interested in such matters via their many kits worn in various World Cups, adidas were relatively late arrivals to the English football scene and emerged in the late 70s with contracts with Fulham, Ipswich and Birmingham City. The mid 80s saw the company go for the jugular and their trademarked three stripe trim adorned the shirts of the country’s three most successful teams of the decade; Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester Utd. When it came to the number of team kit deals in England, Umbro may have had quantity but adidas arguably had quality.
A slow but steady prescence was unnerved slightly in the early 90s when the company abandoned their famous trefoil logo in favour of a new brand; adidas equipment – responsible for some of the company’s most controversial designs. The slightly confusing new branding seemed to take the wind out of adidas’ sails (and sales) and for the latter part of the 90s it was left to Newcastle Utd to fly the adidas flag in the top flight.
In this period the company began to turn their attention to the lower English leagues and new contracts with the likes of Fulham (then rockbottom of the league). Burnley and Crewe. However, the company’s profile was boosted by the large number of international sides that they still supplied including long term associations with West Germany and France.
By now an amended version of the adidas equipment logo was established as the visual face of the company and the mid 00s has seen the company gain new high-profile deals with the likes of Chelsea and the return of Liverpool as part of the adidas deal to but the Red’s kit suppliers Reebok..