The Kit Cupboard Special – Admiral in the 70s

Posted by John Devlin

Anyone who follows football kit history will be aware of the massive impact Leicester-based sportswear firm Admiral had on kit development, design and innovation in the 1970s.

Pioneers of the replica market through deals with the England and Leeds United teams, Admiral brought their shirts into the every playground in the land. Their bold, some might say brash, designs were instantly recognisable – helped no doubt by the liberal sprinking of Admiral logos on sleeves, shorts, socks and even collars.

I wanted to pay tribute to the company who virtually invented the modern kit.

This is a selection of Admiral kits from their golden era of the second half of the 1970s. Many, if not all, of these kits went through minor cosmetic changes during their lifespan; trim changes, new socks, movement of badges etc. but virtually all are now iconic additions to each club’s kit canon.

If you have information of any additional Admiral kits from the 70s (e.g. early Leeds, early Sheff Utd,Bradford, Dundee) not illustrated here then please contact me and I will add them over time.

Thanks to John Bailey, Andy Burton, Chris Oakley, John O’Cahan, Mike Reid and Steve Dickie. Extra special thanks to Steve Browne.


144 Responses to “The Kit Cupboard Special – Admiral in the 70s”

  1. john b Says:

    did you know that the Man.United away kit had its own white socks with red/black tops yet they never wore them in a competitive game to my knowledge.i’ve even got an old team photo with the strip on.loved the admiral kits,my first proper replicas were the admiral United kits,i also had the England ‘europa 80/espana82 kit’

  2. Jon Says:

    Ahh who could ever forget Admiral, they threw traditionalism out of the window with many radical (for the time) designs.

    The kit they made for Wales in 1976 was one of the best Welsh kits ever, so much so that modern-day replica versions are rather popular amongst fans today. A real classic that was sadly not seen in a major tournament due to rotten luck and dodgy referees in crucial matches.

    Great to see the Coventry brown strip in there too, so often top of the “worst kit ever” polls, but compared to a lot of the trash we saw in the 90’s, it wasn’t that bad surely?

  3. john b Says:

    http://tinypic.com/m/5fjf4m/2

  4. Andrew Rockall Says:

    John the Spurs home strip had white wing collar with the navy placket. And the turnover of the socks was the opposite of what you have illustrated.

  5. Andy Burton Says:

    Great stuff John. I think Admiral were great innovators at the time as so many clubs changed from a plain ‘traditional’ kit to Admiral. It is also of note that they made Palace’s ‘Ajax’ kit of 1971-72 – before manufacturers logos were the norm!

  6. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks Andrew – appalling oversight missing the white collar! Spurs did also occasionally wear the all-white socks with navy Admiral logos but I’ve updated my illustration to show the ones you referred to as they do seem to have worn those more often. John, based on your photo (thanks) I’ll update the Man Utd away socks I think, although it is unclear whether they wore them often your pic indicates that they were the official socks for that strip.

    Jon, I totally agree with you about the Coventry brown kit – it really wasn’t that bad was it?

    Cheers Andy, I had no idea that they made Palace’s kit that far back.

  7. Rich Johnson Says:

    Hmmm…looks like I’ll be the one bucking the trend here then. I got into football in the mid 80s, by which time Admiral seemed to be on the wane and therefore I always associated them with the early 80s England kits which by then just looked horribly old fashioned. Hence it coloured my view of them and as such, I’ve alwas seen them as being a poor second to the Adidases and Umbros…Guess I just missed the boat really as I do very much like some of the kits above (the Man U Away, the Crystal Palace sash and all the Coventry ones especially.

  8. Rich Johnson Says:

    )

  9. Chris O Says:

    Great gallery of kits there, John. Beautifully designed as ever!

    Interesting to see Sheffield United’s away kit as the only one apart from West Ham’s home kit to feature chevrons. I suppose Nike have brought the chevron up to date with this season’s Man United home shirt?

  10. john b Says:

    the white socks were the official socks for United,i’ve checked in an old annual but i’ve never found any evidence of them being worn,checked all my old programmes and books,they are also featured in one of your ‘advertisements’ from shoot/match.

  11. john b Says:

    http://tinypic.com/m/5tzbli/2

    an old norwich away kit from 1979.

  12. Andrew Rockall Says:

    I have just bought a Spurs 70’s retro tracksuit top with the Chevrons, it has the Admiral badge but is made by Score Draw

  13. Mark Jessop Says:

    Fantastic Admiral kits from their heyday. It is amazing how bad they became later as evidenced by their 2nd and 3rd stints as Leeds’ kit makers.

  14. John Devlin Says:

    Just added the Luton Town home and away Admiral kits – I want to try and get EVERY 70s Admiral kit up here!

  15. Rich Johnson Says:

    Love those Luton kits! Seems odd having the orange as the main colour on the home kit though…a bit like this season.

  16. Andrew Rockall Says:

    John what was Pompey’s away kit in 78/79?

    It’s the only one missing from the ones above.

  17. john b Says:

    any chance of the 1980 England kit john?

  18. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Andrew – haven’t been able to track down the Pompey away kit yet but I am working on it. I think at the time the club were in the old Div 3 so there’s not a lot of photo material around. Regarding that Spurs tracksuit, I’m actually working on a tracksuit special at the moment with a really nice Le Coq Sportif Spurs one in there from 82. John, I’m not sure how far to go – I really wanted to just focus on Admiral in the 70s as it really was their heyday. They crashed and burned and I think they actually went bust around 80/81 so the England kit was their last hurrah. I’m really intrigued by that Norwich kit you posted – I have NEVER seen that before and need to find out exactly its lifespan.

  19. john b Says:

    i mentioned the 1980 England kit as you say it was the last hurrah for admiral sadly.
    as for the norwich kit,i bet it was only worn at wolves or watford,1979 its from according to the programme cover.
    looking forward to tracksuits,do you want some United ones posting? admiral? adidas?

  20. Jon Says:

    I remember seeing that Norwich away kit with the green sleeves, it was around about 1979/80 because I remember a funny penalty incident involving a pedantic ref on an old own goals and gaffs tape from when they played Wolves.

    I’ve seen Bradford City’s Admiral home kit from the late 70’s, it was actually white (yes, white) like the Leeds kit, but with claret and amber replacing blue and white respectively.

  21. Graeme Says:

    This clip is a bit blurry, but here’s Dundee at home to Celtic in their Admiral kit back in 1980: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1N-cKvg5lw . Not sure if they changed to blue shorts that day, as normally they wear white shorts, but I’m afraid the game is a bit before my time!

  22. Graeme Says:

    Oh, and the Wolves vs. Norwich game is on a Danny Baker video called “Freak Football”. I’ll try and dig it out and upload the clip to YouTube.

  23. Mark Jessop Says:

    Are you interested in just Admiral badged kits or do you want info on earlier kits made by Admiral but w/o manufacturers logo.

  24. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks everyone – I’ll immerse myself in Match of the Seventies straight away! Graeme, thanks for the clip.

    John B, yes there will be some Man Utd tracksuits there – especially that classic Admiral one based on the away kit.
    Hello Mark, I’m focussing pretty much on Admiral 73/74 onwards when the logos started to appear. Did they manufacture many kits before then do you know?

  25. john b Says:

    http://i35.tinypic.com/1pjigm.jpg

  26. john b Says:

    http://i33.tinypic.com/11b41p0.jpg

  27. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks John – not seen either of those. Seems teams would wear more than one tracksuit per season.

  28. john b Says:

    http://i34.tinypic.com/2eex10x.jpg

  29. Mark Jessop Says:

    Leeds started wearing Admiral logo’d kits in 73/74 (plain white, long sleeved with collar and inset V) and were I believe the first team to do so. I thought however that they’d worn Admiral shirts without logos the previous season after taking over from Umbro.

  30. Jon Says:

    I’m not sure about Leeds’ kits in 72/73, though they wore three variants of the home shirt, but in the 73/74 season they started with Umbro kits featuring the diamond logo, and by the winter had started wearing Admiral.

    But whereas the Umbro and Admiral home kits were virtually identical (apart from the logos and number font), there was a tell-tale difference in the away kit. The Umbro version was the usual yellow shade, but the Admiral version’s shirt and socks were a much paler yellow, bit like the shade of that curious yellow England third kit featured in the Kit Cupboard on this site. Strangely the shorts were the same yellow shade as the Umbro kit, to make for a right mis-match of yellows!

  31. Steve Browne Says:

    John,

    I’ve researched the Admiral phenomenon, and consequently have details of early Sheffield United home and away kits; specific dates of Leeds’ link up with Admiral. Plus the vast majority of the lower league clubs who wore Admiral in those pioneering days. As well as tracksuits from the 1970s. I’m happy to share these with you. What’s the best way to communicate the information?

  32. Deano Says:

    Great stuff John, talk about overwhelmed with nostalgia! The first kit I ever owned was the Spurs home kit, bought by my Mum & Dad for Christmas ’79….I seem to remember reversing the sock tops was how you showed the Admiral logo in navy on white, I was pretty sure that’s how the players did it in all the Shoot! action shots. (It worked for me anyway!).

  33. Graeme Says:

    Re: the Wolves vs. Norwich game in the late 1970s, and Norwich’s green-sleeved away kit – I’ve belatedly uploaded the video to my YouTube account: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ro3rhYo5Bk . This might even be the same game reflected in the programme that John B uploaded in a previous post.

  34. john b Says:

    too right graeme,i remember watching that game on the big match one sunday afternoon,check out the big gap between the pitch and the new stand! great stuff.

  35. Jonny Says:

    Some of these kit designs would look awesome in contemporary versions, the West Ham and Luton kits in particular.

  36. Rich Johnson Says:

    Some fantastic looking kits here…seems I really did come in at the wrong time to appreciate Admiral. You got any plans to do any more features like this John? Umbro in the 80s?

  37. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks Rich – I did contemplate doing something similar, focussing more on templates. Templates get a lot of stick but I used to love seeing the same adidas/Umbro designs (and Admiral to a lesser extent) in different colourways back in the late 70s/early 80s.

    Jonny, Crystal Palace did sort of revive their Admiral sash kit last season – strangely I believe they marketed it as a copy of the adidas version that followed but the big Errea logos down each sleeve made it obvious that it was influenced by the Admiral kit.

  38. tony Says:

    http://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=arbroath&osCsid=cjnfe616h75bj49kmra72eirk1&x=20&y=4

    a rare lower scottish league Admiral shirt

  39. Steve Browne Says:

    In response to a post from John B, the Admiral/Manchester United contract with was of such a potentially lucrative nature, that Manchester United had both a “home” and “away” tracksuit. You could also purchase the goalkeepers kit too! In the era concerned, every goalies’ top was the same, plain green, red or blue. It does illustrate just how advanced Admirals’ marketing operation was.

  40. john b Says:

    steve,i carnt remember the united goalie shirt being for sale(i might be wrong as i was around 7/8 at the time) tracksuits are a bit difficult to pin down timewise,will dig into the programme collection,i did see a MUFC admiral scarf on ebay not long back,went for a good price too.

  41. Steve Browne Says:

    John (B),
    When I was a kid, (about the same age as you by the looks of it), my local sports shop sold green goal-keepers shirts of Man. Utd and West Ham. They were of the standard design, green with a button tab and collar, with the Admiral logo and club badge. There may have been others, apart from the England ‘keepers jersey, which was commonplace.

  42. john b Says:

    cheers steve,found this piece of admiral on ebay,an old Man.United t-shirt,i never remembered stuff like this
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ULTRA-RARE-MANCHESTER-UNITED-MAN-UTD-1970S-T-SHIRT_W0QQitemZ300363087904QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_SportsLeisure_Football_FootballShirts?hash=item45ef090020

  43. Mike Reid Says:

    1978-1980 Saudi Arabia home kit using the admiral template, The away shirt was also produced in green with white stripes.

  44. John Devlin Says:

    Link for above comment:
    http://www.classicfootballshirts.co.uk/p11917/1978-80-Saudi-Arabia-Match-Worn-LS-Home-Shirt-2/product_info.html

    Cheers Mike. Nice one.

  45. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks Tony for the link as well…

  46. Karl Says:

    Hello – firstly, I’ve got to say I love the books, I got both just after publication. I’ve also been reading this site for a few months but this is my first post – I saw this topic and couldn’t resist!
    The Admiral Manchester United home kit was the first kit I was ever bought, when I was about six, so it holds a special significance for me. John B’s right about the white away socks – they were worn in team photos but never in a game as far as I’m aware.
    Anyway, to bring the story up to date a little, I now watch FC United of Manchester, who in the next few weeks will be unveiling their new kit – made by Admiral!

  47. Athanasios Papathanasiou Says:

    Man Utd also used an away shirt with four stripes instead of three.I saw it in a photo from a 1976 shoot magazine.

  48. Steve Browne Says:

    That shirt with the 4 stripes was worn at Sheffield United in late 1975, Athanasios. Whether it was just a design variation I’m not sure, but reverted to three stripes soon afterwards. Within the next year or two, several shirts with 4 and even 5 stripes vertically down the right side of shirts, (and tracksuits) appeared, including Dumbarton, and the WHUFC tracksuit.

  49. john b Says:

    karl,the first fcum shirt was almost a double for the admiral shirt wasnt it? carnt wait to see the new one. the 4 stripe shirt is available in the club megastore but like a lot of the retro shirts,they arnt a patch on the originals,no admiral/adidas badges and the 83 shirts dont even feature the 3 stripes down the sleeves!!

  50. Hobsch Says:

    Admiral was kit supplier for Eintacht Frankfurt in Germany back in 1976.

    http://www.eintracht-archiv.de/trikots/1976_grabi.jpg
    http://www.eintracht-archiv.de/trikots/1976_wenzel.jpg

    The shirts were white or yellow.

  51. Karl Says:

    John B – that was the second shirt, it was put forward in a fan vote and was the overwhelming favourite. They’re still wearing it at the moment, and ironically it will be replaced by the Admiral one, which hopefully you can see here:

    http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/shop/images/New%20Shirt%201.JPG

  52. Karl Says:

    And on the 4-stripe away shirt – I bought one of those replicas a few years back, and it was only when I got it home that I noticed a fourth stripe! I looked through all my old yearbooks and programmes and couldn’t find any photos with them wearing anything other than three. The shirt did come with a tag containing a photo of Lou Macari wearing a 4-stripe version but I always wondered if that was just Photoshopped in!

  53. john b Says:

    karl-must say i’m not impressed by the new fcum shirt,the collar is massive and the stripe down one side would be better on an away shirt.sounds like ,your like me mate,scouring old supporters yearbooks and United reviews for old kits etc.

  54. Willie Says:

    Hi John, Motherwell fan here!
    A few bits of information about our featured shirts.
    The 1978-79 home kit was designed by a fan in a competition run by the club and Admiral.
    The 1976-78 away kit shorts did not have the claret and amber stripes down the front (would have looked much better in my opinion!). They had two butted together bold claret and amber stripes down the each side of the shorts (amber at the front and claret at the back). The socks are also slightly wrong as the amber stripe should sit above the claret one.
    [IMG]http://i49.tinypic.com/2rf3dxc.jpg[/IMG]
    I was involved in designing a retro version of this away top which was produced by Bukta for the club shop.
    http://www.oldfootballshirts.com/en/teams/m/motherwell/old-motherwell-football-shirt-s5599.html
    Admiral also produced our 1976-78 home shirt.
    Keep up the good work!

  55. Steve Browne Says:

    Willy,

    Was a retro of ’76 Motherwell home shirt ever commissioned?
    I think that particular kit is a absolute classic!

    It have noticed that for certain retro shirts of the Admiral vintage are appearing in club shops with the Admiral logo and trim. Norwich City is one is question, I wonder if they have a licensing deal with Admiral? (I think Score Draw produce theirs) Retro shirts such as the one you link to, Willy are great, but as soon as the ‘logo stripe’ was part of the original design the authenticity takes a knock. Collars seem to be a tad to conservative in size as well! haha

  56. Willie Says:

    Steve,

    Sorry but our 1976 Admiral home shirt has never had the retro treatment.

    The recent retro 76-78 white away was copied directly from an Admiral replica from the time and is still available from the club shop.

    I added the original stitched MFC monogram to give it an authentic players look. The replica’s from the time never had this on them.

    Any new retro shirt with the Admiral logo on it can only be done with the permission of Admiral. Most if not all of these will be made by Admiral as the retro football shirt market is big business.

    Cheers

  57. Willie Says:

    John,

    Motherwell Admiral Home 76-78.
    Hope these links work!

    http://tinypic.com/r/29yr1wz/6
    http://tinypic.com/r/2im0tp3/6
    http://tinypic.com/r/ejx4pf/6

    The 70’s MFC monogram
    http://tinypic.com/r/2rcsksh/6

    also Historical Kits site shows how the Admiral kits should look.
    http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/Scottish_Football_League/Motherwell/Motherwell.htm

  58. Tim Says:

    There is a photo of Steve Coppell in the four-stripe United away kit here (under the “change” tab): http://www.unitedkits.com/photos/1975.html

    The reason for the different number of stripes is probably because they were on a seperate panel of material 3-4 inches wide sewn into to the shirt. Admiral either had troble sourcing the same striped material or they sewed the material in with black stripes on the outside (black/white/black/white/black/white/black) instead of white on the outside (white/black/white/black/white/black/white) as usual.

    john b, the Score Draw retro versions don’t have the Admiral logos as they do not hold the licence to use it. The same goes for the three stripes on the shoulder of the 1983 FA Cup shirt, they are copyrighted by Adidas so they cannot include them (unless they want to be sued).

  59. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Willie – thanks very much for all the vital info on those Motherwell kits – I’m very impressed that you were involved in the Bukta retro version, how did that come about? Also, where did the Admiral logo sit on the 78-76 away kit shirt, beneath the monogram? Finally, do you know what the away kit was for 78-79?
    Thanks again…

  60. Willie Says:

    Hi John,

    Basically I’m a life-long Motherwell fan with an interest in football kits.

    I was lucky to win the ‘Design a Motherwell home shirt’ for the 2006-2007 season.
    http://www.oldfootballshirts.com/en/teams/m/motherwell/old-motherwell-football-shirt-s2973.html
    The design was inspired by our old rugby styled 1950’s shirts.

    This was followed by the club shop asking if I would help with the production of their Bukta produced Admiral replica. It involved producing vector artwork for the MFC monogram ( copied from old pictures).
    http://tinypic.com/r/xe2w4p/6
    Supplying detailed marked up instructions of the other elements of the shirt (width of stripes, cuffs and collar size etc). Although the finished collar on our Bukta shirt ended up a little smaller than the original Admiral version. Also, the material used on the replica was more user friendly!

    Back to the original shirt…
    The Admiral logo on the original shirt sat to the left of the claret and amber vertical stripes, and lined up with the base of the MFC monogram. (see picture link)
    http://tinypic.com/r/2mnhdza/6

    I’m almost certain we still used the white away for the 78-79 season, but we reverted back to our 1976-1978 home shirt in Feb 79 due the poor reaction to the new fan designed kit. This older home top was now worn with claret shorts with white and amber side stripes. The socks were claret with a white and amber stripe at the top. (see picture link)
    http://tinypic.com/r/2ajyslv/6

    Phew!

    Hope this helps John.

  61. Willie Says:

    Hi John,

    Just checked online and it appears our away kit for the 78-79 season was indeed the white shirt. The only change was the Admiral logo was positioned in the middle of the vertical stripes. (see pic of Peter Marinello shot during the 78-79 season)
    http://tinypic.com/r/s2ebtu/6
    It also seems we used our claret home shorts and claret socks.

    Cheers,

    Willie

  62. merv Says:

    wot a joy to look at!!! i have got the spurs home retro 78 and i love it… now why cant they make the england one,s again…. they would make a bomb!!!

  63. Willie Says:

    Hi John,
    Just remembered another great Admiral kit as worn by the late great Davie Cooper in his spell with Clydebank.

    This home kit would have been worn around 1975-77.

    Not sure if any other team wore this design (I certainly don’t remember any other Scottish side wearing it). The bold red stripes on the sleeves set it apart from the rest of the usual Admiral kits of the time. (see links below)

    http://tinypic.com/r/2pq5mw4/6

    http://tinypic.com/r/105xws0/6

    http://tinypic.com/r/2lvijbo/6

  64. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Willie – thanks for that info – must be a great feeling to have such an interest in kits and then end up designing one for your team! Well done! Thanks again for the other Admiral tips, Davie Cooper was a great player wasn’t he? Still remember him scoring the penalty against Wales that ensured Scotland qualified for the 82 World Cup. A real class act.

  65. Steve Browne Says:

    My research uncovered that Cowdenbeath wore a royal/bright blue version of the ’75-’77 Clydebank, (which Willy has highlighted) over the same period.
    The ‘Blue Brazil’ version had a bold stripe on the sleeve in white, along with a white/black/white vertical stripe on the left front of the jersey, interspersed with the main colour of the blue shirt itself.
    At that time, Admiral were apparently marketing heavily logo branded kits for ‘amateur’ teams, a little like their modern day predecessors, such as Nike and adidas. Of course Admiral, revolutionary innovators that they were did it 35 years ago! It is unlikely that any of the lower league, Scottish or English club sides which Admiral supplied during that era would have had replicas available to the public. But would probably have been available as a set, so you’d have had to buy all 11 kits!

  66. Steve Browne Says:

    Apologies. i should have written “successor”, not “predecessor”. Must remember to proof read!

  67. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks Steve – didn’t realise Admiral had made such inroads in Scotland.

  68. Steve Browne Says:

    They were widespread, John.
    Thus far, and putting those you’ve illustrated, and others and myself have identified, aside. They produced kits in the ’70s for the following;

    Abroath,
    Albion Rovers
    Dumbarton
    East Fife
    Forfar Athletic
    Hamilton Accies
    Meadowbank Thistle

  69. Willie Says:

    Not forgetting all the NASL soccer teams that also wore Admiral kits.

    Philadelphia Fury were my favourites for obvious colour reasons!

    http://tinypic.com/r/29wo27t/6

    http://tinypic.com/r/ezj47t/6

    I’m sure Toffs do retro versions of some of these great shirts.

  70. Don smith Says:

    couldn`t get any better than that john ! thanks mate can`t wait to show my younger brother the kits. I remember my eldest brother buying us the saints home and away full strips for christmas, a memory i will always cherish as he wasn`t on a great deal of money in the seventies and was probably only about 18 years old ! thanks again ,love all the kits !

  71. Robert Gray Says:

    Hello John,
    Norwich fan of 38 years with a deep interest in the Admiral strips, I still have my original canaries full kit and tracksuit from 1977. Can’t sqeeze into them now even if I wanted to, I was only 15 at the time so thank heavens for these official replicas coming through now.
    I can confirm what Steve said about the Scottish teams, some very attractive ones in the lower leagues, Albion Rovers a particular favourite. Try this website, gives a very good idea. http://www.historicalkits.co.uk
    Nice to see them all replicated here on the one page, by the way, that website doesn’t show the away kits so thanks for adding them here.
    Robert Gray

  72. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Robert – thanks for getting in touch, I was very interested to hear your memories of Admiral kits. I am becoming more aware at just how many kits the company supplied back in the mid-late 70s. Incredible stuff. You may be able to help me with the Norwich kits if you don’t mind? Do you know the dates of the two Admiral away kits of this period? I have the all-white one (see above) but I also now have a pic of white shirt with green sleeves? I believe that was the last Canaries Admiral away before the switch to adidas. If you could confirm that that would be great! I am aware of historicalkits.co.uk and Dave Moor and his contributors do some excellent work on the site. Thanks again…

  73. Robert Gray Says:

    Hi again John, we didn’t wear away colours much at that time, the all white kit was used at Mansfield and Oxford for Testimonials during 76-77. Wolverhampton was the only league venue to see it and I think it got an outing at Cambridge Utd in a pre season friendly. Again it was used only at Wolves for the next two seasons but had dissapeared by the start of the 79-80 season. Again we only used the away kit at Wolves but it was more of a made up affair. We used the green sleeve version shirt which you correctly mention but it was paired up with the ‘home’ shorts and all white socks devoid of any markings, I’m sure the socks wern’t Admiral, probably just 12 pairs of ordinary white socks obtained from local stockist Tom Stevensons sports suppliers, who incidently, supplied the replica kits in those days – the club itself didn’t get involved with replica kits until 1986. We played Wolves twice at the beggining of 1980 at Molyneaux, League and F.A. Cup, both on match of the day so I’m certain footage will be available somewhere to support my evidence. I’m sure this was a stop gap away kit until Addidas came along at the start of 1981-82 season.

  74. Robert Gray Says:

    By the way John, sorry to nit pick, but the Norwich socks depicted above in the diagrames should have 2 thin green hoops on them in similar fashion to the Sheff Utd 77-79 socks. Then in 77-78 onwards the Canaries used socks in similar fashion to the Spurs 77-80 with Admiral logos on them.

  75. jonathon wheatley Says:

    hey up men. good to see there are other admiral fanatics out there. it’s nice to know i’m not alone. if you get bored, you might want to check out my admiral collection. i started collecting england shirts match worn shirts many moons ago, but re-focused onto 70’s club match worn shirts and with admiral being my faves by far, my focus now is to get as much 70’s player examples as possible. there are some right crackers; not cheap, worth every penny and always the best. king of style, they are a pure work of art….

    http://www.freewebs.com/weedosenglandgear

  76. Robert Gray Says:

    I envy you Jonathon, I always wanted one of those white admiral Norwich track tops, I have the green version.

  77. John Devlin Says:

    Jonathan – thanks for your message what a WONDERFUL site! So great to see your superb collection of Admiral kit. On my next blog post I’ll direct people towards it as I’m sure many of the visitors to my site would be interested. Incidentally I might pass your details onto Umbro if thats OK as I know they have been looking out for originals of some of their early England shirts. Cheers – John

  78. Steve Browne Says:

    Hi Jonathon,
    I was fascinated by your Admiral collection photos, thanks for sharing that! I can appreciate the rarity value of players’ shirts which could now be over 30 years old.
    It’s noticeable the match worn shirts are not in the same type of whatever 100% polyester they used in 1976, as was my recollection of the replica’s I had as a kid. Sadly, all that remains from my childhood Admiral wardrobe is a pair of Wales’ home shorts and early West Ham shorts, pre-Admiral logo trim. Additionally, I liked the heat applied logos and club badges as they adorned replicas, until of course they started to crack after a few washes.
    Do you have your collection on display or loan your artifacts out to club museums?
    I have researched the Admiral golden era of ’75-’80, having discovered some absolute gems en route, however, a couple of yours such as the Bobby Clark testimonial shirt and Norwich “away” (?) tracksuit are both new to me.

  79. Steve Browne Says:

    Robert,

    It’s great to hear your Admiral reminiscences!
    I had a painstaking search to find any photographic evidence of the NC away shirt…..finally discovered on the back page in grainy Wolverhampton Express & Star. That image seemed to suggest a white button up collar, like the one Luton town had at that time, but i’ve never been able to corroborate that.

    Do you remember/know, if the white Norwich tracksuit was available as a replica back then? Jonathon’s picture is clearly a players version….one look at the size of the Admiral logo on the chest says it all!

  80. Robert Gray Says:

    Hi Steve,

    The white Norwich track suit that I am so envious of in Jonathans collection wasn’t available back in the 70’s as a replica item. The only photos I have/or seen of it suggest that it was only worn by the manager and coaching staff. I have the other style of tracksuit used widely by the players which was available at the time as a replica. I have photo’s of the players wearing it and it was all green flared bottoms with a green jacket which included a yellow chevron and coller on the top half of the jacket, in similar fashion to West Ham Utd 76-80 home kit above, finished off with yellow cuffs. My Mum got me this in 1977 when I was 15, I hardly wore it which means that it is in mint condition although impossible to get into these days!

  81. jonathon wheatley Says:

    men

    please share my website with as many peeps as possible. it helps me and others to build our collections with swaps and deals etc. on the umbro site, they have got a cracking mansfield shirt that i would love to get, but don’t suppose umbro do swaps.
    i am proud of my wears. it has took me 5 years to date, plenty of hours searching, blood, sweat and some tears (aswell as plenty of coin) to pull it together, but worth it…..in my world anyway.
    i only display the shirts in my games room – the safe place i go to escape the house when all hell breaks loose with dogs, kids and women; i could look at them all day.
    if clubs wanted to ever borrow them, i would be up for that, but i have never really been in contact with them.
    you can see from my shirts that some are made of polyester, however this is a better grade material than what was used on replicas, but horrible still to play in. some are made of a nice cotton mix, real quality and would of been nicer to wear for sure, however, when wet they must of weighed a ton on rainly saturday aftenoon. on the jimmy rimmer england goalie top, the admiral badge is sewn on top of a transfer badge and you can see on others that transfer admiral badges were sometimes used on shirts, but clearly not as common as the sewn badge for players stuff. the norwich trackie i have seen on the back of john bond in one of the admiral annuals i have and when you look at shirts in there, sewn on badges where the choice for player stuff, but occaionally transfers. i envy anyone who said they owned admiral shirts as a kid, coz my mum told me she could never afford to buy me them…tough times the 70’s in a small mining town lol. i had to make do with any shirt that apperaed at jumble sales. i remember having old qpr, west ham and scotland shirts. classics, but not what i really craved for. maybe thats why i have the issue now of collecting this stuff, making up for lost time lol.
    i made a big school boy error a year ago when i turned down a brown coventry player shirt. the deal wasnt right for me at the time, but i think i will regreat it. i can’t imagine many more of them ever turning back up…..

  82. John Devlin Says:

    Robert – thanks for the update on the Norwich kits, very useful and confirmed my thoughts. You might be interested in this little feature I posted a while ago on Norwich kits:

    http://www.truecoloursfootballkits.com/articles/who-has-the-best-away-kits

    Jonathon – on my next post I’ll definitely point people in the direction of your great site.

  83. jonathon wheatley Says:

    hey men

    i have just scored a cracking coventry home blue #10 match worn 1979 shirt. i have just put it on my website if anybody would like to see it.

    cheers.

  84. football gifts Says:

    I love the Wales Home Shirt 1976-80, I had one as a kid and have just bought the official replica shirt, it still looks very cool.

  85. Mondo Says:

    Love the Admiral memories buzzing about on this post – and the pic’s are fab.

    I’ve got an Admiral catalogue and poster from the 76/77 season at home (thought I’d lost it, but finally found it last week) which has the full range of Admiral goodies in. I’ll try and scan some in at some point. You can catch a teaser glimpse from it on my blog here.

    http://planetmondo.blogspot.com/2008/05/favourite-shirts-admiral-ringer.html

    PS – I had the Coventry tram line design summer of 77

  86. John Devlin Says:

    Cheers Mondo – great to have you on the site. Mondo’s blog is well worth a visit to see his scans of Admiral goodies.

  87. jonathon wheatley Says:

    great scans mondo. i have just uploaded another bank robbing admiral match worn 70’s beauty which i recently got. a spurs #2 Terry Naylor. it’s a work of art.

  88. Ashley Gray Says:

    Nice work. Will you do tracksuits as well? I noticed, while watching an Orient v Luton game from 1974 on youtube that Luton were sporting Leeds-style Admiral tracksuits as they jogged onto the pitch. Also, what about Admiral kits that didn’t get up? I know Brighton were pitched an Admiral kit in the West Ham chevron style that didn’t get the go-ahead. Does anyone know if a West Ham away kit was produced for the 1976 ECWC final?

  89. Ashley Gray Says:

    When I said “Brighton” in the last post I meant Bolton. Has anyone seen the Singapore away strip Admiral made in the 70s?

  90. jonathon wheatley Says:

    hey up ashley

    not sure if admiral did a west ham away kit for the final, but they defo did a home version as can be seen at the link below. i have never seen the singapore away strip, but would like to if anyone has got any pics.

    http://www.kumb.com/collection/DCP_0850.jpg

  91. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Ashley – thanks for getting in touch. I’ll certainly investigate the rare kits you mentioned. Tracksuits?! Watch this space…

  92. jonathon wheatley Says:

    john, tracksuits watch this space ? i have just scored a another england 1975 players tracksuit top of a different style to my phil neal 1. this has the admiral logo and 3 lions badge on the front, 1 pocket and nothing on the back. also, the collar has been modified. if intrested in looking at it, it is my new signings section on my website. cheers

  93. Steve Browne Says:

    Ashley,
    I’ve only just seen your post.
    The ’76 ECWC Final was played in Brussels, home city of Anderlecht, but it was who wore their white away kit. It would have been interesting to see what Admiral would have provided WHUFC if the roles had been reversed.
    The away kit the Irons did get the following August was one of the first with Admiral logo trim on shirt and shorts to be integrated into the design of the strip, something that became de rigour within a short while.

  94. Patrick M Says:

    Great page, takes me back. Had the Admiral Leeds home kit, away shirt and tracksuit 1977-78.
    Remember writing a letter to Admiral about 1978 about the badges on the shirts and they sent me a few Leeds and Admiral sew on badges.
    Also had a great poster with all the current Admiral kits around 1975 or 76… Good times!!

  95. Richard P Says:

    The Pompey kit shown was in fact worn from 1978-1980. To answer one of the above questions the away kit in the same period was a red version of the blue home shirt, with plain red shorts and red socks.

    Also I believe QPR wore an Admiral kit in 74/75 (?) which is not shown.

  96. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks for the info Richard much appreciated. Yes QPR did wear Admiral around that time but I wanted the feature to focus on the classic later Admiral kits. I may well extend it though.

    Thanks again.

    Patrick – thanks for your comments as well. Just been looking at some old Leeds pics from the Cup Final in the 60s when they walked out wearing pale blue Umbro tracksuit tops and red socks.

  97. Steve Browne Says:

    QPR’s partnership with Admiral fizzled out after about 6 months, in the ’74-’75 season. By January they were wearing Umbro logoed kit.
    Even odder, they wore an all red shirt, by Admiral, with Man. U away style black shorts, for two or three games, but in others appeared in yellow shirts and blue shorts with neither manufacturers or club badge……

  98. Sean Says:

    Leeds 1973-1974 Championship winning team used whatever shirt each player felt comfortable wearing ie in the same game players could be seen wearing a Umbro round necked shirt and other wearing the Admiral shirt with collars – and a mix of different branded shorts, socks etc. Don Revie felt there was no problem in this as long as the player was 100% comfortable and relaxed. Looking back I used to think the team was just doing a bit of recycling to save some money!

  99. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks everyone – Steve, great info on QPR there. Sean, fascinating – considering Don Revie is almost the father of replica shirts its odd isn’t it that the allowed the players to wear what they wanted!!

  100. Steve Says:

    possibly well known on here but i just found something interesting at admiral hong kong while searching for old admiral kits – hk400 sounds a lot but its about 30 quid !

    http://admiral.com.hk/products-page/

  101. Dave Lythgoe Says:

    Just found this site.
    Fantastic stuff – especially this section on Admiral kits. Lots of great memories.
    The Man Utd away was the first kit that I owned as a kid. By the way, when Utd first released that kit at the start of the ’75/’76 Season it had 4 black stripes.

  102. Dave Lythgoe Says:

    I’ve just found this on youtube.

    It shows the Man Utd away kit with 4 black stripes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1KjaqAT3Sg

  103. Dave Lythgoe Says:

    Sorry. Wrong link.

    Here’s the correct one…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P19J4qWrqFc

    Personally, I think that the one that I originally posted is far more entertaining!!!

  104. Chimpanzee Says:

    I remember Southend United having an Admiral kit based on the England away kit 1974-81 except that it was blue (of course) with piping in red and white on the sleeves and collar and white shorts. Does anybody have a picture? It was sheer class.

  105. Steve Browne Says:

    I believe I may have a picture…..but sadly only in b&w. I’ll have a looky. As a child, my first football match watching experiences were of the Southend United team wearing that Admiral kit. If I recall the shorts were based on the England away shorts, the socks on the home kit.

    btw; Does anyone recall their away kit of that era?

  106. John Devlin Says:

    I don’t remember that kit at all – the first kit I saw Southend in was their late 70s Bukta outfit before they switched to a mainly white shirt. Away kit back then was yellow, with red being preferred for much of the early 80s.

  107. Ronan Smith Says:

    I was 10 years old in 1974 and thought that all Admiral kits were just brilliant. As an Arsenal fan all I wanted to see was my team with an Admiral kit (which we all know never happened). We lived in Tottenham at the time and I remember me and my brother walking all the way to Edmonton just to look in ‘J W Ramsbothams” window to look at the Admiral kits (no money to buy any of course). Christmas 1974 and my sister (who was working) bought my brother the Leeds away and me the QPR home. To this day I still look out for the QPR result. Fond memories!

  108. Dave Walkers Says:

    Does any one know if you can buy the sew on admiral badges anywhere?

  109. Denis Hurley Says:

    Can’t say I do Dave, maybe worth asking them directly? http://www.admiralsportswear.com/Contact

  110. Bruce Says:

    Unfortunately the Aberdeen Admiral red away shorts that you’ve shown above are incorrect. They did have red shorts for both home and away but the away ones just had Admiral logos down the side much like the Spurs navy ones. I used to work in the shop that supplied the team kits to Aberdeen and once had a pair of each.

  111. Robin Gomes Says:

    Admiral kits were ahead of its time and if I remember correctly FORFAR AthLETIC were outfitted in a sklyblue outfit with navy and white verticle stripes down one side. The shorts also sported the verticle stripes…unfortunately I cant find any pictures of this kit.

  112. Tony Says:

    http://www.snspix.com/793448/print/793448.html

    this is the one you are talking about Robin

  113. Rob Says:

    Hi John,
    Although there is very little proof of it I’m fairly sure that the brown Coventry kit had white socks, their is a photo online against Spurs but they had white socks too. I had the kit and it came with white with brown admiral logos. Here’s a photo of the team group from 1979 but with just plain socks on the managers, but they look like they’ve been turned over.
    http://www.nasljerseys.com/images/ASL/Coventry%2079-80%20ROad%20Team.jpg

  114. Tony Sealey Says:

    That could explain then, why it was worn with yellow socks ib 1980/81

  115. Rob Says:

    Wow, nice find Tony

  116. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks Rob – they may well have used white socks as well as brown – there’s definitely pics of them wearing brown pairs.

  117. Steve Browne Says:

    @Tony Sealey;

    In 80/81 Coventry’s away kit was an all yellow version of the ‘dynamic stripes’, which were in black. (Incidentally, the very same as the Eintracht Frankfurt away kit of the mid-70s.)
    This was the final year of Admiral’s partnership with them….(and with everyone else too!), except England.

  118. Andrew Rockall Says:

    I was chatting with Martin Chivers last week, as you do, and I asked him about the brown Admiral away kit that Servette wore (it was the same as Coventry’s) He said the players didn’t have an issue with it, despite it regularly topping worse kit polls, though it was hard to pick out a team mate against the crowd.

  119. Phil Says:

    Hi John

    Firstly, love this thread and all the links people have added. These brilliant Admiral kits cover such an evocative time and seeing them really takes you back to being a kid again.

    I recently bought the 1978 Tottenham home and away shirts from the club website. As these retro shirts are actually made by Admiral, they included the maker’s logo. I noticed that in your picture, the away shirt has the Admiral logo outside of the blue band, while the shirt I bought has it within the band. This footage of a Spurs away game in 1978 has the players wearing shirts with the badge both out of the blue band (eg John Duncan) and in the blue band (eg Peter Taylor, Glenn Hoddle)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AbzeNGLrLA

    I have a feeling the Admiral logo eventually ended up within the blue band on a permanent basis. Does anyone have any ideas on this?

    Additionally, it would be really interesting to hear others’ guilty kit yearnings. Despite being a Spurs fan, I would have loved to have had the Man Utd home or away, and the Palace home. All complete class!!!

  120. Steve Says:

    I think everyone of a certain age has a soft spot for Admiral but I think with hindsight the quality was a bit of an issue.

    Interesting piece on the inconsistencies of the admiral England era linking in with Phil’s comments.

    http://www.englandfootballonline.com/TeamInteractive/Features/FeatAdmiral.html

  121. Tony Sealey Says:

    Re: Phil #119

    Spurs played in away shirts with the Admiral logo both on and off the blue stripe, depending upon the season.

    In 1977/78, the short sleeve shirt had the logo on the stripe, whilst the long sleeve version had it off the stripe.

    For 1978/79, the logo was off the stripe for both variants and, for 1979/80, the logo was on the stripe for both variants. Which seems to me that there was no consistant design.

    Hope this is clear.

  122. Tony Sealey Says:

    Re Steve #105

    The Southend away strip of this era, was the yellow kit with navy blue/black chevrons ala Sheffield United, but with no club badge. I saw them play in it at Wimbledon in the 1977/78 season

    Also, can anyone confirm whether or not Crystal Palace played in this kit? I have a Palace vs Spurs programme from 1977, which shows a kids drawing of it, complete with Palace logo, but have never seen any photographic proof to back this up

  123. Steve Browne Says:

    @Tony (122.)

    My research on Admiral uncovered this anomaly; Basically, C.Palace played at Sheff. Utd in ’77/’78 season. They did wear the Blades’ yellow chevron away shirt. The only conclusion I have is that they had arrived for the game with their home kit, and the referee perceived it too similar to red and white stripes, therefore the visitors wore the home sides change.
    (Maybe the childs drawing used artistic licence to introduce a Palace badge where the Blades’ should have been.

    My source was the Sheffield Star Green-Un.

  124. Tony Sealey Says:

    Steve

    Thanks for that. Looking at the drawing again, it indeed could be a Blades badge. Another mystery solved

  125. Phil Says:

    Belated thanks to you Tony and Steve

    Tony, your info answers all my questions and pefectly illustrates the Admiral inconsistencies Steve highlighted in his fascinating link.

    The brilliant United Kits web site echoes this further, detailing changes in club badge, sleeve and collar trim, and also Admiral badge all within individual seasons.

    For example, kit changes during the 1978-79 season can be seen here

    http://www.unitedkits.com/seasons/1978.html

    The site also has an article on the iconic white away shirt of the period. It seems Admiral got into a spot of bother with Addidas over the use of three stripes which led to a fourth stripe being added to shirts until a resolution was reached. The shirts then reverted back to three stripes.

    http://www.unitedkits.com/articles/admiral.html

  126. Tony Sealey Says:

    Re Steve #105

    Here is a photo of the Southend Admiral away kit

    http://www.wimbledonfcprogrammes.co.uk/#/1977-78/4570789653

  127. Tony Sealey Says:

    Steve

    you need to go to the Swansea match

  128. Steve Browne Says:

    Tony

    Many thanks for that! So, Southend United wore the same away as Sheff. Utd. (76-78). (It was also the Dumbarton away.)
    Interesting to compare and contrast with the templates of contemporary large manufacturers today.

  129. Tony Sealey Says:

    Can anybody confirm, though Steve Browne is the most likely, is this an early version of the Coventry City yellow tramline kit, without Talbot sponsorship and with the Admiral logos on the collar?

    http://westbromprogrammes.co.uk/view_prog.php?progID=44556

  130. Steve Browne Says:

    You are correct, Tony.
    This is the earliest I have noticed this third, or is it, fourth kit?
    Personally, I wouldn’t have considered WBA’s stripes to have clashed with Coventry City’s all-sky blue.
    However, it should be remembered that this is the exact same kit that Eintracht Frankfurt wore as their away kit from 1975 onwards. Who says that templates are a new phenomenon, eh? Pity the current day versions aren’t as striking as this one.
    BTW; that design was known as ‘dynamic stripes’

  131. Keith Gillett Says:

    Hello john,just looking through some old match programmeso and saw that Norwich had 2 green hoops on shin of socks with green Admiral logos on the sock turnovers

  132. Dave Riley Says:

    Admiral also supplied Stoke City with their kits in 1974-75. A red and white stripes home shirt with a black collar, white shorts with red and black stripes and white shorts for the home kit. Away white shirt with black and red sash, black shorts with red and white stripes and red socks. 3rd kit lemon with light blue and black sash, light blue shorts and socks. Man Utd style black socks with red and white turnovers were worn in some away games. Stoke also wore a kit with orange shirts, black shorts and orange socks in some friendlies not sure that it was made by admiral though

  133. tony Says:

    York City also had Admiral at the end of the 70’s which was unlike any other of the shirts as it had the admiral badge on each sleeve and a plain coloured shirt with no trimmings.

    A few lower league teams would wear Admiral in the early 80’s and Hull City wore Admiral all the way up to 1988.

  134. Andy Rockall - Statto_74 Says:

    I think I saw that on Twitter this week Tony, probably the away shirt as it appeared white.

  135. Andy Says:

    An update on Sheffield United. In the 1978-9 season they wore a 3rd shirt. Which was basically the Luton away kit admiral produced, but with Black/red instead of orange. Here’s Alex Sabella wearing it at Charlton.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cj9ruVKWEAEimuI.jpg

  136. John Devlin Says:

    Great work Andy! What a find – never seen that before!!

  137. Steve Browne Says:

    No. 133; Tony.
    The York city shirt you refer to was worn from ’78-’79. It had a red collar and cuffs with striped edges in navy blue. Those were a graphic interpretation of the Admiral logo; Outer edge stripe the largest, followed by three smaller stripes. (Think collar on Man United home of that era).
    The away version was a plan amber/orange shade, shirts, shorts and socks, with maroon stripes on collar and cuffs as depicted above.

  138. Andy Says:

    @ steve #123

    Here’s photographic confirmation. Geoff Salmons of the Blades and Rachid Harkouk (I think) of Palace clearly in the Blades away kit (different socks).

    https://gotnotgot.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sheff-utd-wrong-kit.jpg

  139. Tony sealey Says:

    ITV will showing a documentary on Admiral on Wednesday evening 21st at 10.40

  140. Jarvie Says:

    interesting reading ; just wanted to drop my tuppence in re Aberdeen kit ; was 10yrs old when it came out , was groundbreaking for us at the time, and is still fondly remembered by many as the “Drew Jarvie” kit of league cup winning fame
    – before that a red v neck or round neck could be worn to play the part of any team in red ; morphs into Kes….

  141. Mark Etches Says:

    Rotherham United wore Admiral 77-80
    http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/Rotherham_United/Rotherham_United.htm

  142. Denis Hurley Says:

    @Jarvie Yeah, it was a lovely Aberdeen kit, very much out of the ordinary!

    @Mark Interesting that Admiral didn’t put their stamp on it, seems identical to Bukta version

  143. Richard John Wilson Says:

    Here is Kilmarnock’s effort from the seventies:

    http://www.footballshirtculture.com/images/stories/shirt_collection/kilmarnock-match-worn-admiral-shirt-1973-1974.jpg

  144. Richard John Wilson Says:

    Here’s Kilmarnock’s effort from the seventies:

    http://www.footballshirtculture.com/images/stories/shirt_collection/kilmarnock-match-worn-admiral-shirt-1973-1974.jpg

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