Sportswear Brand Histories – Adidas

adidas-logo1.gifAs 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 ipswich town home kit shirt jersey 1978-1981 adidasfirm 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.

Newcastle utd home shirt 97-99 adidas kit jerseyA 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.

Liverpool home kit 2006-2008 adidas shirt jersey carlsbergBy 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..

15 Replies to “Sportswear Brand Histories – Adidas

  1. John

    Adidas first made an appearance in English league football with QPR in 1976-77.
    I have some (as yet) unconfirmed evidence that Notts County’s away kit (in yellow in the 3 stripes in blue) was worn early that same season.

  2. Well, it’s been a few years since anyone posted here. However, there is a new contender for the first English League club to wear an Adidas kit. The club weren’t English, and the competition wasn’t the Football League. But, this is the first example and it happened in the ’75-’76 season. A full five months before QPR and Notts County stepped out in their three stripes.
    Before I post an answer, would anybody like to take a guess?

  3. Alec, you are correct! Congrats!
    Here’s the evidence…..
    match footage begins at about 50 seconds in.

    Could probably start a whole new thread about a Third Division side getting to the QF of the ECWC and only narrowly losing on aggregate to the winners, Anderlecht.
    Great to hear the Sportsnight theme too!

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