The 1979-80 season truly was a campaign of firsts and lasts on the kit front.
The firsts came with the arrival of shirt sponsorship – a controversial development in the game that has subsequently been accepted now as part and parcel of football. Liverpool were the first professional English club to sign such a deal with electronics firm Hitachi although their Merseyside neighbours, Everton, followed closely behind with a partnership with Danish tinned ham producers Hafnia.
Sadly for Admiral it was the last major season from their 1970s heyday. Although Leeds, Coventry and Norwich were to continue wearing their Admiral kit during the following season, the rest of their roster all moved on as the Leicester-based firm faced severe financial problems.
The manufacturers tally this season was:
Umbro – 10
Admiral – 7
Adidas – 3
Bukta – 1
Le Coq Sportif – 1
Arsenal – No change.
Aston Villa – No change.
Bolton Wanderers – No change.
Brighton & Hove Albion – New arrivals to Division 1, Brighton sported an updated version of their incumbent Bukta kit that replaced the rather old fashioned inset collar with a more trendy collar/v-neck combo.
Bristol City – No change.
Coventry City – No change.
Crystal Palace – Newly promoted Palace wore their famous sash kit from the 70s in this splendid Admiral incarnation that they had worn since 1977.
Derby County – No change….apart from the now permanent switch to red within the Le Coq Sportif logo.
Everton – Although the kit remained essentially the same (apart from new blue socks!) the big news this season was of course the Hafnia logo on shirts worn only in non-televised games.
Ipswich Town – No change.
Leeds United – No change.
Liverpool – The arrival of Hitachi dominated the Liverpool kit but only for non-televised games of course. The rest of the kit had no change.
Manchester City – A tiny tweak saw ‘Umbro’ text added to the shirt under the diamond logo.
Manchester United – Reverted in the main to their standard badge on the shirt this year, although the previous season’s centenary crest was also worn from time to time along with another coloured variation.
Middlesbrough – No change apart from the switch to white adidas logo and club crest on the shirt.
Norwich City – In true Admiral style…another sock change for the Canaries, this time to a plain yellow with no additional trim or embellishments.
Nottingham Forest – In essence the kit was the same, although, quite rightly, the club celebrated their incredible 1979 European Cup final triumph by wearing commemorative text beneath the badge.
Southampton – No change.
Stoke City – The final Division 1 new boys sported the same Umbro kit they had worn since 1977.
Tottenham Hotspur – A last Admiral hurrah for Spurs in their unchanged kit.
West Bromwich Albion – No change.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Wolves started the season wearing the same shirt that had sported for the past few years, but by Christmas a new design that removed the three wolves motif across the centre of the chest and the WW monogram and instead added the now recognisable angular wolf head badge. The WW monogram was moved to the shorts.
League champions this season were Liverpool, followed closely by Manchester United in second place. Bristol City, Bolton Wanderers and Derby County all dropped down to Division 2.