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Admiral Sportswear
Type Private company
Founded 1914 in Leicester
Headquarters Leicester, Leicestershire
Industry Textile
Products Sportswear

Admiral Sportswear is an internationally recognised football and cricket brand.

Admiral was the England cricket team until 23 April 2008 and, until the end of the 2007/08 season, Leeds United A.F.C. supplier of sports apparel.



The trademark 'Admiral" was created in 1914 by ABC Hosiery ltd (later known as Cook & Hurst Ltd) manufacturing good quality English made underwear and, subsequently, items of sportswear. When England won the World Cup in 1966, Bert Patrick, the owner of Cook & Hurst, commenced manufacturing and marketing football kits.The kits sales were aimed at the juvenile market and through selling connections in the sports retail trade. Bert Patrick believed that the advent of coloured television would enable him to persuade football clubs to accept personalized kits which his designers would produce and then register them under the Design Copyright Act. There was stiff opposition to his ideas from all sections of the public.

The 1970s

During the 1970s Admiral were pioneers of a new concept producing bespoke football strips for leading professional football clubs, coupling innovative design and fabrics with the use of the Clubs official crest or badge.


Admiral & Leeds United

Through its connection with Leeds United, Admiral pioneered the introduction and development of the replica kit market in the UK. In the 1973-1974 season, Leeds United wore the first visibly branded kit in the English top flight. This kit was ground-breaking for a number of reasons:

  • it carried an embroidered sponsor's logo on the shirt and the shorts (Admiral)
  • it was made of a lighter nylon material, rather than cotton - as had been typical of football shirts for many years
  • the socks had tags identifying the players number

Admiral & England

Realising the potential of the replica kit market, Admiral brokered a ground-breaking deal with the FA in 1974 to produce the first commercially available England shirt that featured a sportswear manufacturers logo. They agreed a five-year contract for a starting payment of £15,000 a year or a 10 per cent royalty. The FA were criticised in the years following for allowing Admiral to market and sell the England kit in return for royalty payments. It was said that they were exploiting youngsters and allowing them to be ripped off.

This shirt was first worn by the England first team in a 3-0 victory over Czechoslovakia at Wembley on 30 October 1974 as England opened their European Championship 1976 qualifying campaign. A collar was added to the England shirt for the first time in two decades. And, for the first time ever, the England shirt bore embellishments other than the three-lions emblem - red and blue striping on both collar and sleeves. Former England forward Jimmy Greaves was perhaps a bit harsh when he said the striping made the new strip look like pyjamas, although that description did fit the rather garish Admiral warm-up jackets that accompanied the new uniform. The new shirt was worn with blue shorts, in a lighter shade than the traditional navy blue and bearing white and red striping down the sides, and white stockings with red and blue stripes at their top.

This shirt became associated with failure. It was never worn in a major final tournament because England did not qualify for either the European Championship of 1976 or the World Cup of 1978, the two major competitions held during its tenure of almost six years The only tournaments at which it appeared were the annual British Home Championship and the U.S.A. Bicentennial Cup Tournament of 1976.

During 1977, the red and blue stripe, which ran down the seam of the shorts, became narrower. Both versions were used concurrently for a while. It made its last appearance in the 2-0 friendly match victory against Spain at Estadio Nou Camp in Barcelona on 26 March 1980, as England prepared for the European Championship final tournament of 1980 in Italy, where they wore the second Admiral home strip.

Other Clubs

Admiral continued its rapid expansion through the mid to late 1970s. It signed up other big clubs alongside Leeds United, such as Manchester United F.C., Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and West Ham United F.C.. It also developed outside of England, signing up Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt and the A.S.Bari and the Saudi national team

The 1980s: Decline & Rebirth

Admiral began the decade with the launch of a new England kit in 1980, the first new kit in nearly 6 years. This kit was first worn in the 3-1 win over Argentina at Wembley Stadium on 13 May. However, the 1980s marked a period of decline for the Admiral brand, as it began to lose the contracts with the major clubs to domestic rival, Umbro, and new international entrant, Adidas.

Even though Admiral still held the England kit contract, one of the most valuable in the world, the company was declared bankrupt in 1982. The brand reappeared on the market for the 1983-84 season producing the same double pinstripe design for both Leicester City and Notts County. Towards the end of the 80s Hull City , Crystal Palace and Bradford City were added to the Admiral roster. They were also the first ever kit maker of Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Admiral also produced kits for many of the NASL teams during the late 70's and early 80's, and had a replica licensing deal with all clubs, including the New York Cosmos.

The 1990s

Admiral entered the 1990s well placed to build upon its widespread recognition and continued to supply clubs including: Leeds (Football League Champions in 1991-1992), Dynamo Kiev (USSR Champions), Southampton, Middlesbrough, Bradford City, Charlton Athletic, Wimbledon, Hearts, Motherwell and many more.

After a period of relative inactivity during the mid-1990s, the Admiral trademark was acquired in 1997 by Hay & Robertson plc, and ownership was transferred to International Brand Licensing in a demerger in 2002.

2000 & Beyond

In 2000, Admiral entered the world of cricket and became the official kit supplier to the England Cricket Teams. By 2001 Admiral had also become the kit supplier to the West Indies and South Africa cricket teams as well as supplying the Canadian team for the 2002 Cricket World Cup held in South Africa.

Admiral was the official kit supplier to the England cricket teams until 2008(now Adidas), the West Indies cricket team and continues the brand's tradition of supplying kit to major high profile football clubs with Leeds United AFC.

Teams Who Have Been Sponsored By Admiral

Teams Who Have Been Sponsored By Admiral

This is a list of all football teams that have been sponsored by Admiral:

National Teams

Club Teams





  • Greece Thrilorio (2008-Present)



  • Mexico Marquintos Manatees (1998-2003)


Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland






External links


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