Top 10 Admiral Kits

Those of us of a certain age will remember the Admiral kits of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Basic but beautiful. For me they’re the greatest kits of all time (well except maybe Ipswich Town’s original Pioneer kit) and here I’ll celebrate my personal top 10 favourites.

Admiral had been producing sports kits since just before the start of the Great War but it wasn’t until after England won the world cup and the advent of the colour television they thought there’d be a market in football kits and especially the replica shirt market. 

Leeds United 1973 – 1974

For the 1973-74 season  Admiral produced the kit for Leeds United which became the first visibly branded kit in English top flight football. 

For once the FA were quick off the blocks and realised the potential of the replica market and signed a five year deal with Admiral for the production of the England team kit and the first commercially available England kits were made available for purchase. 

Before long Admiral’s resume boasted the likes of Manchester United, Coventry City, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Norwich and West Ham along with a handful of Scottish clubs and the whole of the NASL.

As the 70’s turned into the 80’s the giants like UMBRO and ADIDAS enter the football shirt market and ADMIRAL went into liquidation before making a less glorious comeback a year or so later in 1983. 

Before we had to the Top Ten I’ll give a Highly Commended to this offering from Southampton for my pal Neil.

So what makes the top 10? Read on to find out.

10 . Wales 1976 – 1979

This shirt was worn in qualification for both the 1978 World Cup and 1980 European Championships by such Wales legends as John Toshack, Mickey Thomas and Terry Yorath.

9. Spurs 1977 – 1980

A basic white kit with blue trimmings and a very prominent cockerel. Made famous by two of the greatest imports into English football in Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa

8. Leicester City 1983-1985

Worn by the likes of Gary Lineker and Alan Smith and was one of the first to be produced using the new shiny synthetic look moving away from the heavy cotton shirts of the 70’s

7. Norwich City 1978

A controversial choice but I like it’s simplicity. That’s all I’m saying

6. Leeds United 1978

Another simplistic design which I believe is hated among the Leeds faithful. All the more reason to include it here then. 

5. Manchester United 1975 – 1979

It’s hard to believe but Manchester United wore this kit for 3 to 4 seasons. When I see it I think of Stevie Coppell and the Greenhoff brothers.

4. England 1974 – 1980

Even harder to believe than Man Utd wearing the same kit for 4 years England wore the same one for 6 years. An awesome kit which sadly coincided with a woeful time on the pitch. 

3. Crystal Palace Away 1978

A move away from the basic designs with an continental type sash. This design has since been copied but never beaten. 

2. Coventry City Away 1978 – 1980

This normally finds it’s way onto worst kit lists but I think there’s something uniquely beautiful about it’s horribleness. 

1. England 1980 – 1983 

What a shirt. This upset the purists who raged because of the colourful trimmings. This time? Remembered fondly being worn by Butcher, Mills and Mariner in England’s unbeaten world cup campaign of 1982. Another tournament we probably should have won.