||This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (November 2010)|
|Founded||1914 in Leicester|
|Headquarters||Manchester, United Kingdom|
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 personalised 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.
1970s: Leeds United and England
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.
Realising the potential of the replica kit market, Admiral brokered a 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.
Admiral signed up other big clubs alongside Leeds United, such as Manchester United, Coventry City, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, and West Ham. It also developed outside of England, signing up Aberdeen, Dundee F.C. and Motherwell in Scotland, Red Star Belgrade, Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt, the Italian clubs Bologna FC and A.S. Bari, the Swiss club Servette FC, in addition to the national teams of Belgium, Saudi Arabia and Wales. Admiral also produced kits for many of the NASL teams during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and had a replica licensing deal with some clubs and for two seasons produced the uniforms for every team in the MISL.
1980s: Decline and 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 1980s Bradford City, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Hull City, Swansea City and Wrexham were added to the Admiral roster. They were also the first ever kit maker of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Admiral entered the 1990s well placed to build upon its widespread recognition and continued to supply clubs including: Dynamo Kiev, Southampton, Middlesbrough, Bradford City, Charlton Athletic, Wimbledon, Hearts, Motherwell, Rangers, FK Partizan, 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 and beyond
In 2000, Admiral entered the world of cricket and was the official kit supplier to the England Cricket Teams until 2008 (now sponsored by Adidas). 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 2003 Cricket World Cup held in South Africa.
In 2011, Admiral Sportswear Limited acquired the brand rights for the Admiral brand for most of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, with the intention of re-energising the heritage sports brand.
Admiral currently provides kit uniforms for the following teams:
- Aruba (Since January 2015)
- Gibraltar (Since May 2013)
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- "Revitalizing Admiral: The story so far" from the official website
- "WGSN: Admiral brand revitalistation" by Andrew Jobling, 4 July 2011
- "GFA reveals new kit with three weeks to UEFA vote". GBC News. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "Admiral Sign 1st Indoor League Deal with Illinois Piasa" (Press release). Illinois Piasa. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.