The Story of Admiral
Starting out as a humble hosiery maker in Wigston, Leicestershire to eventually becoming a global sportswear brand takes innovation, luck and most of all a knowledge for product. Founded in 1914 Admiral spent many years producing woolen undergarments for the British troops both in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. In 1939 a contract with Admiral and the Royal Navy saw the business grow rapidly and not just in base-layer garments but also sportswear for exercise on board the ships.
After the war ended and Admiral’s manufacturing capabilities had grown exponentially all the machinery had to be put to work. This saw its first foray into mass produced commercial sportswear. Taking their 6years worth of manufacturing experience Admiral started producing sportswear for Football, Rugby, Athletics and Cricket. The Admiral logo started to demand respect as any company that could produce for the troops were clearly capable manufacturers. For a further 17 years the business continued producing for all manner of teams until a famous victory at Wembley Stadium changed the brand forever.
During the 1966 World Cup, England's number one Gordon Banks chose to wear the Admiral goalkeeper kit. Being based in Leicester he got to see the first hand innovation the brand was making introducing padding to the elbows of sportswear. It was during this match that Head of Marketing Bert Patrick created the idea of the replica football shirt.
Over the next eight years Bert honed his product offering and finally concluded with a deal with the biggest club in England Leeds United. Producing a unique away kit redesigned by the Admiral team and under exclusive rights from the brand a new market was created. Finally, a fan could not just watch their heroes on the pitch, they could wear the same clothes as their icons.
Over the next 20 years Admiral grew into a world renowned brand having adorned the chests of many of the greatest living sportsmen. Johan Cruyff, Maradonna, George Best, Kevin Keegan to name but a few.