Here are some questions about England’s kit during
the Admiral years. They can probably only be answered by someone who was
in the England camp or was a representative of Admiral Sportswear in
their dealings with the Football Association at the time.
On the whole, the first six years of England
wearing Admiral kit was a period of consistent designs. It was not a
popular choice to begin with, because it was breaking decades of
tradition. The plain white shirts, blue shorts and white socks were
‘sullied’ by red, white and blue piping and a logo appeared on the
outfield players’ shirts and shorts for the first time in over a century
of international matches.
It was not a successful period on the pitch and the
kit never appeared in a major tournament, but for six years up to 1980,
it remained the same design and England had a new traditional uniform.
The only blights on this new design were minor mishaps:
were there no Admiral logos on the outfield players’ kits v. Scotland in
1975? Not a problem for the traditionalists, but not consistent with
their new appearance. Could their first kit have been stuck at the
laundry after the game with Wales, three nights earlier?
When England played Czechoslovakia in 1975, at least five players did
not wear the emblem when representing their country. This is probably
explained by the fact that the game in Bratislava had been abandoned
after eight minutes, the previous day, but even if they couldn’t get
that kit ready in time, shouldn’t every player have had a full spare
was there no emblem on Ray Clemence’s jersey v. Scotland in 1976? Not a
good day at all for him, as he let the winning goal slip between his
legs, from Kenny Dalglish’s weak shot.
did England wear a plain all-yellow kit v. Team America in the American
Bicentennial Tournament? They could have worn all white using their
existing colours and if it had to be yellow, why didn’t it incorporate
the same design as the white and red uniforms, with red, white and blue
did England wear plain blue socks v. Brazil in 1977? Brazil were not
wearing red socks, so there was no clash with England’s red and white
kit and they wore the red socks in both the remaining games of their
South American tour. Could they have arrived in Rio de Janeiro without
their socks and had to borrow a set from their hosts?
If this first period of England wearing Admiral kit
was one of consistent design, the second period has to be described as
one of inconsistency and indecision, eventually leading to Umbro
regaining the England contract in 1984 and retaining it ever since. Most
of these details would have gone unnoticed by the majority, but the
photographic evidence is there for all to see!
When England qualified for the 1980 European
Championship in Italy, they decided to mark the occasion, by introducing
a new Admiral kit. This one was a flamboyant and colourful design with
red, white and blue bands across the shoulders and chest. To begin with,
the socks didn’t change and this is where the inconsistency begins:
13/05/80 v. Argentina at Wembley
New shirts and shorts,
but socks remain the same, as does goalkeeper’s kit.
12/06/80 v. Belgium in Turin
tournament for ten years and Admiral logos removed from kit.
10/09/80 v. Norway at Wembley
A new season, new
World Cup qualifying campaign and Admiral logos back on the kit.
15/10/80 v. Romania in Bucharest
Ray Clemence appears in an adidas
jersey, almost identical to the Romanian goalkeeper’s.
Had the Admiral
jersey been left at home?
29/04/81 v. Romania at Wembley
Still the same red
uniform, but with new Admiral logo, except shorts still have old-style
New modified blue
goalkeeper’s jersey, blends better with black shorts and socks.
the outfield kit, the shorts still had the old-style logo.
12/05/81 v. Brazil at Wembley
Red uniform again,
but this time shorts have new logo.
20/05/81 v. Wales at Wembley
kit updated with new logos.
09/09/81 v. Norway in Oslo
One of England’s
blackest nights, probably not remembered for their new sock design!
Why were they 16
18/11/81 v. Hungary at Wembley
03/06/82 v. Finland in Helsinki
New red uniform, consistent with
white kit, complete with socks this time!
Espana ’82 – A Kitman’s Nightmare?
At this point, everything seemed to be settled.
England had new and complete white and red uniforms and a new
goalkeeper’s kit. They were about to compete in a World Cup Finals, for
the first time since 1970. The first game was against France, so no
colour clash. They even remembered that kit manufacturers’ logos had
been banned at the 1980 European Championship. Perhaps they ought to
have checked what other countries were planning to wear.
16/06/82 v. France in Bilbao
Both teams wear
change colours, despite no colour clash.
France wear adidas logos.
England wear no
logos and have even reverted back to old-style socks, because new ones
Peter Shilton wears
new-style socks, complete with logos!
Squad numbers on
shorts for first time.
Paul Mariner’s had
fallen off by the end of the game!
20/06/82 v. Czechoslovakia in Bilbao
reinstated, on right breast and right thigh, above squad number.
old-style socks, though.
25/06/82 v. Kuwait in Bilbao
Admiral logos added
to base of squad number on back of shirt – one extreme to another!
29/06/82 v. West Germany in Madrid
Modified design of
No logos at base of
number on back of shirt.
Squad numbers on
shorts change from solid black to black outlines.
Paul Mariner and
Phil Thompson appear for second half in other red shirt (worn against
Were there no spare
shirts for a hot summer’s night in Madrid?
05/07/82 v. Spain in Madrid
disappear from base of number on back of white shirt.
Logo on shorts
reverts back to left thigh.
Logo disappears from Shilton’s
jersey and number on back looks uneven.
A new season began and England’s kit returned to
some sort of consistency. Apart from…
22/09/82 v. Denmark in Copenhagen
Socks with logos
13/10/82 v. West Germany at Wembley
Logos at base of
shirt number return.
17/11/82 v. Greece in Salonika
over colours, because England wear red when white would have been
30/03/83 v. Greece at Wembley
Logos at base of
red shirt numbers for first time.
England never wear
Admiral red again.
12/06/83 v. Australia in Sydney
goalkeeper’s jersey, consistent with yellow jersey design.
12/10/83 v. Hungary in Budapest
Shilton wears outfield shorts and
socks with yellow jersey.
Black ones left at home?