Saturday, July 12, 2008

Obscure Kits From British Football History #7

Aberdeen (home)

When you go into business as a football kit manufacturer, the chances are you'll produce some designs that prove very popular with the supporters and some that will turn out to be absolute stinkers. No maker of football kits can ever claim to have hit the bullseye with every design, but if they at least come up with something original, they'll at least have achieved something.

This is effectively what Admiral did in the mid- to late-1970's. Having secured the contract to supply kit to the England team under Don Revie, Admiral were keen to flex their design muscles and show the world what they were capable of.

What followed was a series of kits smothered in a rash of Admiral logos on the shoulders, sleeves, shorts and anywhere else they could fit them in, but before that came a brief period where the company logo took second place to some genuine unashamed invention.

With Adidas starting to roll out their distinctive 'three stripe' motif all over the world, Admiral tried something similar but with an interesting twist. For Aberdeen, they'd put initially five and later four white stripes all the way down one side of their red shirts and shorts. Not down the sleeves, not down both sides of the shorts, but down one side of the shirt and shorts.

As is perhaps the sign of a true design classic, it's never been repeated since but Admiral did lend the four stripe motif to one other club back then - Manchester United, for their away kit. Theirs featured a white shirt with four black stripes, but it was Aberdeen's all red strip with those white tramlines running from shoulder to thigh that had the biggest impact.

I'd have to say it's one of my favourite kits from that era as it shows how a simple device like a bunch of consecutive lines can be used to make a football kit look that little bit different from all the rest.

Whether or not you like any of Admiral's other efforts from the 70's such as the brown Coventry City kit or the plethora of logo-infested designs foist upon everyone from West Ham to Norwich, this one stands head and shoulders above them all.

Well done, Admiral. This was one of your finest.

(Our thanks go to John Devlin at True Colours Football Kits for giving us kind permission to use the above kit design image.)


Seb @ Inside Left said...

Cheers Chris, great kit, great team. Aye, a classic kit right enough, and a Subbuteo painters nightmare. Aberdeen stopped with the stripes for a while, then put them back in glorious pin-strip-O-vision in time for the Cup Winners Cup Winning (!) season. At first they went down, then they went across and then they just went altogether, thank God.

Stripes, as Trinny and Susanna will tell you, should never be worn if you're tending towards 'portly' so I only ever wore my replica kit around the house, and then only in the privacy of my own room.

Chris O said...

Thanks Seb! Yes, it was your article about Subbuteo that mentioned this Aberdeen kit which reminded me of it.

Ah yes, the Adidas pinstripe (vertical *and* horizontal). Now *there* was a trend and a half...

flicktokick said...

Yes the admiral striped kit is an iconic Dons kit, even in its yellow variant.
I liked the pinstripes (down better than across, that's how my Aberdeen subbuteo team was handcrafted) but I hated the big squares thing they got from Umbro, as well as the navy paint splat version

Chris O said...

Ah yes, flicktokick - I saw a graphical interpretation of how that yellow version looked and I was quite taken aback. I've never seen that one before! I dare say it looked every bit as swish as the red one... :)

And again, I remember the 'squares' motif that Umbro created, but navy paint splats?!? I need to go and do some research on this...

Seb @ Insideleft said...

Paint splat? That would be this one then:

Urgh ...

Chris O said...

Thanks for that, Seb! Ah yes, I do vaguely remember that. Would I be right in saying that won't go down as one of the club's finest when the history books are written?!?! :-)

Nobby said...

Of course the Admiral kit and the Adidas Kits were Iconic!

As for the Comments about "Umbro" I have to disagree with you for the first two efforts. The "JVC" Kit (the squares) and the "Abtrust" kit (Mad Triangles) were both wonderfull!!!

The one following was dead bland (which to me became the norm for umbro kits) but the one after that was that god awfull one, the one that had spew(blue it was!) all over the side of it! (Why did we have to wear that f*cking kit when we won our most recent cup triumph!!!) The worst one of all was that away kit we had, I think it was the season after that. It was Navy blue with Yellow and red spew down one side!!!

Thank fully we are now back to just RED!!!!!


Nobby "The Isle of Mull AFC Faithfull"(i am he)


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