Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Sat 12 July 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.)

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