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Charting the influence of Admiral

Everything you need to know about the heritage sports brand from start to finish

From its beginnings in the early 1900s, the much-loved sportswear brand has been on a long old journey since it launched over 100 years ago. Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about the effortlessly cool brand that is Admiral.

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Where it all started

It’s 1908, we’re in Leicestershire and Christopher Cook and Harold Hurst are manufacturing hosiery under the company name of Cook & Hurst Ltd. Jump forwards a few years – to 1914, to be precise – and the double act create the new trademark name, Admiral, under which they brand their new underwear ranges, including items of sportswear.

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World Cup winning

World Cup fever swept the nation following England’s surprise success in 1966. Bert Patrick (pictured), Cook & Hurst’s owner, decided it was time to take sportswear to the masses by manufacturing and marketing footballwear to the general public. Targeting fans on the younger end of the spectrum – who wanted to look like their idols – Patrick put Admiral firmly on the map as one of the original pioneers of replica kits, all of which displayed the brand’s logo that we know so well today.

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The early seventies

With colour TV becoming commonplace at home and a heightened buzz around English football, Patrick went to the clubs with his individually personalised kits. 1973 saw Leeds United become the first English top flight club to wear the visibly branded kit, with the Admiral crest clear to see across shirts and shorts. Fans went wild for the colourful replica kits and kids, in particular, loved being able to look like their favourite football heroes. The market grew thick and fast.

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Strike a deal

The potential of the replica kit market became clear, so in 1974, Admiral signed a ground-breaking five-year contract with the English FA, in which they agreed to make the very first commercially available England shirt to feature a sportswear manufacturer’s logo. Across the pond, the brand was also producing NASL team kits and held a replica licencing deal with all clubs, including the mighty New York Cosmos.

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In the eighties

The decade began with the launch of the first new England kit in nearly six years. Continuing its rapid expansion, the brand was adopted and worn by loads of clubs up and down the country, including Leicester City, Derby County, Hull City and Bradford City.

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To the cricket

Still supplying football kits to British teams, Admiral dipped its toe into the cricket world in 2000, being appointed the official kit supplier to the England team all the way up to 2008. By 2011, they’d gone on to produce kits for the West Indies and South Africa teams.

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From field to fashion

The noughties saw the launch of Admiral’s brand-new fashion range. Full of easy-to-layer basics, sporty separates and never-out-of-style shapes, the totally wearable collection is now available exclusively at Tu. And did you know the new pieces will be available to shop in store and online from 5 September? Keep your eyes peeled… we’ve seen it and it’s got cool written all over it.