Admiral tries to break into retro football market

British sportswear brand Admiral is to relaunch with a raft of product collections as its new owners look to tap into the public’s growing appetite for heritage sportswear.


Investment vehicle Admiral Sportswear Limited has acquired the rights to the Admiral brand for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The firm wants to draw on the brand’s history in football, it was the England team’s first official kit maker and has manufactured kits for Manchester United and Tottenham, by developing new fashion and sportswear ranges.

Plans to launch a performance collection for the professional and amateur football markets, a retro inspired “back catalogue” of Admiral products that draw on Admiral designs from the 70’s and 80’s and a fashion concept called Admiral “Gold” are in place.

It is now in discussion with a number of potential licensees throughout Europe and retail partners in the UK.

The push will be led by former Umbro marketer Tim Gardiner as sales and marketing director. Jonathan Hamburger has been appointed marketing director.

Gardiner says: “Having worked with the new owners of the Admiral brand on their plans prior to the completion of the acquisition it became clear that, with the introduction of a defined plan for the brand, coupled with the inherent demand for heritage sports brands, this was a great business to be part of.”

Nike, Puma and Adidas, with its Originals sub-brand, have stepped up development of heritage clothing and footwear in recent years. Le Coq Sportif relaunched in January with new fashion ranges.

Admiral last relaunched in 1999 with ads featuring soccer stars Bobby Charlton and Emlyn Hughes and indie band Happy Mondays.

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