Monday, 27 October 2014

Fantasy Nostalgia: Liverpool wear Admiral

When I recently read Bert Patrick's book all about the history of Admiral, legendary kit makers to the great and good of British football, one episode sent my mind into a tailspin. It was the section where Patrick, looking to grab the kit contracts for as many top clubs as possible, approached Bill Shankly at Liverpool and gained his agreement to provide them Admiral outfits.

Sadly for Bert Patrick, what would have been a huge name to add to his company's portfolio turned out to be a false dawn as Liverpool's board of directors overruled Shankly to prevent the deal from going through.

Yet it got my mind thinking: what would Liverpool have looked like in an Admiral kit back then, and thereafter?

Time to get doodling, I thought...

Kit 1: Circa 1973

If Bill Shankly had been backed by his board, this might have been the first pair of Admiral kits worn by his team. (Click on images for a larger version.)

Applying Liverpool's colours to the Admiral kit for Leeds United at the time, you get an all-red outfit with a flappy collar, oval badge and those famous Leeds number ribbons stitched into the socks. Well we can all dream, I suppose...

For the away kit, I've gone for the white and black that was preferred by the Anfield club at the time.

Not bad, but quite plain and basic as were many of the kits at the time.

Kit 2: Circa 1974

Admittedly this is the most 'out there' design of the lot, but this is Fantasy Nostalgia after all...

Here I've used Admiral's Luton Town kit template which would have originally used orange, navy blue and white. Given that Liverpool only wore two colours at home in the early 70's (red and white), I've had to use a bit of artistic licence by adding a darker shade of red on the first kit. As for the vertical band, I hardly think it would have been accepted by the Anfield faithful, but it was somewhat in vogue at the time!

Once again for the away kit, I've chosen a predominantly white and black colour scheme, but this time there's more red thanks to that red band flanked with black.

A more interesting pair of kits than the last ones, but perhaps better suited to, say, a Swindon or a Middlesbrough...

Kit 3: Circa 1975

By 1975, the England national team had an Admiral kit of their own, and that's the design I've used for this third version of what Liverpool might have been wearing around the same time.

Again I've employed a shade of dark red on the shoulders and shorts as an accent colour, but this time it's predominantly red with white trim for the home kit, and quite smart I think it looks too.

For a bit of variety in the away kits, I've provided two options - white/black again, but also an all-yellow version, even though Liverpool rarely wore that colour until 1979.

Personally I think these kits are the most believable of all those shown here and I think Bob Paisley's team would have looked quite fetching in them.

Kit 4: Circa 1976

Yet more flights of fancy now as we enter the era of the glorious Admiral tramlines. For Liverpool to have embraced this design would have meant a leap of faith of gargantuan proportions for club officials and fans alike, and yet it's not completely beyond the realms of fantasy to think of Liverpool in such a series of kits.

One shortcoming of the design, however, would have been exposed when Liverpool became the first top flight team to have an official shirt sponsor around 1978/1979. Having to fit 'Hitachi' onto the front of their kits would've broken up the tramlines motif somewhat, and yet according to my home kit design shown here, it doesn't destroy the whole look, in my view.

Could you imagine Graeme Souness or Ray Kennedy wearing any of these? Probably not, but it's worth remembering that if Shanks had got his way, that Admiral logo really would've been worn by the English champions rather than the Umbro diamonds...

-- Chris Oakley


  1. Great stuff Chris, as usual
    Very hard to image Liverpool without Umbro in the 70's, but the yellow "Coventry" style away shirt isn't that far away from this year's kit.

    1. Thank you, Rob... :)

      You're right to say Liverpool and Umbro were very much joined at the hip back then, and with Admiral getting some stick for selling expensive kit for kids back in the mid-70's, I'm not sure LFC would have changed suppliers very readily.

      No matter... we can at least dream of what might have been... :)

  2. I'm glad it isn't just me wondering what design Admiral had come up with!