When you think of Admiral, you think of Leeds United.
One for the table quizzes – it was Don Revie’s team who first wore a branded kit, back in the 1973/74 season with the Admiral logo on both their shirt and shorts.
Jack Charlton had just retired and at the age of 38 had taken up his first manager’s job at Middlesbrough. John Giles, Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer and Alan Clarke were still at Elland Road, though, as Leeds produced an incredible campaign.
Leeds, in 1972/73, were shocked in the FA Cup final by Sunderland and then robbed in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final against AC Milan in Thessaloniki.
The Greek crowd booed off the Italians, who won 1-0 in dubious circumstances. Match referee Christos Michas, who gave some curious decisions all in favour of Milan, was subsequently banned for life.
Although it was never proved the official was bribed, it was apparent his decisions that day were clearly in favour of Milan. As recently as 2009, Leeds were still seeking an official inquiry.
Revie had mulled over a move to Everton in the weeks that followed but opted to stay – due to a new law introduced in Parliament that prevented wage rises to curb inflation – and told his Leeds team they were good enough to win the league unbeaten.
Winning the first seven matches, Leeds were top and never looked back, eventually winning the championship in the spring of 1974 by five points from Liverpool.
Only in their 29th outing did Leeds taste their first loss, a 3-2 reversal against Stoke, which was a record for an unbeaten start only bettered by Arsenal’s Invincibles in 2003/04.
The mid-1970’s was, in retrospect, the beginning of the end for Leeds, who, after Revie took over as England manager, had Brian Clough in charge for a tumultuous 44 days that summer and then Jock Stein for an identical duration in 1978.
Leeds, with Jimmy Armfield in charge, were beaten in the 1975 European Cup final by Bayern Munich in Paris amid more suspect refereeing and in the aftermath were banned from Europe for four years – reduced to two on appeal – as their supporters didn’t take the defeat well and pelted the victors. The club soon began to slide.
By the early 1990s, the wilderness years ended, and Leeds were the last winners of the ‘old’ First Division in 1991/92. The following season, the first of the Premier League, saw Leeds back with Admiral, although suffering a hangover of Yorkshire bitter proportions when they came 17th and had a woeful away record.
To make matters worse, they sold Eric Cantona – who had scored a hat-trick in the Charity Shield against Liverpool – to neighbours Manchester United and the Frenchman was the catalyst to an era of unparalleled success for Alex Ferguson’s team.
The jersey: Leeds United’s away kit of 1992/93 didn’t bring much luck – as defending league champions they failed to win one of their 21 away fixtures. Sponsored and supplied by their old friends Admiral, the predominately blue and yellow away kit contained a Yorkshire rose and LUFC monogram, with their third kit the exact opposite with yellow the main colour.