It’s a brand synonymous with everything from Gordon Banks’ World Cup heroics to England’s unforgettable Ashes triumph of 2005.
And now Admiral, Britain’s oldest sportswear brand, has moved its head office to the centre of Altrincham.
Established in 1914 to produce exercise clothing for the Royal Navy – the company name a reference to the most senior naval rank – Admiral is now a family business with a headquarters on George Street.
Originally based in Sharston, Admiral was acquired by Jonathan Hamburger – the former owner of Manchester online retailer Genesis Sports – in 2011 and 10 years on it has a team of 10 including his son, Theo.
Theo, the company’s sales and marketing manager, explained why the company had moved to Altrincham.
“We’re from Altrincham originally and when we were looking for a new office we decided we wanted to be a part of what was happening here. There are so many creative people around who could be beneficial to the business.
“Already we’ve used an Altrincham company called Double D Creative to relaunch the website and we’re working with an Altrincham-based illustrator on a collection at the moment. There’s a lot of exciting talent here.”
Admiral has bought and refurbished its new George Street base and is using the upstairs space for offices, with the downstairs retail unit let to a blinds company, Homefair.
From the new base, the team manage the Admiral brand for Europe, Middle East and North America.
Anyone with an interest in British sporting history will recognise the Admiral logo. Back in 1974, the company brokered a deal to manufacturer the England football kit and later followed it with deals to manufacturer kits for Manchester United and Leeds United. It was also the official kit supplier to the England cricket team until 2008.
It was the first ever kit sponsorship deal – with Don Revie’s Leeds United in 1972 – and Admiral also essentially invented the replica football kit market.
The company’s focus is now in three areas – its retro business, teamwear division and its premium line, Admiral Sportings Goods. The latter is in the booming athleisure space and, despite only launching last August, has taken off.
“People love an authentic history and people also love the fact we’re a family business,” said Theo.
“Admiral made Gordon Banks’ iconic top for the World Cup final in 1966, and he loved it because it had padded arms and he could dive around and not get his elbows bruised.
“And our England shirt of the 80s, which was the first to feature more than one colour on it, is regularly voted one of the most iconic England shirts.”