Admiral’s famous kits created in stunning Subbuteo collection

The good thing about Subbuteo is that even though new teams are no longer being produced there are still people doing their own.

We see a lot of self-painted Subbuteo teams. Some are very good and some are a bit amateurish – but as long as they are painted with love they usually bring a smile to people’s faces.

Ian’s collection definitely falls into the ‘very good’ category. The Subbuteo fan and collector is also a fan of the beautiful range of Admiral football kits and has painted a huge selection of them in incredible detail.

The company has a special place in the heart of football fans. After starting out as a maker of Nun’s underwear (honestly) the brand approached Don Revie’s Leeds United and agreed a deal to produce their kits. They then followed it up with a deal to produce England’s shirts and the classic 1982 kit – also a classic in Subbuteo collections – soon followed.

There’s even a recent documentary about the impact Admiral kits had on the world. It was screened on ITV and is well worth a watch.

Author John Devlin told ITV: “I think really the mid-’70s was Admiral’s baroque period if you like, it was just so lavish, so flamboyant. And there was an arrogance, there was a swagger, you’ve got collars, logo taping, stripes, sashes, yokes – West Ham’s famous yoke – just the perfect accompaniment to ‘70s football.”

The kit was a byword for unique design and the likes of Coventry’s infamous brown shirt are a must for shirt collectors today.

Ian’s collection is superb and many are genuine Subbuteo teams. The blue with red and white curved stripes of Dundee, the famous Wales kit and Crystal Palace’s white home shirts with red and blue sash are all rare and interesting Subbuteo teams.

You may also notice Leicester City on the bottom row alongside a lovely Manchester United second kit. We can also spot Eintracht Frankfurt, Leyton Orient and Motherwell in the mix. York’s famous Y-Front kit is included and we are reliably informed a couple of the kits are from Tulsa Roughnecks and Vancouver as a couple of the more exotic teams.

Thanks to Ian for sharing his Admiral Subbuteo collection.

Stephen Hurrell
Stephen Hurrell
Stephen is the founder and editor of The Hobby Online and The Hobby by Subbuteo.Online print magazine. He is a giant nerd and specialises in Subbuteo, retro football kits and consumer stories. A journalist and editor of 15 years, he has written about football for some of the UK's biggest publications.

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