Bert Patrick's first sponsorship contract with the England football team in the 1970s cost GBP10,000. Today, NIKE pay GBP25 million a year to kit out the same team. The 1970s was the golden age of football and saw the birth of a multi-billion pound industry. Television was indisputably what brought about the meteoric rise in the fortunes of a small knitwear manufacturer in Leicestershire. The company's identifiable Admiral logo on football clothing became the dream brand of youngsters everywhere. But success for the Wigston firm was not without its problems. In Admiral: Kit Man, Bert tells the story of its struggles, successes and ultimate withdrawal from the sports clothing scene. From a small family knitwear company to a worldwide business, the book charts Admiral's progress through lively personal reminiscences of Bert's innovative deals and his encounters with leading football personalities, including Stanley Matthews, Don Revie, Bill Shankly, Sir Matt Busby, Ron Greenwood, The FA establishment and many more.
Whether in the boardrooms of major clubs such as Manchester United, Leeds United, Liverpool or Spurs and the forbidding atmosphere of the all-powerful FA Headquarters in Lancaster Gate, Admiral's vision, the imaginative design team and its power of persuasion convinced even the most diehard managers that the kit their players wore, and the must-have replicas craved by supporters everywhere, was a golden opportunity for football finance. Admiral: Kit Man paints a sometimes sad, often moving, occasionally hilarious historical picture of both business and soccer in the heyday of Admiral, which brought radical and lasting changes to the sportswear industry. It will appeal mainly to football supporters. The publication of the book coincides with the 2014 World Cup, and marks the 100th would-be anniversary of the original company, Cook & Hurst. Two TV companies are currently pitching for a documentary on this legendary firm.
Bert Patrick started life in journalism and after military service during the Suez Campaign, where he was an Army Public Relations Military Observer, he set up a freelance news agency in Leicester. Having a hankering to carve a career in marketing he joined an old established underwear manufacturing company and later turned production over to sportswear. This was the beginning of a multi billion pound global industry of replica kits.
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