Crystal Palace And The Admiral Era: 1977-80

In 1977, Crystal Palace and Admiral Sportswear partnered up to produce some of the most iconic kits in the Eagles history. This uplift in aesthetic was paralleled with performances on the pitch, encapsulated by a thrilling journey, under the astute management of Terry Venables, from the depths of the Third Division up to the top division of English football.


Kenny Sansom: Crystal Palace 1977-80 Home Shirt


The Start Of The Admiral Era: 1977-78

In 1977, Crystal Palace had found themselves languishing in Division 3, however, under the relatively new management of Terry Venables, the side managed to gain promotion into Division 2. The future England manager and former Eagles player was notable for his management and ability to instil his philosophy and vision into the team.


Terry Venebles at Crystal Palace 1977-80


With promotion to the second tier of English football came a new deal with Admiral Sportswear, who had recently teamed up with fellow London club Tottenham and the England national team. The new kit is seen as one of the most iconic kits in football history and one of the first to be available to the public with the replica being sold in London stores and via mail order. The design was white with a red and blue sash running from the top left shoulder diagonally down to the bottom right. This was matched up with the iconic Admiral repeat logo tape running along the sleeve.

Palace’s first season back in Division 2 saw the side finishing ninth, a respectable position for a newly promoted club that hinted at the potential within the squad. Key players such as Vince Hilaire, a talented winger, and Jim Cannon, a steadfast defender, began to emerge as pivotal figures. Although the season did not culminate in promotion, it set the stage for the successes to come.

Champions of the Third Division: 1978-79

With the foundations laid in the previous season, Venables' team played with renewed confidence and cohesion going into the 1978-79 season. The addition of strategic signings and the development of homegrown talents created a well-balanced and formidable squad which included teenage sensations such as Vincent Hilaire, Terry Fenwick, Kenny Sansom and Wales’ Peter Nicholas amongst others.


Crystal Palace 1978-79 League Champions


This campaign was characterised mainly by a robust defence, which saw them conceding only 24 goals and losing just four games all season. Although the defence and attack were firing, the league came down to the last day of season. A tense and atmosphere filled Friday evening against Burnley in front of 51,482 at Selhurst Park. Going into the final game of the season against Burnley, Palace needed a single point to confirm promotion, while a win would see them claim the Division Two title. Goals from Ian Walsh and Dave Swindlehurst sent the Eagles into the top flight and saw them crowned champions of Division Two wearing Admiral kits.

The First Division Challenge: 1979-80

With promotion came new challenges for the young Crystal Palace squad. Terry Venebles identified that the step up was going to be significant for this young team and recruited some more experienced players in the form of Mike Flanagan and Gerry Francis. With this injection of top flight knowhow the side started strongly, sitting at the top of the league in the early stages of the season after going 10 games unbeaten. After the midpoint of the season and the fixture congestion of the Christmas period the side fell away and ultimately finished 13th.



The period from 1977 to 1980 remains one of the most celebrated chapters in Crystal Palace’s history with the rise from the Third Division to the First Division. In 2024 we have reproduced both the home and track top from this iconic era, staying true to the original design whilst making the silhouettes relevant to the modern football fan. The new collection is available now.


Crystal Palace 1977-80 Retro Home ShirtCrystal Palace 1977-80 Retro Home Shirt
Crystal Palace 1977-80 Retro Track JacketCrystal Palace 1977-80 Retro Track Jacket
Bardon Repeat Tape T-Shirt - WhiteBardon Repeat Tape T-Shirt - White
Bardon Repeat Tape T-Shirt - White 6 colours

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