Is it time to give Adi,Das Boot up Der Backside?

17 Sep

It almost feels like heresy asking this question.

For years, the legendary 1980-81 Adidas top has been the ‘Holy Grail’ for Brentford fans and shirt collectors. A ‘one season only’ deal with the German giants, you’ve more chance of Keith Stroud keeping the red card in his pocket (latest beneficiary – Shane Lowry, Millwall v Derby, Sept 15th) than finding one of these. As stylish as a night out with Sam Saunders, Shaleum Logan and Allan Cockram ‘dressed to kill’ (not literally, that would be murder) the optimistic request to see if anybody has a spare is a regular visitor to the GPG. Indeed, you can see where it ranks in my all time top ten home shirts (not that I have one) further along.

As such, when the rumours and leaked photographs were confirmed, and the announcement was made that Adidas were returning as our technical sponsor, the excitement was palpable. Moreso given the previous campaign’s lack of stripes on Puma’s ‘tea bag/string vest’ effect back.

ImageInitial reaction was positive. A bold yet simple design whilst an unperforated back meant there was no way you’d leave a sunny game looking as though you’d fallen asleep on a bed of nails. There were still no stripes on the reverse (league regulations – to which Sheffield United were immune – apparently) but, at least, a vivid red akin to the British Lions rugby team.

Dare I say it; I actually find this a good look (although I also have a penchant for the white yoke of the Osca ’83). A touch of black, perhaps on the famous stripes, would have been the cherry on the sartorial cake but that aside, a very well received shirt.

So far, so good. Until you tried to get hold of one. Initial supplies were delayed, despite advance order, to the point where even the players had to go on the pre-season tour of, ironically, Germany in generic training wear and last season’s strip.

Whilst our female supporters have been spared the indignity of having their bra straps on show this time round, they’ll have to do it in a man’s shirt (or, ‘home’ as it is branded). The world’s most famous sport’s manufacturer doesn’t do a female fit shirt, although to be fair this also seems to be an issue for the clubs they supply in the Premiership. Look at Southampton or Fulham’s websites, for example, and you see the same ‘home’ shirt.  Indeed, you have to go up as high as Chelsea before finding an English team for whom they produce a female specific fit. Welcome to the 21st century!

Then there were the issues with the sponsor on the away kit before, finally, new supplies were received yesterday (Monday).

Except if you are an adult ‘XL’. You’ll have to wait until Christmas if you’d like one of those but, hey, at least it’s not a common size.

Now I don’t hold the club particularly responsible for this. They have been at pains to make out how they have been let down. That said, it seems a farcical situation. Do Adidas want to have their cake and eat it- a massive branded shop, a contract with an upcoming club but then no supply? Have the club sold their soul for the thirty pieces of silver that is the panache of an Adidas deal, and now have to suffer the consequences of a supplier who doesn’t appear to give a monkey? Have the Germans even made a statement of apology to the club and fans?

It’s a massive shame as it is a great kit and, with stripes on the back already confirmed for next season, there is still hope for a ‘best ever’ Brentford shirt. Assuming we’ll have them in the club shop.

I just hope somebody in Brentford’s marketing team is able to renegotiate the deal in our favour because, as an outsider looking in, we seem to be over the proverbial barrel. After the Puma sizing debacle you’d think we’d learn. Fingers crossed, then, that someone is given an almighty boot in the Adidas branded ball bag and pulls their finger out. Its time we earned our stripes.

The top ten Brentford home shirts.

Much to Mrs. Bruzon’s despair, my side of the wardrobe is taken up with Brentford shirts I’ve collected over the years. Various tops have become ‘the lucky one’ before some previously unforeseen twist of fate (usually Stroud related) has necessitated a new ‘lucky one’. Over the summer, I was talking to Mark Chapman about the feature the club have now started on old shirts in the match day programme and it got me thinking. I’ve already published my top ten league horrors from this season but what are my top ten Brentford classics? Well, with a bit of help from the good people at the ‘historical kits’ website (which is well worth a mooch around), here they are….

Image10:  2004-05 Our Sponsor is St George. Why not add a horizontal red bar to fashion a St. George cross? As marketing ideas go, it’s so ridiculous it’s genius.

 

 

 

 

 

Image9 : 1998-2000 Memories of Hermann, Ron Noades (there were a couple of good ones), Lloyd Owusu and that last game ‘winner takes all’ title decider at Cambridge United. We won.

 

 

 

 

 

Image8: 1992 -94 Farewell Osca. Goodbye Chad. Welcome Hummel. Finally, a brand you’d heard of outside West London.  The great Danes supplying a shirt that had the honour of seeing Brentford’s brief foray into the second tier of League football.

 

 

 

 

 

Image7: 1904-05 Its not red and white but was worn in our first ever season at Griffin Park. Bonus points awarded by the humungous error that saw the ‘Toffs’ retro shirt company try to reproduce this from a colourised b&w photo – oops.

 

 

 

 

 

Image6: 2000-02 Play off pain but Paul Gibbs; BBB; Paul Evans. We had fun getting there and looked good to boot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image5: 1976-77 Central badge; no sponsor. Awesome stuff. We should try it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image4: 1988-89 Pin stripes & a funky bee. They shouldn’t work. They didn’t. But, actually, time is a great healer and the memory od seeing Gary Blissett & co embark on THAT cup run probably helps this sit higher up than it has any right to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

Image3 1980-81 This is it. The Adidas effort. Everybody wants it .I love it. Could we be going down this route next year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image2: 1983-84 This. Is. Brilliant. The Marmite of Brentford shirts. To some, an abhoration. To others (well, me) it’s brilliant. Given the choice, I’d take this over the Adidas every time. What WERE they thinking?

 

 

 

 

 

Image1 1990-92 KLM sponsored. Chad manufactured. Title winning. Simple but stunning and the most evocative of memories. My all time favourite, hands down

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3 Responses to “Is it time to give Adi,Das Boot up Der Backside?”

  1. Paul Watson September 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    Great read as 4 tops loving them brings back memory’s and the early 1’s nice

  2. Dave September 17, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Would be nice for Brentford to allow us to pay extra for no sponsor on the shirt. A sponsor your own shirt deal. That crap white stick on we have now is a deal breaker for me.

  3. roger greenaway (sheffbee) September 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Hi

    Totally agree with your first choice. The KLM Chad is also my favourite but as I wore it to the illfated big W, no longer my lucky one. I also like the Cobra sports Ericsson one with black inner edge to the collar and 3/4 sleeves. Interesting read and I also believe that KLM was our most credible sponsor, about the only thing that I remember Mr. Lange for (good sponsorship deals ) but will forever hate him for the cursed playoffs. Many thanks for all your writings

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