Apologies in advance for a headmasterly (is that even a word?) introduction – we will get to the football shortly. However, it’s all been a bit lively on these pages in the last few days. And by lively, I mean really quite sad – certainly in terms of the commentary being posted by a couple of, alleged, Brentford fans in response to several of the columns and the subsequent opinions of other supporters who had taken the time to write in.
I know things are frustrating on the pitch at present but I’m absolutely baffled by the motivation of these two brave keyboard warriors dripping nothing but poison, schoolyard insults and unquantifiable jibes. Are they really that bored?
Actually, and you may not believe this, it doesn’t bother me personally. I’ve heard a lot worse over the years. But it may upset others. More importantly, I detest bullying and people whose agenda seems nothing but setting out to antagonise or try causing upset whilst hiding behind the facade of a false name and computer screen. Jealousy? Bitterness? Problems at work? Small penis? Who knows?
Regardless, the point remains that any contributor remains welcome. Just please be aware that insulting fellow supporters, accusing them of being a&$eholes (or worse), and making unfounded allegations of racism and homophobia, amongst other things, may well result in such posts being deleted. And I must apologise again for sounding all ’teacher’ but there’s been some pretty desperate stuff these last few days (most of which has now been removed).
But with that out of the way, back to normality. Of course, the International break has caused the cancellation of Championship football for two weeks and, being honest, options are slim for Wednesday night. Personally, I’m fortunate enough in having the Gibraltar v Liechtenstein game to look forward to but, this aside, there is meagre fare on offer.
Even then, the football isn’t a guaranteed. Mrs Bruzon has been threatening to use this perceived gap in the football calendar to catch up on the DVD collection. The thought of having to sit through Colin Firth or Hugh Grant’s greatest hits is one to make even Slovenia v Macedonia seem a more palatable option. The possibility of being force fed the pair’s ‘bumbling romantic’ routine in ‘Four weddings’, ‘Love, Actually’ or ‘Bridget Jones’ (that one’s more Firth than Grant playing the ‘slightly awkward around girls’ role)) is making me queasy.
Likewise, there’s only so much of that nonsense out of ‘Notting Hill’ I can stomach (although if anybody is ever in the area for real, The Porchester has a menu to die for).
So, instead, it’ll be a compromise of letting Mrs B. enjoy Hugh whilst yours truly starts work on the next few ‘kit obsessive’ articles for the official matchday programme. But with the Bolton game still two weeks away, there’s plenty of time to get those ready.
As such, I thought I’d look to recreate that column here – as a one time only ‘special’ . And not so much focussing on a specific opponent but, instead, the 91 other clubs that Brentford may find themselves playing subject to promoting or relegation.
With that in mind, just what are the ‘all time best’, ‘the worst’, the ‘classic away’ and ‘the unfortunate design’ amongst football shirts across the history of English football fashion? How do you reduce this down to four shirts and moreso, when the Bees aren’t included (for now).
The answer has to be one of just going with the gut. What is the first one that springs to mind? So without further ado, using no more scientific methodology than my own personal opinion, they are….
The best: Hull City. (made by Matchwinner). Home 1992-1993. Sometimes, words are just not enough. You can only admire the audacity and sheer, unadulterated, genius that saw Hull try to interpret their ‘Tigers’ nickname into the team’s playing kit.
But it wasn’t even discreet – the footballing equivalent of Bet Lynch (kids, ask your parents).
In probably the most iconic of all the Matchwinner designs (and they’re a manufacturer who have had some standouts) Hull went for a full on tiger stripe effect. This was less a subtle nod towards their nickname and more a no holds barred attempt to create one of the most loved/loathed shirts in football history.
Incredibly, Matchwinner’s contract was cancelled midway through the following season and awarded to Pelada. However, with the company refusing to hand over the design spec, their replacements had to produce a new version – a strange, brown affair that was very much the runt of the litter. Then again, how do you top perfection?
The worst: Coventry City. (made by Talbot Sports). Home 1981- 1984 There wasn’t much that Jimmy Hill didn’t try to innovate in football and his stint as Coventry’s Managing Director was no exception. Indeed, such was his creativity that he made Hull City AFC’s Doctor Assem Allam look like a rank amateur in the rebranding stakes.
1981. Coventry had just announced the football league’s first club sponsorship deal with local car giants, Talbot. Yet in an audacious bid to work around the (then) ban on shirt advertising, Hill tried to get the team renamed Coventry Talbot.
Not surprisingly, this move was rejected so, instead, he simply had a home shirt designed that featured their ‘T’ logo as an integral part of the design. Worse than that, he continued the design onto the shorts. It was immediately banned from television and consigned to football’s home of infamous design.
The classic away: Coventry City. (made by Admiral) 1978-1980 Even now, I don’t know if this qualifies as being touched by the mark of genius or insanity. Whichever, you can’t deny it’s eye catching.
The Admiral away kit from the end of the 70s shouldn’t work. Indeed, it is often voted as the worst kit of all time in supporter polls. Bedecked in chocolate brown with white piping that continued from the shirt all the way down the shorts, it really is an oddity. Yet one that is so odd it’s stunning. Genuinely . Even that most heinous of kit crimes, continuing the shirt design onto the shorts, somehow works here.
The unfortunate design: Arsenal. (made by Adidas) Away 1991-1993. Affectionately dubbed the bruised banana, this mixes the traditional Arsenal yellow with a series of interlocking chevron stripes that make this one seem as though it belongs more at the bottom of a fruit bowl.
Personally, I think this banana analogy has always been a tad harsh If anything, this looks more like a plain yellow shirt that has been run over by a JCB and left a somewhat unsightly tyre print.
And if you’d like to read more… over the next month or so the match day programme still has kit obsessive articles to come on Bristol City, Cardiff City, Bolton Wanderers and, of course, Fulham.
Enjoy. Please. And if you don’t, just remember this is only a bit of fun.