Could we go one better with next season’s third shirt? A groundbreaking opportunity awaits.

5 Feb

Finally. 24 hours after the majority of our Championship rivals, Brentford get the chance to get back into action. And what a test it will be, against league leaders Brighton and Hove Albion. Although, of course, that should now read ‘former’ league leaders after Newcastle United regained top spot on Saturday.

With third place Reading also picking up a point yesterday afternoon, the pressure will be on the Seagulls to really go for broke. Brentford, of course, will be looking to build upon Tuesday night’s tonking of Aston Villa. We looked at the forthcoming challenge in the previous column which you can find here.

However, today I wanted to mention the Football v Homophobia (FvH) campaign. Don’t worry, this is no attempt at cod moralising or patronising anybody. The last thing anybody needs, the LGBT community especially, is an article that goes all preachy.

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Yet with February being designated the international month of FVH, today’s game with Brighton has been selected in support of the campaign. You can read more about this on Brentford official where the article notes that as many as 72% of fans have heard homophobic abuse at football matches.

Thankfully, and as we’ve mentioned many times before, at Brentford this would seem to be very much the exception rather than the rule. Aside from an odd incident at Newcastle United this season from a few of the visiting fans, this isn’t anything I’ve encountered before. Home or away. It’s just one of the many reasons I’m glad I can bring my son,family and friends to Griffin Park.

And so, despite no real issue of homophobia at Brentford, the club continue to back the campaigns and make all the right noises. We support the rainbow laces promotion, print the statements on the website whilst the excellent matchday programme will, no doubt also contain similar messages today. Likewise, we also have the @LGBT_Bees group on Twitter who are well worth a follow.

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Harlee Dean shows his support earlier in the season

Yet, equally, it does sometimes feel a little bit like lip service and some clubs going through the mentions. That’s no disprespect to Brentford, who certainly push the right buttons, but more an observation about football in general. How do a club really nail their colours to the mast? Or, rather, their kit?

German club VfL Bochum have long been noted amongst supporters for their late 90s kits, which sported the rainbow colours so closely associated with the LGBT community on one half of the chest. Yet whatever the connotations of this colour scheme, this  was no precursor to the FvH campaign.

Instead it was a case of taking sponsorship to Coventry City levels (the Sky Blues famously attempting to bypass football regulations by incorporating Talbot’s ’T’ directly into their early 80’s kit design). The rainbow colour scheme was actually that of club sponsors Faber, who ran the German lottery. However well meaning this shirt may be considered by the casual observer, it was chosen for nothing more than commercial gain.

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The Bochum kit (with Faber logo inset)

But it did get me thinking. Why not introduce the rainbow colours to a shirt? Even just for one match ? Event specific shirts are hardly uncommon these days and it would be a wonderful way to bring awareness to a new level. Nobody could deny the that the Bochum effort got people talking, even if for the wrong reasons.

One can only presume that contractual / commercial reasons would probably get in the way of such an enterprise before it got off the drawing board. Yet if any club and Adidas wanted to lead the way in throwing their support behind the FvH campaign, then what a groundbreaking way to do it? Even if just by tweaking the colour scheme on the famous shoulder stripes?

Bochum have shown this could be done, albeit by accident. How about Brentford do it for real ?

I’d be proud to wear this or some similar variant. Even if it was for one night only.

Would you?

 

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Could this be in Bob’s locker next season?

Nick Bruzon

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6 Responses to “Could we go one better with next season’s third shirt? A groundbreaking opportunity awaits.”

  1. Mark Hardy February 5, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    Personally, I think it’s dodgy ground Nick. Unless the trans-gender/gay/transvestite/gender-neutral, etc., etc., members of our community have greater numbers than previously thought – (i.e. they’re becoming the majority at football grounds), it’s the sort of rocky road that UEFA et-al were suggesting would happen if they allowed us to get away with poppies on the international shirts …..isn’t it? Where would it end? Maybe better to keep politics out of sport and not to start, don’t you think….?

    • nickbruzon February 5, 2017 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Mark. Respectfully I disagree. If that is the worry then why even promote FvH issues at all. We already do it – and rightly so.
      Whether as extreme as in the example I’ve knocked up or something more discreet, it really would be a world’s first in football. Tis is no political statement (and, for the record, I think UEFA were wrong on the poppies) but more a club choosing to demonstrate their support of a group in society that are obliged to , so often, still lurk in the shadows due to the attitude of some neanderthals.
      We’ve got LGBT supporters at Brentford that I know, from speaking to first hand, have had less than pleasant experiences as a result of so called supporters demonstrating homophobic attitudes. Whether somebody wanted to wear a shirt or not, what a wonderful demonstration of support for ALL supporters if the club could take a lead – even just for one game

  2. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) February 5, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    I dont have any issue with a rainbow third kit. It would be innovative and sends out a very clear message, and done well wont look like a disaster on a shirt. Of course the cynic in me immediately sees the marketing opportunities and this could be a Brentford ‘thing’. We have already seen in sport examples where sport and causes have got together and what was originally a one off has become long term. Immediately my thoughts turn to cricket and Middlesex and Australia supporting breast cancer charities.

    To those 28% who havent heard homophobic comments or chants at football must have either not been paying attention or are the ones doing them. We have along way to go before homophobic chanting is eradicated from the terraces. After all it was only 3 weeks ago that we heard racist chanting at GP.

  3. Mark Hardy February 5, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Hear what you both say, but, having been in an industrial relations environment with an airline in a previous employment, I’ve seen well-meaning people get bogged down in the ‘he/she’s-got-A/B/C, etc., so why can’t you push the boundaries to include me?’
    There were a number of times when you had to simply give up and reflect that it really would have been better not to have gone there in the first place…!
    If you think that wouldn’t happen in the (possibly?) more diverse area of footie, then I would bow to your decision…

    • nickbruzon February 5, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

      My take, and it may be a simplistic one, is that if you don’t even try then you give in to the morons already. FvH is a football wide campaign rather than an ad-hoc one. Wouldn’t it be great see Brentford at the forefront ?

  4. Pauline February 5, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    Yes but for a day but not 888 on it

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