Tag Archives: Cobra

Are these our three most unusual shirts?

21 Apr

Another weekend has gone by and the story is a familiar one. We’ve one last away trip (Stoke City) this Saturday and then that last ever game at Griffin Park, Brentford v Barnsley, on Saturday week. It should be the most exciting of times yet in reality we are all stuck in limbo. There are still nine games left to play and nobody has any clue whether it will be Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion or somebody else who eventually joins the Bees in automatic promotion to the Premier League. Instead, we’re delving that bit deeper into the historical kit bag looking for buried treasure.

Despite the lack of action, everybody has done their very best to keep supporters engaged. We’ve had the weekly GPG webcasts, classic match re-reuns and all sorts on Twitter. Whether the ultimate 5-a-side team, the Leyton Orient promoted FIFA 20 tournament or even last weekend’s World Cup of Brentford shirts. That was eventually won by the current away kit – the one we’ve been wearing for season 2019-2026 (at least, that’s how it feels at the moment). 44% of votes went in favour of this absolute stunner as the nostalgia vote was split three ways between Hummel and a pair of Chads.

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Congratulations, Umbro

We also covered the story of the shirt that never was and even managed to obtain comments from Michael Dobson. A Brentford legend and one of the two youth team players given the somewhat dubious ‘honour’ of revealing that to the world for the first, and last, time.

Screenshot 2020-04-14 at 06.51.22Now, the GPG have tracked down his partner in (fashion) crime, Lee Tunnell, who tells us, “Wow ,where did you find this .Being shouted and screamed at by millwall fans as I had to walk around the pitch and and a few bees fans just shaking their head at me(the kit) in disgust” before adding…. “York city ? I must’ve of associated the abuse we got with millwalls reputation .yeah there was some spitting, I didn’t get any coins tho (I would’ve pocketed em) not sure about dobbo” .

 

Yet it was whilst digging in to this one via the Brentford Big Book Of The 90s , and also helping the research for the World Cup of shirts, that I’ve been reminded of three rarely seen shirts. As a kit nerd with more than a few Brentford shirts in the collection already, these three strike me as possibly the most unusual and rarely seen of anything we’ve worn in recent times. Do they even exist anywhere? Does anyone have one? With a 2004 club shop variant ‘away’ going for over £80 on eBay last week, what price would these even fetch on the open market? Would anybody even care?

For once, we’re not even talking about the legendary Adidas 1980. We’ve all seen that whilst many fans acquired the remake in that brief period before Aztec retro were forced to close their doors. No. For me, Clive, these are the three that are rarer than a Terry Butcher win.

1997-98 Cobra home – long sleeves. The normal shorter sleeved version is nice, no question, although not close to the best ever. However, lengthen the arms and all of a sudden the baggy version takes on a totally different feel. Classy. Timeless. Unseen.

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1994-95 – unbranded – short/long sleeves. The weird, unbranded Hummel style kit bereft of all sponsorship and the chevrons seen on the previous few season’s shirt began to be worn half way through this campaign, alongside Core shorts and socks. This before they then took over in full the following season.

I’m still not sure of the facts behind what happened here (anyone?) this but one thing’s for sure, these don’t feature anywhere these days. Except, perhaps, in the back of a few attics.

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Hummel / Core – a kit oddity

1992-1993 Hummel away – long sleeves. You still see the ‘regular’ equivalent of this geometric hell doing the rounds whilst, of course, the club shop are selling the remake at present. And a quite splendid version it is too, albeit lacking technical sponsor. But has anyone seen the long sleeved version in the last twenty-five years ? A thing of such beauty, you don’t even notice the jarring clash that goes with the accompanying red shorts and socks.

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I love it. Does it even exist?

Nick Bruzon

Was this the darkest day in our history?

14 Apr

February 28th 1998. A date that will go down in history for Brentford fans. The opposition York City. The result – well, it doesn’t really matter these days. At least, the on pitch one. Instead what happened on the touchline has become one of the most controversial things to ever happen at Griffin Park. It was the day we decided to show the fans our shirt for the following season (something one can only dream of these days). You know the one . The version that added black spray paint to the traditional red & white stripes. The design which, at the very best, looked like a poor man’s graffiti artist had got to work on a Bournemouth kit. But much, much worse. It was slated to go on sale at the final game of that campaign, against Luton Town. 

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I’ve seen this picture before and was actually there at the time. I even own one of these (thanks to the birthday based generosity and resourcefulness of Mrs. Bruzon). But the history of what happened has all gone a little hazy over time.

Then, whilst leafing through the Big Brentford Book of the 90s to see if I could find a picture of an Umbro / Cobra crossover goalkeeper’s kit I’d seen for sale on eBay, there it was once more. 

Not just Graham Benstead wearing a top with two technical sponsors – one of which (right) is still available on the internet based auction site should anybody be looking to pick up historical curio –  but the infamous ‘smudge shirt’ , along with the newspaper clipping from the time which ran the subsequent story.

Those of us of a certain age know what happened. Half-time in a late season game saw Peter Gilham announce that we were about to be shown the aforementioned home shirt. One of the youth team then walked around Griffin Park to a shower of boos as the most untraditional of kits was unveiled before our eyes. At least, those are the details I remember.

The article cast a little more detail on events. There were apparently not one but two kids modelling the kit (Lee Tunnell and club hero Michael Dobson) and it was the York City game. When cross referred with other sources, that turned out to have been played in February – I’d have bet on it being April. Probably the first, in retrospect. So this detail was shared on Twitter. 

Being day four of a long bank holiday and not much to do after Martin Allen had blown all entertainment out of the water on Saturday afternoon, this was a last gasp attempt to kill thirty seconds. Thankfully, it ended up killing an awful lot more as Bees’ fans responded to add detail.

I wasn’t alone in thinking it was later than February whilst the one player / two player conundrum was resolved by the fact that each went in a different direction around the pitch so that only one was on view at a time to each stand. It made no difference to the chorus of boos and chants of “Red and white. Red and white.” Nor did it make any difference to the comments on the feedback form that was also handed out to supporters to give their opinion on the ‘coal smudging’ effect.

The other interesting piece of information confirmed by several supporters being that this was the result of a supporter’s competition to design our kit. What a wonderful idea, in theory, and one I’d love to see happen again. Come on Bob  how about it? (I’ve got dozens – although no brown/orange given the lack of apparent taste in our fan base) .

 One can only imagine what was rejected to go for this. One can only imagine the marketing meeting that not only came up with the selection for the winning design but then chose to launch it in such a fashion. “Listen chaps, I’ve had an idea. Two youth team players. A vandalised kit that’s like nothing we’ve ever worn before. And we spring it on the fans as a surprise…..” More drugs anyone?   

As fellow Kit nerd Luis Adriano noted on Twitter “I wonder how the person who designed the ‘winning’ competition entry must have felt/feels?! To see and hear that reception then know that their design was canned before it was ever worn in a match!

Luis also knocked up his own take on the competition entry. At least, I hope it was his own take and not twenty years of built up frustration finally finding cathartic release.

One thing’s for sure, it never went on sale against Luton Town.

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Luis in no way suffering from Bank Holiday boredom

Nick Bruzon 

West Ham ? Sheffield Wednesday? Hull City? Which Brentford star is going where? If any…

25 Jul

Jota to Newcastle United, West Ham United, other? Harlee Dean to Sheffield Wednesday? Now Rico Henry and an apparent interest from Hull City is the latest story being touted in the press involving the possibility of a player leaving Griffin Park. You can tell the impending football season is approaching at a rate of knots with rumours surrounding Brentford stars cranking up. As ever.

Ordinarily these pages don’t do transfer gossip. The only source close to the club I trust (Beesotted aside, given they are almost always bang on the money) is the ketchup that comes with the half time chips. Yet this time it is worth paying note. If not for the quality of the ‘story’ – please note, your definition of ‘quality’ and ‘story’ may vary – as to the bigger picture questions.

Everybody is focussed on Jota. Understandably so given his unadulterated ability and contract length are diametrically opposed to each other in terms of size. The stories about West Ham won’t go away although I’d refer you back to the Scott Hogan tedium. Likewise the fact that they’ve already acquired the likes of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Marko Arnautovic.

All this, before £16m Javier Hernandez became the latest to join the 1966 World Cup winners at the Olympic stadium yesterday. Are we really expected to believe they could also splash out on the likes of Jota aswell? Is the West Ham acquisition process now at an end? They were bad last season, that was plain to see, but surely no mid-table team needs this much rebuilding? Or can afford it? Then again, the TV money is at the ridiculous level and so not surprising our man’s name is mentioned in such circles.

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Jota and Harlee amongst the main men for Brentford in 2017/18

Yet for me all this Jota talk has been an unintentional smokescreen that has detracted from a real possibility – that of losing a centre back. We are more than amply catered for in this area of the field with Yoann Barbet, John Egan, Andreas Bjelland and of course  Harlee Dean all jockeying for position. This is before you even factor in the B-team. But then the Sheffield Wednesday rumour appeared.

Nobody on the terraces can imagine Harlee will leave. That surely the club will do all in their power to hang on to our player of the year and club captain. I’m not convinced this is anything more than a story that will come and go. But this hasn’t stopped us before.

At the same time, how does Dean Smith keep four quality defenders happy with only two positions to fill? He’s tried to play three of them and despite some initial positives, it was hardly the roaring success he had anticipated. So much so that normal service was soon resumed.

Sheffield Wednesday coming in for Harlee may be true, it may not. Yet we’ve shown every season that something has to give in order to help balance those FFP books. Hogan to Villa; Odubajo to Hull; Gray and number 26 to Burnley.

This time around, rather than Jota might it be elsewhere on the pitch? The defence? Certainly, this move was just one of those talked up in the recent Beesotted transfer activity piece. Could Billy have got his hands on the crystal ball once more?

The other story we then saw yesterday was a laughable column about Hull City looking at Rico Henry . With Andy Robertson joining Liverpool for £10milion last week, the Tigers are supposedly coming in with a £3.5 million bid.

Ted Knutson put that one immediately into context on Twitter.

We’re all about maximising player potential but, equally, we’re not in the business of giving anyone away. Rico’s emergence last season well and truly put Jake Bidwell in the shade and showed just why we were prepared to let our former skipper join the Loftus Road mob. Here is a player with the potential to go all the way and somebody who absolutely hit the ground running at Championship level after signing from League One Walsall.

Whichever story, if any, is true it all goes to show once more that we are a team in demand. That we aren’t just one goal scorer or one luxuriantly coiffured Spaniard. Brentford’s stock is high. The 2-2 with Southampton at the weekend proved that.

Yet let me ask you a question. If it kept Jota safe in the short term, would you sell Harlee? Would you let Rico go? Who’d want to be on the board with those sorts of decisions to make?

Ultimately of course, we may not have any choice in affairs. Money and agents talk. Likewise, we’ve acquired very well in the close(d) season. For both the first XI and B-team. Does the strongest looking all round squad we’ve had in years – boosted by five new signing – mean some form of departure is inevitable? Or is this going to be the season where the Brentford players and board all say – up yours West Ham. So long Hull City. Sorry Newcastle. These players aren’t for sale. We’re going places.

Whatever happens, all will become much clearer over the coming weeks. I can’t wait for the season to start but it might be stressful getting there.

As one final thought, what are you going to be wearing on the terraces this season? The new kit is stunning, with the goalkeeper and away variants already available in the club shop. Yet for anybody wanting a retro touch then eBay is the place to go at present.

This isn’t me (the chances of anything slipping my collection are slim to zero) but I have seen one fan looking to clear out their own wardrobe this week. Seller aamy_r_reetqr26 has listed 11 shirts that run from 1988 up to 2002, many of which are rarely seen on the terraces these days. You can find them here if this is of interest.

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Just some of the retro shirts on offer this week

Nick Bruzon