Tag Archives: Matchwinner

Looking good or bad dress sense? Kit Obsessive: Brentford v Preston North End

16 Sep

It only seems like five minutes since we were playing Aston Villa yet barely have the side got back to the pub (I’m sorry, but I’m still laughing about that ) we’ve got another game on top of us. This time Preston North End are the visitors to Griffin Park as Brentford go looking for a win that would, potentially, propel the Bees into the play off zone.

And, as ever, part of the build up to a home game includes a revisit to the Kit Obsessive feature. With Preston at Griffin Park tomorrow, it’s another chance to wallow in kit heaven and kit hell.

If Brentford have had trouble, on the surface, in finding variations on red and white stripes then one has to feel for the back room staff at Preston North End. In a problem similar to that faced by the national side, how do you improve on perfection – kitwise, at least?

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A familiar look

Save for a couple of tweaks in the five years prior to their becoming founder members of the football league back in 1888 (including rather familiar red and white stripes the previous season c/o the ever wonderful HFK website) their shirt remained plain white up until the mid-seventies. Sure, there were some cosmetic differs on the badge and a few collars along the way, but things remained pretty much ‘as they were’ for the best part of a century.

But then we entered the era of brand names, of sponsors and of colour. All of a sudden variants began to appear and Preston haven’t looked back since. To be fair, they have done well to keep an eye on the origins that have also seen them based at the same field in Deepdale that has been their home since 1875 (and which first saw football in 1878).

However, the last forty years have provided plenty to supplement what has been one of THE classic football shirts. As we delve into the historical kitbag, our four categories, which are all based purely on my own personal opinion, remain: The best; The worst; The away; The unfortunate design/Retro Classic

The Best:  Home 1949-58 Whilst Umbro were the first ‘technical’ sponsor to display their brand on the shirt, Adidas dominated a period from late seventies to mid eighties that saw some intriguing efforts. I’ve always had a soft spot for the German giants (indeed, for many Brentford fans our own 1980/81 home shirt is the stuff of folklore/fantasy – delete as applicable).  That said my own take is that, if anything, these are a bit over cluttered. Free from the shackles of ‘all white’, the club allowed advertising and double badges to run riot.

Instead, we’ll keep it simple and recognise one of Preston’s greatest players in their greatest kit. The image of Sir Tom Finney in the plain white collared shirt is an absolutely iconic one in footballing terms. With the famous PP (Princeps Pacis) badge still retained, almost identically, today it is a fine shirt to boot and one that reeks of class and tradition.

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The worst: Matchwinner 1992-93   Just as the likes of Reading discovered, sponsorship from a company in the painting & decorating industry does not guarantee a shirt as stylish as the product it is endorsing.

And just as Reading’s Matchwinner efforts were more likely to induce a migraine than promote the likes of their ‘Hat Painting’, Preston face a similar scenario.

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Matchwinner have bad form here

With both Matchwinner and wallpaper magnates ‘Coloroll’ in the bag, surely they couldn’t make the same mistakes as the Royals. Alas not. The 1992-93 home shirt is wrong on just about every level. The only saving grace is the club badge remains intact. Otherwise, where do you start?

Well, the shirt IS white. Kind of. Unfortunately, the effect is ruined by two areas of dark blue and yellow  wavy, diagonal lines. The predominate patch drifts across the shoulders down to the middle left, but is then also repeated below the sponsor. The whole effect is further marred by a subtle (relative to the rest of the kit) interlocking diamond motif woven through the entire shirt.

It’s almost as though somebody has looked at the infamous Hull City ‘tiger stripe’ shirt (also Matchwinner), produced an ‘away’ version, but then just rolled it out to North End instead.

 

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The away. Matchwinner 1993-94 Matchwinner’s previous ’away’ effort was a marginally more discreet version of their 92-93 ‘home’, done out in yellow and black. So I’m going for the next one they produced for Preston, also sponsored by Coloroll.

Anybody with a copy of the programme from the Oxford United cup ‘game’ may recall my mention of the fuzzy fractals and soft focus geometric oddities that seemed the fashion at the time. And nowhere more so than at Matchwinner HQ where they produced what was described as the result of “being short sighted then losing your glasses whilst looking at a deck chair. On acid.“

It was an audaciously brave attempt and one they also bequeathed to Preston North End. A shirt so glaring it’s actually brilliant. A true classic.

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The unfortunate design.  Footy 1994/95. Let’s be clear – I DO actually love the vast majority of Matchwinner efforts and their regular appearance in these pages should be seen as a complement. They have been innovative in terms of design and colour scheme – sometimes successfully yet at others, not so. However, as their star began to fade (for reasons unknown) their legacy lived on as they weren’t alone in push the boundaries.

With with ‘Footy’ picking up the baton, that tradition continued. A blue stripe to the right of the club badge saw Coloroll’s ongoing sponsorship laid out in a vertical format rather than the traditional horizontal. All well and good except the lettering was also flipped over, rendering it somewhat impossible to read without suffering some form of neck injury.

A brave effort but one that has been rarely repeated since at any English club as vertical sponsors died along with Coloroll’s contract.

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Loanee David Beckham the second most impressive thing in this picture

Nick Bruzon

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Is bruised banana the worst of football’s rotten bunch? Or just unfortunate?

23 Mar

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).

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Notting Hill – full of drivel. Give me football any day

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?

Hull City 1992-93 shirt

The best football shirt of all time

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.

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The worst ever kit?

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.

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But with the bad also comes good

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.

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Tyre print? Rotten banana?

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.

Nick Bruzon

Brentford pass their Reading test

5 Oct

Well that was tense for a while but in the end Brentford secured another league win, this time at the expense of a Reading side whose second half performance made the game an awful lot closer than the scoreline suggests.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Reading, Cureton and Evo stir the full range of emotions.

3 Oct

Reading visit Brentford on Saturday for a game that reignites the strongest of feelings, almost 15 years after their end of season trip to Griffin Park saw one team promoted to the Championship and the other leave with their players and fans distraught.

For those of you for who the memory of ‘that penalty’ against Doncaster is still a fresh one, this was a totally different pain.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

 Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

Reading – what were they thinking?

2 Oct

With Brentford due a visit from Reading on Saturday, we’ll start the big match build up with another episode of the semi-regular series : ‘What were they thinking’ – a look at the best (and worst) of our opponent’s shirts.

As ever, the selections have been made using no more a scientific method than personal opinion. And, likewise, the four categories remain: The best; The worst; The unfortunate design; The away kit.

And in the case of Reading, with what still feels like recent history fresh in the memory, you’ll forgive me for one choice.

The best : 1987 – 89 Made by Patrick ; sponsored by Courage. Although this design made it’s debut in 1984, the use of the new club badge was only a later addition.

This ditches the horizontal stripes and, likewise, the dark blue – both of which make the majority of Reading shirts look like something the Loftus Road mob might turn out wearing . A broad, vertical stripe and central badge also increase the retro appeal.

A home winner for Reading

A home winner for Reading

The worst : 2001-03: Made by Kit@ ; sponsored by Westcoast . It’s bad enough that this one looks like something out of Shepherds Bush – but then many Reading kits do. However, this one wins the prize simply because of Jamie Cureton and THAT game in 2002.

If the more recent memory of THAT penalty hurts, it wasn’t like we hadn’t been there before…..

The end result of 'THAT' game. The words have been changed to protect the innocent

The end result of ‘THAT’ game. The words have been changed to protect the innocent

 

The unfortunate design : 1991-92 Made by Matchwinner ; sponsored by HAT Painting. You know how before some TV programmes, viewers are warned that the content contains flashing images and strobing that may cause seizure – see this shirt on close up.

The brave move of ditching stripes and traditional club colours has continued but the end result is something that results in most onlookers being dazzled by the reflective glare. Full marks for innovative effort, if nothing else.

A brave decision.....

A brave decision…..

The away shirt : 1991-92 Made by Matchwinner ; sponsored by HAT Painting. A Matchwinner 91/92 double. I’d love to know how many replica shirts the club sold this season.

If the home version was unusual, the away kit trumps it by a country mile. One of those where you have to ask if this is ‘so bad it’s good’ or ‘so good it’s genius’?

Matchwinner scoop two awards for their 91-92 collection

Matchwinner scoop two awards for their 91-92 collection