Tag Archives: Puma

Looking good or bad dress sense? Kit Obsessive: Brentford v Sheffield Wednesday

26 Aug

Following on from today’s other new , regular feature (The Last Word on….) part of the big match build up to every Brentford home game now includes a revisit to the Kit Obsessive feature. With Sheffield Wednesday being Saturday’s visitors to Griffin Park, it’s another chance to wallow in kit heaven and kit hell.

Originally formed in 1867 as the Wednesday Cricket & Football Club, it wasn’t until 1929 that the team we now know as Sheffield Wednesday were officially recognised by that name. The intervening 62 year period had given them plenty of time to develop their famous strip of alternating blue and white stripes to the point that, sponsorship aside, it remains pretty much ‘as was’ to this very day.

But then, like Brentford, how much can you do with a design that simple yet that effective? Quite a lot, actually.

Along with some interesting variants including the occasional flirtation with Loftus Road style hoops (last seen in 1945-46), the club have gone ‘all blue (albeit white sleeved), thick, thin and even adopted the dreaded pin-stripe style that graced our own ‘Funky Bee’ kit at the back end of the ‘80s.

Sheff Wed PIC 1Added to this, though, is probably one of the most recognisable club badges the world over. Their stenciled  ‘owl’ motif first appeared in 1973 and, aside from a brief rebrand from ‘95-’99 has been in place right up until this season’s (presumably short term) rebrand.

For me, this is an integral a part of the club shirt as their primary colours and, as such, plays a role in our selection of the Fantastic Four that go on to make up: The best; The worst; The away; The unfortunate design/Retro Classic

The best: Umbro 1990-91 From1987-89 Wednesday succumbed to one of the many football fashion crimes of the late 80s – thin stripes. Very thin stripes. More white than blue, the shirt puts one in mind of our own from that era (the one that looked pink from a distance of anything over ten yards away.

Sheff Wed PIC 2

Then Umbro redeemed themselves with a kit that, some additional branding and change in sponsor aside, didn’t change from 1989-1993. And, frankly, why would it need to? With thick blue and white stripes, and the only additional colour being to highlight the club badge and technical sponsor, the floppy collar helps add a real ‘old school’ look to this most classic of designs.

However, for that most quintessential of the bunch I’m opting for the version worn in the 1991 Rumbelows (league) Cup final.  A 1-0 triumph over Manchester United (who doesn’t like to see that?) for the then second division side was achieved the same year they managed promotion to the top flight.

And, dare I say it, an example where the dark lettering on the sponsor actually gives a little balance to the vast, empty spaces we’d all taken for granted in the years prior to corporate involvement in football.

Sheff Wed PIC 3

The Worst: Puma 1995-96 With all apologies to any Wednesday fans reading, this is everything wrong with a football shirt. I had considered picking the aforementioned 87-89 but was then reminded of this.

Gone is the famous owl, to be replaced by a mess of a badge. It includes a ‘retro’ 60’s style owl, along with a shield, stripes, the club name three times (twice as SWFC), a reminder they play at Hillsborough and even a Yorkshire rose.

But just incase you weren’t sure who the club were, there is an additional SWFC badge on the opposite side to the shield. And that’s not all.

Printed directly into the middle of the shirt itself is yet another SWFC, in grey. This one is so large it is part obscured by the sponsor and central stripe so looks more as though somebody has just sneezed on it. I won’t even start on the bizarre combination of thick and thin stripes that leave a mostly white feel to this shirt.

SHEFF WED PIC 4

The away: Umbro 1987-88 Whilst that season’s home shirt may have been a car crash, the away version was a triumph. I’ve got a soft spot for silver kits after our own Community Sports Trust version saw us go unbeaten in the colour but this one knocks it out of the park.

A shimmering silver effort from Umbro saw the traditional owl in place – always a good start. But what really sets this apart is that the whole thing is then set off with diagonal lilac and white pin stripes. Sponsored by Finlux (European TV magnates, apparently) on paper this really shouldn’t work but in the flesh it is a thing of beauty.

SHEFF WED PIC 5

The Retro Classic – Bukta 1977-81 I’m not going to lie – I’ve cheated a bit here. This shirt is a retro classic and deserving of a place in any hall of fame. Nothing more pretentious to it than the traditional stripes, Bukta branding and an early incarnation of the now standard badge.

But the defining reason for selection sees it as the one that most Brentford fans will associate with Andy McCulloch, who joined the Hillsborough club after initially being tapped up by Ian St. John whilst departing Griffin Park on a stretcher. As Andy himself noted, “The two clubs I loved playing for were Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford“.

Andy McCulloch

That iconic image of Andy

Nick Bruzon

Advertisements

Please, Matthew. Can we have our castle back?

4 Aug

Season 2016/17 is almost upon us with Brentford preparing to travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday. Yet before a ball has even been kicked in anger, I’ve already seen thoughts turning towards 2017/18. Specifically, in regards to the playing kit.

I’m not going to dwell further on this year’s offering, suffice to say that I love it (although, equally, recognise that it is not everybody’s cup of tea). We’ve discussed this one to the nth degree already.

However, what is of ongoing interest was Kitman Bob’s recent revelation that he is already getting close to looking at the design specs for next season. That’s 2017/18, just to be clear. Likewise, Mark Devlin’s insight into the design process given at Monday’s fan forum where he explained how the final selection involves oversight from a number of people at the club, all the way up to Matthew Benham.

Then, last night, supporter Stephen O’Brien offered his thoughts on this subject via Twitter.

Whilst I agree he has picked two absolute stunners (including my all time favourite in the home category), making a 100% clone of a previous effort perhaps isn’t the best way forward. If nothing else, Puma emulated / paid tribute to / ripped off (delete as applicable) both of the shirts  Stephen admires so much back in 2010-11. Are we ready for yet another identikit version so soon?

However, where I do agree 110% with Stephen is in his comments about the club badge. Perhaps it is a generational thing but for me nothing quite says Brentford like….the Castle.

Forget the debate about our current red to white ratio. If there is one thing that makes me instantly identify with our club then it is, with all due respect to both the Funky Bee and Buzzette, that badge.

Matthew, Bob, Mark and the other co-directors of shirt selection – please can we bring it back next season?

The Castle Badge

The Castle badge appeared (on and off) from 1976-1994)

Much as I’d love to be on your kit committee, I realise that’s never going to happen . However, at the very least why not throw a ‘badge’ vote open to the supporters ?

It wouldn’t be unheard of in footballing circles and given how much we look to engage with our fanbase, why not allow us to help make a decision about the club’s identity ?

If nothing else, our current effort is now entering a twenty-second season of use after first appearing in the 1994/95 campaign. That badge was also chosen by a supporter  – Andrew Henning designing it  in exchange for two season tickets. Don’t listen to the claims to ownership from TV ‘astrologer’ Russell Grant whom, it later transpired, simply offered guidance on the inclusion of the Middlesex coat of arms found in the bottom left corner.

Yet even after all this time, I still can’t warm to it. It just seems too busy and like our former ‘Spitfire’ font, maybe even just a little dated.  With a stylised beehive, the coat of arms,  a scroll, four quarters and several text blocks within the design there’s just too much going on. It now feels workmanlike and efficient rather than having the emotional significance of the Castle.

959px-Brentford_FC_logo.svg

The current Brentford badge

We almost changed over on the occasion of our 125th anniversary. A garish celebratory graphic based on our first ever badge was revealed, along with talk of having a simpler variant on the shirts. Instead, the idea was quietly parked and has never been mentioned since.

Much as I love the Castle, the thought of going all the way back to our origins was an equally wonderful one and it was a real shame this never put in an appearance in one form or another. But the point is mentioned as it shows the club have considered change.

With Brentford’s sartorial fate for next season already approaching discussion, why not take a chance to roll back the years?

Please Matthew. Can we have our castle back?

Nick Bruzon

With launch imminent, the Kit Obsessive returns for a look at our good, bad and ugly

21 Jul

Finally. The most protracted kit launch since the Knight Industries 2000 rolled off the production line comes to a head. ‘Official’ have announced that the new Brentford home and away shirts will be revealed on Friday and then worn on Saturday against FC Kaiserslautern. Initial thoughts on this subject have already been published but, before we look forward, perhaps time to look back.

made-of-brentford277-3197572_613x460

It’s coming. Not my words etc. etc. etc…..

Last Season I was fortunate enough to be able to write the ‘kit obsessive’ articles in the match day programme in which we looked at the best, worst and plain unusual of the visitor’s kit. Whilst for obvious reasons the feature won’t return this season – barring those newcomers to the Championship such as Burton Albion , Newcastle, Aston Villa etc  – these pages will (amongst other new features) no doubt make the odd reference to footballing fashion.

Indeed, over the years we’ve talked about the best, and worst, of Brentford shirts but never given them the ‘kit obsessive’ style treatment . So with the launch imminent, it seemed a timely juncture to close this loophole.

As ever, the categories remains : The best; the worst; the away; the unfortunate design / the retro classic. Likewise, these are picked using no more scientific criteria than personal taste.

Are these right? Wrong? What are your thoughts?

For me, they are as follows….

The Best: Chad. Home 1990-92 KLM sponsored. Chad manufactured. Title winning. Simple but stunning and the most evocative of memories. No nonsense red and white with black collar and tasteful trim. I can’t look at this without thinking of Terry Evans, Kevin Godfrey, Keith Millen, Neil Smillie and, of course, Deano & Bliss. Didn’t something happen at Peterborough? My all time favourite, hands down.

IMG_4767

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 06.15.17The away: Adidas. Third 2015/16 Whilst I’ve always opted for the corresponding Chad away shirt, kitman Bob pulled something very special out of the bag last season when we played Blackburn Rovers. A Brentford third kit. In black. Oh, this is a thing of beauty – and not just the image of Sam Saunders wearing it in conjunction with short shorts (which, I gather, medical advice suggests is apparently something not thought about in this already hot weather !) . We’ve gone for black again this season – can it match up to this?

 

 

The worst: Puma. Away.  2008/09 .Puma’s offering was truly horrific. It shouldn’t have been. There was nothing too fussy / garish about it whilst it had two shades of blue. But what a shade – pastel ‘baby blue’. The sort of thing a newborn might wear – until he vomited on it (which would be an improvement). Worse, it was regurgitated as 2009/10’s third kit.

IMG_4802

And from a home perspective, how about Puma 2011/12 Floppy black collars. They’re floppy!!? The only point of a collar on a football shirt is so as you can stand it up – preferably just at the point of entering ‘Saunder’s territory’. Sizing issues. Yet the ultimate crime is the red shoulder patches and double black trim.  A combo that makes us look like hotel doormen in knock off adidas shirts – the brand with two stripes

Marcel Eger Brentford

Marcel Eger chose to wear a spray on shirt rather than hold it

 

Retro classic / unfortunate design: Osca. Home, 1983/84 . It just had to be. A white upper half and, for the first half of the season, worn with white shorts….. The Marmite of Brentford shirts. To some, an abhoration. To others (well, me) it’s brilliant. One man’s retro classic is another’s unfortunate design. I’m definitely in the former camp

IMG_4765

Here’s hoping tomorrow brings something equally spectacular.

Nick Bruzon

How Leverkusen beat Brentford when it comes to scoring

5 Sep

It would be fair to say that Brentford certainly lead the way when it comes to adopting a different approach on the field. The oft quoted ‘statistical model’ has helped unearth players from all over Germany, Austria and Denmark whilst, of course, we have a new management structure in place. Our decision to play beach football at Griffin Park was, perhaps, an ill-fated one but it can never be said that life as a Brentford fan is a quiet one.

Whilst Brentford may be trendsetters in many areas, we aren’t a patch on German and, specifically, Bayer Leverkusen. Although we are picking up players from that country I wonder if we might soon adopt some of their other ideas ?

With the Bees busy promoting their latest idea, ‘Back to School’ gear for the kids, Leverkusen have adopted a more adult marketing strategy. In a move that gives new meaning to the phrase ‘get your kit off’, their website offers none more than club issue condoms for sale.

I was convinced this was a joke upon being sent the picture but, sure enough, these really exist. Alongside cuddly socks, alarm clocks and shirt pyjamas, the Leverkusen ‘must have, bedroom’ category also includes the aforementioned prophylactics.

This really exists

This really exists

Should you want to try something different, you can get them here. At just Euro 1.90, there is now the chance for fans to wear their colours on every occasion whilst still earning those all important loyalty points.

Leverkusen aren’t alone. The BBC ran a report as far back as 2002 on the popularity of such items in Brazil (Flamengo being the biggest seller, apparently). Even as recently as the World Cup of 2014, there were stories doing the rounds about local favourite Neymar have one designed in his honour.

Which does make me wonder if Matthew Benham , Mark Devlin and the rest of the Brentford marketing chaps will leap upon this as our next foray into club issue items. It’s one thing having the shirt on your back but why not go one better ?

Then again, given our previous issues in getting shirt sizes right (thanks, Puma) or even the lack of any choice for women, perhaps this is one area we are probably safest steering away from. The last thing we want is something leaky than the defence.

An idea that will probably remain on the drawing board

An idea that will probably remain on the drawing board

Nick Bruzon

Are these the worst kits of 2015/16 ?

12 Jul

With Brentford having now launched next season’s home and away kits, thoughts have turned to other clubs and what they’ll be turning out in. From Newcastle United to Watford there are certainly what we could call some ‘eye catching’ designs out there. And there’s interesting news on the sponsors front where we also have further update from Hull City AFC, amongst others, who of course featured in yesterday’s column regarding their proposed name change. Not to mention a missed opportunity at Griffin Park…..

But first, kit. Brentford’s new shirts seem to have been universally well received.

This is ours - as seen on the official club site

This is ours – as seen on the official club site

Looking further afield, the same is not necessarily true and where I mentioned ‘eye catching before, perhaps eye gouging would have been a more appropriate term. Whilst not every club has shown it’s hand, enough have – revealing some true horrors – that we can already put together a top five of 2015/16’s worst home kits.

5: Dagenham & Redbridge. The Daggers have been traditionally red, sometimes with blue offset, and twice previously have gone for both colours in stripes. They’ve gone down this route for a third time but what a mish-mash. One red sleeve, one blue sleeve and then the alternate blue stripes are of ever decreasing width from left to right as you look at it. And they’ve got a new badge – with some daggers on it (the modern equivalent of our funky bee?)

The Daggers looking anything but sharp

The Daggers looking anything but sharp

4: Bradford City AFC. This is one team who haven’t been afraid to mix it up in the past. They’ve had some truly brilliant/bonkers takes on the claret and amber over the years. That said, this takes things to another level. You should wear a football shirt to, erm, play football in. Not to play chess, on.

Come for the football; stay for the draughts

Come for the football; stay for the draughts

3: Newcastle United: I feel sorry for Newcastle. Their black and white stripes are probably one of the most iconic designs in football. A style recognised the world over and, as such, to overly mix things up must be a tough job. They tried it last season with a broad black yoke and they’ve tried it again this year with the addition of blue (something that has very rarely featured). Everywhere.

From the morally dubious sponsor to the collar and cuffs, things begin to get a bit distracting. Then we have the black stripes themselves, which have had additional diagonal blue stripes added in to the lower half. Less mixing things up and more throwing things up.

White, black and blue - the traditional Newcastle colours

White, black and blue – the traditional Newcastle colours

2: Cambridge United I’ve gone for this but it was a tough call. I could just has easily have picked Crawley Town. Both clubs (like the high viz Huddersfield United ‘away’ have adopted one of Puma’s half and half templates.

This is the shirt equivalent of one of ‘those scarves’.

Presumably the template was added to their catalogue to make up the numbers yet, incredibly, these three clubs have all picked it. The right hand side sees the traditional club colour. The left sees that colour interwoven with black diagonal stripes of varying width between them.

Crawley have already announced they are sticking with this for two seasons – their model looks suitably embarrassed at this though.

As if relegation hadn't been bad enough

As if relegation hadn’t been bad enough

However, Cambridge scoop the prize – simply, because they’ve used a hashtag to justify it. Regular readers will know of my disgust for such things, and whilst it isn’t #novemberkings, we aren’t too far off in the crap marketing stakes.

Terrible kit - and a hashtag

Terrible kit – and a hashtag

1: Watford. I had nothing but congratulations for Watford and their supporters when they got promoted from the Championship last season. I have nothing but commiserations for Watford and their supporters about what the team will be wearing in the top flight.

Subtlety and tradition have gone out of the window. Instead of the yellow with black and, sometimes, red trim they’ve opted for hoops. Lots of hoops. Whilst these may be in black and yellow, there are so many that, and of such differing thickness, as to make Dagenham’s shirt suddenly seem discreet. And, like Cambridge before them, there’s a slogan (thankfully no hashtag, yet).

To make it worse though, Watford’s appears to be a bespoke effort. Somebody has actually chosen and designed this. Maybe it is meant as a ‘hornet’ style but, as a traditionalist, if you want comedy then that’s what the change kit is for. At least the U’s could hide behind a template.

Presumably the tickets at Vicarage Road will come with a warning that the strobe effect from watching Watford running around could cause seizure.

When crap marketing meets crap design, you get this

When bad marketing meets bad design, you get this

As a side note, I also promised some updates on the sponsorship front. Hull City AFC has recently announced a tie in with Flamingo Land. I’m really hoping they follow their stunning ‘tiger stripe’ efforts of the early 90s with a similar pun related, flamingo style away kit when that gets launched. And congratulations, by the way, as their proposed name change to Hull Tigers was, again, kicked into touch yesterday – this time at a meeting of the Football Association Council.

Hull City owner Doctor Assem Allam had always promised to throw his toys out of the pram (not literally, although who knows what he gets up it in his spare time) and walk away if he didn’t get his way. So will he be true to his word or will the lure of being a club owner remain too much and he’ll just hope everybody now forgets about his threat.

In a very brief statement on the official club site he told supporters, “We always knew that following a change to the FA’s policy, the chances of changing the name were slim but we also feel it is important to fight for what you believe in and we believe that being called Hull Tigers would be the best strategy for the future.

We will be taking some time away from the Club to consider our options and we will make no further comment until we have come to a conclusion.

Given his option had been categorically stated previously – give me what I want or I’m going – my money is on him sitting tight, possibly under the guise of ‘not being able to find a buyer’, and then hoping all this blows over. But hey, what do I know – I’m just the numpty on the terrace.

Could Flamingos borrow from Tigers - with or without Dr Allam ?

Could Flamingos borrow from Tigers – with or without Dr Allam ?

Getting back to shirt sponsorship, sad news reaches me that the iconic association between Rainham Steel and Scunthorpe United has finally come to an end. As comedian Dave Gorman once said (or words to eh effect of): you can tell a true football fan by saying two words: Rainham Steel. Then watch for the reaction – it’ll either be glazed confusion or the utterance of the name Scunthorpe United.

Whilst I can’t knock them for giving over their shirt to a charitable cause – the battle against Prostate Cancer – it still marks the end of an era as recognisable as Brentford and KLM or Arsenal and JVC.

And finally, just as Brentford have changed their sponsor to Matchbook.com, Bury have changed theirs too. Given everything that happened at Griffin Park last campaign, how wonderful if Matthew Benham had, somehow, been able to negotiate a deal with the Shakers’ new partner.

Just think of the reaction if we’d had this across the red and white stripes.

Football truly is a village

Football truly is a village

Nick Bruzon

Is this a sign of the impending apocalypse?

23 Jan

Whilst this column is, primarily, about Brentford (and there’ll be more about the Norwich City game over the weekend) we aren’t afraid to look at other ‘issues’ in the world of football. And with Aston Villa due to entertain our Championship rivals Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Sunday, they don’t come much bigger than what could play out at Villa Park.

The regular reader will know of my interest in football jinxes.

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 on.

The apocalypse approaches… possibly

The apocalypse approaches… possibly

A night of surprise (and horror) as an exciting weekend awaits

22 Jan

And just when the top of the Championship table couldn’t get any tighter, it did after Brighton and Hove Albion beat Ipswich Town 3-2 at the Amex last night. Brighton who, despite our victory, ran Brentford close on Saturday did the Bees a massive favour. It is one that means another win at the weekend, when we visit Norwich City, will take us to within a point of the second and third placed teams.

To be quite honest, I’d forgotten all about that game as a night of channel surfing in our house (briefly) saw the horror of Mrs. Brown’s Boys winning ‘Best Comedy’ at the National Television Awards before I was able to switch to the football.

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 on.

Bees dunk Brighton as the albatross becomes a canary

18 Jan

Three fortunate points or well deserved? That was the question after full time at the Amex where Brentford recorded another league win, this time against Brighton and Hove Albion. With the majority of the teams around us, including a shock for Norwich City (given their ‘guest of honour’ – more later), also triumphing it keeps things very much ’as you were’ at the top of the Championship table.

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 on.

The Albion mascots - I feel like I've cheated on Buzzette

The Albion mascots – I feel like I’ve cheated on Buzzette

View from the terrace (arm, padded seat) - And Toral must score...

View from the terrace (erm, padded seat) – And Toral must score…

Clem was looking over his shoulder at the drop zone before kick off at Carrow Road

Clem was looking over his shoulder at the drop zone before kick off at Carrow Road

No trains. No Clem. No Judge? Bring it on!

17 Jan

Brentford travel to Brighton and Hove Albion today for one of the most hotly anticipated games of the season. When the Championship fixtures were released last year, this was one of first dates many of us looked for. A day out at the seaside in the sunshine and a short hop down to the South Coast were the fringe benefits to look forward to from this trip. Not to mention a new stadium with Brighton’s impressive looking Amex.

Instead, as popular music’s Meatloaf almost sang, one out of three ain’t bad.

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 on.

Manish confirms Brentford's job has become that bit harder

Manish confirms Brentford’s job has become that bit harder

This is Saunders territory. And an apology to Doctor Who

16 Jan

I need to begin today’s column with an apology following yesterday’s piece on the contretemps between Daily Mirror chief sport’s writer Oliver Holt and one Brentford fanatic (something the Mirror man was very sporting about later). Specifically to West Bromwich Albion, Gerry Francis and fans of BBC sci-fi. The article included a picture of the newest addition to the Baggies’ coaching staff, comparing him to ‘late 60’s Doctor Who’.

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 on.