Tag Archives: Teabag

From the best shirt to the worst – with a video nod to Eric

6 Sep

Over the last 13 months since this column has been running, our reader may have realised I’m somewhat of a Brentford kit nerd. A quick search of this site with the word ‘kit’ will also show pieces on what we, our Championship rivals (and beyond) have worn. Likewise, some of the quirkier efforts through the ages. Hull City AFC and their tiger stripes, the Coventry City T, Spanish broccoli, beer and octopus designs being some of the best.

However, whilst reading a thread on GPG this morning in regards to Brentford shirt, it suddenly dawned on me. I’ve written about our best ever home and, equally, away shirt. There’s also been a piece published on what are, in my opinion, our worst ever away tops.

But I’ve never completed the story by talking about my least popular home effort. Until now.

By and large, our home kit has generally been pretty good over the years and so to compile a top ten or even top five would be, largely, a pointless exercise. That said, two do stand out for me and both are from recent years.

In second place is the 2012/13 effort. On the surface, I really liked this. Thick stripes, a decent shade of red and even a solitary touch of black on the shoulder was a nice touch. Then you turned it over.

Where were the stripes? Not only had they been removed ‘due to football league regulations’ (that, seemingly, Sheffield United were able to circumnavigate) but they’d been replaced by a teabag. Whilst the front of this was standard shirt material, the reverse was some sort of perforated ventex effort. It meant our female fans had their bra straps on display whilst it gave all of us the chance of gaining a polka dot sun tan.

As for the stick on ‘Skyex’ sponsor patch. It was the first appearance of this much maligned piece of low budget kit design – a trend that has continued into the Adidas regime and blighted their, otherwise, sterling efforts.

Fantastic front but that horrible, horrible back. No stripes; just teabags

2012/13 – Fantastic front but that horrible, horrible back. No stripes; just teabags

But that’s nothing, to me, on the previous season’s effort. 2011/12 is, in my opinion, the most awful of all the shirts we’ve ever had.

It’s not just that there are too many red stripes, relative to a classic Brentford shirt, yet not enough to bring it into the cult territory of the ‘funky bee’ 1989 centenary effort. Although that’s a poor start.

Then chuck in the black collars. They’re floppy!!? Think Eric Cantona, but after a few too many Kronebourgs.

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’. Nothing is more likely to put the wind up the opposition than a midfielder with a known eye for goal, making this final adjustment before striking a free kick.

Cantona shows how a collar, if it has to be incorporated into a football kit, should be treated.

 

So we have too many stripes and a pathetic collar but the ultimate crime is the red shoulder patches and double black trim. Adidas have their famous three stripes, so Puma decide to copy this but go one less. Why?

It’s an awful choice and this entire upper makes us look like hotel doormen. Perhaps some people like it but, personally, I won’t even have this one in my collection.

Talk about Puma seeing out their contract in style. Or lack of .

Marcel Eger models my worst ever Brentford shirt

2011/12 – Marcel Eger models my worst ever Brentford shirt

Is it time to give Adi,Das Boot up Der Backside?

17 Sep

It almost feels like heresy asking this question.

For years, the legendary 1980-81 Adidas top has been the ‘Holy Grail’ for Brentford fans and shirt collectors. A ‘one season only’ deal with the German giants, you’ve more chance of Keith Stroud keeping the red card in his pocket (latest beneficiary – Shane Lowry, Millwall v Derby, Sept 15th) than finding one of these. As stylish as a night out with Sam Saunders, Shaleum Logan and Allan Cockram ‘dressed to kill’ (not literally, that would be murder) the optimistic request to see if anybody has a spare is a regular visitor to the GPG. Indeed, you can see where it ranks in my all time top ten home shirts (not that I have one) further along.

As such, when the rumours and leaked photographs were confirmed, and the announcement was made that Adidas were returning as our technical sponsor, the excitement was palpable. Moreso given the previous campaign’s lack of stripes on Puma’s ‘tea bag/string vest’ effect back.

ImageInitial reaction was positive. A bold yet simple design whilst an unperforated back meant there was no way you’d leave a sunny game looking as though you’d fallen asleep on a bed of nails. There were still no stripes on the reverse (league regulations – to which Sheffield United were immune – apparently) but, at least, a vivid red akin to the British Lions rugby team.

Dare I say it; I actually find this a good look (although I also have a penchant for the white yoke of the Osca ’83). A touch of black, perhaps on the famous stripes, would have been the cherry on the sartorial cake but that aside, a very well received shirt.

So far, so good. Until you tried to get hold of one. Initial supplies were delayed, despite advance order, to the point where even the players had to go on the pre-season tour of, ironically, Germany in generic training wear and last season’s strip.

Whilst our female supporters have been spared the indignity of having their bra straps on show this time round, they’ll have to do it in a man’s shirt (or, ‘home’ as it is branded). The world’s most famous sport’s manufacturer doesn’t do a female fit shirt, although to be fair this also seems to be an issue for the clubs they supply in the Premiership. Look at Southampton or Fulham’s websites, for example, and you see the same ‘home’ shirt.  Indeed, you have to go up as high as Chelsea before finding an English team for whom they produce a female specific fit. Welcome to the 21st century!

Then there were the issues with the sponsor on the away kit before, finally, new supplies were received yesterday (Monday).

Except if you are an adult ‘XL’. You’ll have to wait until Christmas if you’d like one of those but, hey, at least it’s not a common size.

Now I don’t hold the club particularly responsible for this. They have been at pains to make out how they have been let down. That said, it seems a farcical situation. Do Adidas want to have their cake and eat it- a massive branded shop, a contract with an upcoming club but then no supply? Have the club sold their soul for the thirty pieces of silver that is the panache of an Adidas deal, and now have to suffer the consequences of a supplier who doesn’t appear to give a monkey? Have the Germans even made a statement of apology to the club and fans?

It’s a massive shame as it is a great kit and, with stripes on the back already confirmed for next season, there is still hope for a ‘best ever’ Brentford shirt. Assuming we’ll have them in the club shop.

I just hope somebody in Brentford’s marketing team is able to renegotiate the deal in our favour because, as an outsider looking in, we seem to be over the proverbial barrel. After the Puma sizing debacle you’d think we’d learn. Fingers crossed, then, that someone is given an almighty boot in the Adidas branded ball bag and pulls their finger out. Its time we earned our stripes.

The top ten Brentford home shirts.

Much to Mrs. Bruzon’s despair, my side of the wardrobe is taken up with Brentford shirts I’ve collected over the years. Various tops have become ‘the lucky one’ before some previously unforeseen twist of fate (usually Stroud related) has necessitated a new ‘lucky one’. Over the summer, I was talking to Mark Chapman about the feature the club have now started on old shirts in the match day programme and it got me thinking. I’ve already published my top ten league horrors from this season but what are my top ten Brentford classics? Well, with a bit of help from the good people at the ‘historical kits’ website (which is well worth a mooch around), here they are….

Image10:  2004-05 Our Sponsor is St George. Why not add a horizontal red bar to fashion a St. George cross? As marketing ideas go, it’s so ridiculous it’s genius.

 

 

 

 

 

Image9 : 1998-2000 Memories of Hermann, Ron Noades (there were a couple of good ones), Lloyd Owusu and that last game ‘winner takes all’ title decider at Cambridge United. We won.

 

 

 

 

 

Image8: 1992 -94 Farewell Osca. Goodbye Chad. Welcome Hummel. Finally, a brand you’d heard of outside West London.  The great Danes supplying a shirt that had the honour of seeing Brentford’s brief foray into the second tier of League football.

 

 

 

 

 

Image7: 1904-05 Its not red and white but was worn in our first ever season at Griffin Park. Bonus points awarded by the humungous error that saw the ‘Toffs’ retro shirt company try to reproduce this from a colourised b&w photo – oops.

 

 

 

 

 

Image6: 2000-02 Play off pain but Paul Gibbs; BBB; Paul Evans. We had fun getting there and looked good to boot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image5: 1976-77 Central badge; no sponsor. Awesome stuff. We should try it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image4: 1988-89 Pin stripes & a funky bee. They shouldn’t work. They didn’t. But, actually, time is a great healer and the memory od seeing Gary Blissett & co embark on THAT cup run probably helps this sit higher up than it has any right to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

Image3 1980-81 This is it. The Adidas effort. Everybody wants it .I love it. Could we be going down this route next year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image2: 1983-84 This. Is. Brilliant. The Marmite of Brentford shirts. To some, an abhoration. To others (well, me) it’s brilliant. Given the choice, I’d take this over the Adidas every time. What WERE they thinking?

 

 

 

 

 

Image1 1990-92 KLM sponsored. Chad manufactured. Title winning. Simple but stunning and the most evocative of memories. My all time favourite, hands down