Tag Archives: Tiger

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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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