There’s a popular psychology experiment called the marshmallow test. Children are shown a single marshmallow and told they can have it or they will get two if they wait a short amount of time. It’s to illustrate how some can handle the concept of deferred gratification, waiting for something nice, better than others who need more immediate gratification. To this kit nerd (other kit nerds are available and out there) the wait for the new Brentford kits has felt like an elongated marshmallow test.
While other takes on red & white stripes have hit the public domain with Sunderland, Stoke, Southampton and Sheffield United all releasing varying levels of weirdness, Bob the Kitman and Mark the MD have been saying that when would we get to see the Bees’ kits the wait will have been worth it. The two teaser images issued last Thursday certainly suggested they were being true to their word. Those Blades fans already feeling rather sick at the black shoulder pads their strip seems to feature, must be feeling like the kids who ate the single marshmallow before seeing whole bags being lined up for those of us who have managed to wait.
I’ve written previously on this site about how my brain has tried to cope with the wait for the new strips, particularly the strange fascination I’ve had with adidas ever since they made our kit for a solitary season in the early 1980s. See http://beesotted.co.uk/?p=11083 to try and understand my hurt at expecting to see a second adidas kit at the 81/82 photo-call only to be met with what I then considered to be a monstrosity from OSCA (who are they? Exactly).
My pain in July 1981 was because I’d already been visualising my expected new masterpiece from the brand with the three stripes. Surely we could add some subtle black touches to the shirt while keeping the red stripes on a white base? No, it would be thirty years of hurt, slapped by the likes of TFG, SuperLeague & Spall and viciously beaten by those Lonsdale debacles before the announcement that adidas would again be supplying the kit. The first three have been rather nice, but still didn’t truly gratify me however deferred their appearances were from that photo-call.
Indeed this time last year, in http://beesotted.co.uk/?p=16148, I was saying, “I’d like to see the black adidas stripes on the shoulders be on a white, rather than red background.” Bob, Mr Ganodecafe, Oteng, I doubt this had any bearing on the new shirts but thank you, thank you for sorting this minor detail out. I hope you agree it looks so much better.
The last few weeks has taught me my own opinion doesn’t always match that of the majority. There may be some who feel the shirt is too white and not red enough. I can see why people would say that but I disagree. It IS that shirt I wanted to see when I sneaked into the photo-call as a primary school child. Two understated red stripes on the white base with a round white neck. Little red and black trimmings making it truly bespoke for the Bees. #Beespoke if you like. It is most like the kits worn by the likes of Gelson & Higginson in the mid-late 1960s but with less stipes then the mid 1990s Core strip I can still see Denny Mundee twisting and turning in.
For me, provided we don’t unthinkably get relegated, it won’t even be out of date this time last year as it will still be ‘that classic 2016/17 shirt’. I’m pretty certain you’ll see a few fans wearing it in the Lionel Road seats for many seasons ahead. I hope the players do genuinely like it and it inspires them on to the greatness it deserves.
My fear on reading the recent update on 888Sport becoming our sponsor was that the deal may have been so late we may have been lumbered with the kind of patch that Sky-Ex and Hertings used to be plastered on. Thankfully this was not the case and I actually think the shirt looks better with the sponsor than the kiddies’ version without.
So, if this kit is near perfection, what next? We have to mix it up a little bit each year so I fancy 2017/18 may need to see us return to red prominence. I would even go as far as saying we should look towards the template PSV used in the early 1990s. The white stripes being thinner than the red with some plain white collars flapping either side of a plain red v-neck. That designed worked so well, the Phillips sponsor actually looked rather decent on the kind of white patch I was just bemoaning.
It was great to read Kitman Bob’s interview on the kit choosing process. The team will only have worn the new strip only three or four times when he will be sitting down with adidas, discussing the 17/18 kit. Bob, if you want someone to come along and make some of your amazing coffee that day, then I’ll clear my diary.
So, kit wise, today has been a day that’s been worth waiting for. I do feel a great deal of deterred gratification. Those marsh mallows taste all the better after the wait. However, as we as a club strive for perfection there are some aspects of the release I think could be improved.
Firstly, I still don’t feel like we’ve had a full reveal. I can make an educated guess on what the back (similar stripes to the front) and sides look like but it would have been nice to have had a 360 degree sighting. The SnapChat video that also appeared on Twitter could have captured more.
Also, not quite as bad as last season, but the image of the shirt on the actual store site looks different to the one modelled so well by the likes of Yennaris, Bjelland and Bruzon. The shade of red isn’t quite as sexy. I hope this was just a lighting issue.
Indeed, the use of fans like Nick Bruzon to model the shirt for the launch was a great touch. I particularly like the image of the boy in front of the Green Dragon high-rise modelling the away kit, which I have to add is also rather nice. Those flats did make me wonder though if we could have used Brentford’s finest garage crew, Kurupt FM in the launch. The stars of the BBC mockumentary have raised the town’s profile and DJ Beats has been rocking a 15/16 tracky top at some of this summer’s music festivals. Even the little girl in the show, Angel, has shown off some BFC merchandise.
Lastly, I struggled not to groan at the official site comparing it to the 1980/81 kit which meant so much to myself and others. Take a look at both kits if you can. They’re quite different to be honest. Middle stripes are white now and red back then for example.
Those idyllic black stripes on the 16/17 arms were clearly red back in the day too. I also hope that the current side have been set far higher targets than “emulating” the likes of Gary Roberts and Terry Hurlock. Although I love those fellas for sentiment, coming ninth in the third tier and being knocked out in Rounds 1 and 2 of the FA and League Cups respectively isn’t what we’re about these days.
These are just minor points thought. If I had to mark the kit and the launch out of a thousand you’d probably be looking around the 888 mark. Maybe tomorrow, when we get to see the team actually compete in the kit, full back and sides, I might raise that to the 900s. We’ve had to wait long enough that I’m happy to delay complete gratification that little bit longer.