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The 80’s Stripes: The good, the bad and the unusual

Take a look at our best, worst and unusual retro kits ahead of our back to the 80’s home fixture this Saturday against Bolton

8 January 2018

The 1980s. When hair was big, shorts were short and shirts were made by companies that nobody had ever heard of. Osca or Hobot, anyone? With Saturday’s game marking a return to the decade that saw the likes of Chris Kamara, Terry Hurlock, Francis Joseph, Robbie Cooke, Gary Blissett and Terry Evans strutting their stuff for the Bees, what better opportunity than to revisit some of our shirts of the day? In a one off return of Kit Obsessive (80’s edition) we look at the best and worst shirts to come out of TW8. As ever, these are picked using nothing more scientific than personal preference. One fan’s Funky Bee could be another’s Castle badge.

BEST HOME: Brentford’s kit manufacturer’s may not have included many household names but our designs in this decade included some of the most iconic to ever grace the red and white. The Hobot pin stripes. The half and half of 83/84. The classic 84-86 design, worn at Wembley in the FRT final and aped in 90-92 aswell as on this season’s shirt. Yet, for me, we have to go all the way back to the start for our best ever -  the legendary 1980-81 Adidas top.

A one season only deal with the German giants, it is the ‘Holy Grail’ for Brentford fans and shirt collectors alike. As stylish and cool as a night out with Sergi Canos, this sponsor free effort has nothing but the Adidas trefoil and the wonderful ‘Castle’ badge to break up the red and white. Oh, and the classic ‘three stripes’ down the arms. 

BEST AWAY: The DHL sponsored 82/83 change strips have to come close – take your pick from the all white or dark blue with red trim. Yet for me, our ‘traditional’ Brentford away colours are two tone blue. The Spall producedv1987/88 away kit had it all – contrasting stripes in shiny and smooth with matching collar and cuffs. Iconic sponsor KLM, a staple for most of the decade, took pride of place across the chest whilst that wonderful Castle was there again   

WORST: It pains me to say this. Genuinely. Moreso given I’ve a real soft spot for this one. Yet if the 80s began with all the cool of Terry Hurlock’s ‘pirate chic’ they ended with what was, for many, sartorial hell.

1988/89 saw us in a Hobot produced pinstripe kit which, rather than red and white, looked pink when viewed from a distance of anything over five yards away. To compound the felony, the following season’s effort saw the castle badge replaced by a one shot deal with the centenary badge ‘Funky Bee’. Hobot produced it but wouldn’t even put their name to the 89/90 shirt.

UNUSUAL DESIGN: Forget the decade.This is probably the all-time ‘marmite’ of Brentford shirts.  To some, the Osca designed 1983/84 home shirt is a true horror. To others, it is so bonkers it’s brilliant. Worn for the first half of the season tucked into white shorts, for reasons unknown we decided to ditch the stripes in the middle and leave the top half of the shirt all white. This shouldn’t work yet, incredibly, it does -  especially in the long sleeved format.

If anything, the lack of stripes give true prominence to that wonderful Castle. May she rest in peace.

We would also like you to join in and wear your 80’s Bees kit on the day – take a look at our 80’s KLM Retro Shirt available from the club shop.

Don’t miss out on the action this weekend, you can buy your Match Ticket from Adults £23, Seniors £17, Young Persons £15 and Juniors only £6 to watch us against Bolton Wanderers.


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