“It feels, in some ways, a bit wrong because the Club is going through such an exciting period, but to go out while we’re on top is also a great feeling.”
Trish Taylor recently departed the Club in October having gained friends for life as well as many fantastic experiences as part of Brentford B.
A key member of staff since the model’s foundation, Trish has not simply been a part of the Kit Department at Jersey Road, but she’s also been a wonderful support mechanism for players as well as staff.
As we sit down to reflect on her time at the Club, there is no doubt that Trish has come through some tough battles in recent years which included a cancer diagnosis as well as a long period of self-isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic- and yet her smile and positivity has never once failed to brighten the room and enthuse others.
“I joined the B Team for the 2016/17 season when the model had just started. There was a sense of something special happening and very early on the side started to beat very high-profile teams and we were travelling all over Europe.
“One of the things that I’m most proud of is that I became a female Kit Manager with all the responsibilities that come with that and that is thanks to Rob Rowan. For me personally, it showed that the Club was aware of diversity and inclusion. I’ve made lifelong friends and built some strong relationships with lots of people. It’s a place of work where people get on and it’s about shared values. I find that whether I’m at 27 Great West Road, Jersey Road, the Club Shop or the Community Sports Trust.”
Rob Rowan, the Club’s former Technical Director, who we sadly lost in November 2018 had a critical role in bringing some top talent through the doors at the Club. In that he also acted to add Trish to the B Team setup, and she is keen to pay tribute to him and the influence he had.
She explained: “When I was interviewed by him, though it was a tough interview, I could tell that he had a great sense of humour and at the time I thought that I would really like to work for this man. When I got my diagnosis, he was one of the first people that I called because I knew that he’d have to find someone to come in and do my job whilst I was away. He wanted to come and see me with his wife, Suzanne, whilst I was having my treatment and he would ask me for advice on things like where to move to.
“I remember being in Budapest for a B Team tour and I hadn’t made it down to lunch because I was busy working, but he went out of his way to knock on the door and bring me a plate full of food. It’s great that James Purdue (Head of B Team Athletic Performance), Neil Greig (Head of Medical) have run marathons in order to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young and it’s been brought to everyone’s attentions as to how common this sort of thing can be. Research has to happen because we’re losing young, talented, people who have their whole lives ahead of them and that is very sad.”
Rob’s presence was always positive, and there’s a certain story which will always stick with Trish as she was called into action late one evening…
With a face of delight, she recalled: “I remember I had a call from Rob late on a Saturday night and I was sworn to secrecy. He needed me to print a shirt for first thing on Sunday morning because he was meeting a player who he believed could end up being a real game changer.
“That player was Saïd Benrahma and we know how that played out! I just managed to get it done in time and Rob pulled up in his car, grabbed it through the window, and set off.”
Whilst away from the Club on a day-to-day basis going through treatment, Trish’s husband and huge Brentford fan, Simon, stepped into the role in her absence which was able to afford her a close connection to the Club whilst unable to work.
“I knew he would become part of the team very quickly,” said Trish. “Although it was tough, it was great to see him go out and work for a Club that he has loved and supported all of his life. We’re two years down the line and people still ask after him all the time. I knew Simon would carry on as I had, and I knew everything would be looked after. I was off for a year, I had staff from Umbro come to the house so we could put the B Team order in for the next season and all the kit was all over my living room floor!”
Trish's husband, Simon, with First Team Head Coach Thomas Frank at a Jersey Road Christmas celebration
Never just someone who organises equipment and washes the kits, Trish has also been an important staff member in terms of offering support to the young players, many of whom are a long way from home.
“The players are smart, funny, and great company,” smiled Trish. “Since I started, I’ve been very fond of all of the lads that come in, and I think that’s to do with the recruitment and our shared values. We don’t seem to get difficult players come here, they’re just great. Although I felt I brought a maternal element to my role, they’ve looked after me too. When we get off a coach and we’ve got personal luggage, training kit, match kit, physio kit and media equipment, everyone gets off and nobody just grabs their own stuff. We’re all one team and we’ll help each other out.
“I just want to know they’re okay and them to know that I’m there for them, whether that’s a little message on their birthday or just a sit down and a bit of a catch up. I wouldn’t like to lose contact with anyone; they’ve become like family. Every day I knew I was walking into a safe, fun place and that I was going to have a great day at work. To have been a part of this Club whilst it has made the steps forward has been really exciting and makes me so proud.”
Her value is recognised throughout the Club and particularly in the B Team. Brentford B Head Coach Neil MacFarlane is sad to see her depart after wonderful service. He said:
“Trish has been outstanding for myself, personally, and for the Club as a whole. Since the moment I came in she’s been brilliant for the young players- a mother for the group with a phenomenal work ethic. She’s fundamentally a really good person and someone who will be sorely missed.”
The fixture programme is often one of the most eye-catching parts of Brentford B. The role has offered Trish the chance to head out to the likes of Hungary, Germany and Cyprus to name a few. Those experiences are definitely ones that will stick with her.
She continued: “For all the fun, it can be tough with all the travelling as the demands are high. You prepare and pack for 27 people to go and play three games abroad, and that’s everything from the training kit, match kit, evening wear and all the equipment too. You can’t make any mistakes but once you’re there and settled it is great fun.
“The Club always appreciates that the week is going to be tough so we will get some time where we’ll go out as a team and have some lunch and do some sightseeing. We have enormous fun and for one day people can relax and enjoy themselves and we can get to know each other better.”
Trish has been a fundamental part of Brentford B since its inception, and whilst working here she’s also been able to help develop newer members of staff. She shares a close relationship with current B Team Kit Manager, Jordan Marley.
When you ask Trish to describe Jordan and their relationship, she pauses for a moment in the hope of finding words to do him justice.
“Jordan has been nothing short of incredible from day one. He has a wonderful attitude towards work, and he is just a joy to be around. Even now at 21, I know people who are amazed at his maturity and ability to cram so much into his day to make sure that everything is right for the staff and the players.
Trish and Jordan Marley as the Club bid her a fond farewell and wish her the best for the future
“That’s not just here, when the women’s team ask him to print some shirts, he may have 101 things to do that day, but he’ll make sure that’s the 102nd thing before he leaves. He has embraced our values fantastically and he embodies every single one of them. I was so thrilled for him to become a Kit Manager at his age, and a very competent one at that. I have to credit the support of my line manager too, Lorna Falconer. Having gone through chemotherapy I had to shield through the pandemic, but she kept in regular contact with me which made me feel really included, connected and supported as I took on roles to help support other departments from home.”
Trish will now begin a new journey, retired, with her eyes on the Spanish sun. She intends to spend more time enjoying life as much as possible in the warmer climate but there’s no doubt that she’ll be in the stand cheering on the boys with Simon as much as possible at Brentford Community Stadium.
She said: “The fans may have been nervous about the new stadium and moving on from Griffin Park, but I think the Club has got it spot on. The noise and the atmosphere have made it the perfect evolution to where the Club needs to be. We have an anthem in ‘Hey Jude’ and I’m sure the players stand there in the tunnel with the hairs standing up on their arms.”