Brentford’s decision to reuse same kit next season triggers mixed fan reaction

A Brentford season ticket holder admitted he has mixed feelings about the Bees’ decision not to design and produce a new home kit next season.

The Brentford board put fans over finances on Thursday when they announced they would not be changing their home strip for the 2022/23 campaign.

Since 2010/11, Premier League outfits have produced a fresh kit every season, but Brentford have opted to buck the trend in a bid to save fans money and improve sustainability.  

Initially, Brentford fan Jatin Guntupalli, 21, was disappointed with the decision – even though he was very grateful for the overall gesture.

He said: “I was quite disappointed because every season, when you hear rumours about the new kit, you get quite excited and want to see the new designs the club have come up with.

“It’s a bold move from the club because they’re risking losing money – after the pandemic, football clubs have struggled financially.

“But shirts are expensive and buying a kit every season is difficult for fans.

“Overall, I think it’s a great move from the club and it’s nice to know they still have us in their mind.”

It’s true the decision could handcuff Brentford financially next season if income from shirt sales declines significantly.

As the Bees continue to establish themselves as a regular top flight club, the squad may require ongoing investment in future transfer windows, as is often the case with newly-promoted teams during their second season.

However, Guntupalli trusts the board in their decision and believes fans will continue to buy club merchandise, despite the lack of a new kit next season.

He said: “Supposing I was in the boardroom at Brentford, I would like to think they have anticipated that, if fans aren’t spending money on the home shirt, they’d probably spend it elsewhere in the club.

“If you don’t have to spend £50 or so on the home kit, you’d probably spend it elsewhere in the shop, or upgrade your ticket to hospitality or something like that.

“Obviously, there will be some loss of revenue, but I don’t think the club would knowingly jeopardise their transfer budget. It’s a worthy risk because, if it works, both the fans and the club are happy.  

“Most importantly, this shows the fans they care.”

In the last six months, football’s wider politics has experienced a fair share of controversy, with money often at the heart of the stories, including the proposed European Super League and the controversial takeover of Newcastle.

According to chief executive Jon Varney, who is perhaps trying to break this stigma, Brentford made the two-year kit deal to endorse the football club’s core principles and repay the fervent support of the fanbase.

Varney told the Brentford club website: “Respectful, Progressive and Togetherness are our three core values at Brentford FC, as many of our fans know.

“We also believe in football being affordable for our fans and are aware of the need for the game to become more focused on sustainability.

“As such, when we discussed the idea, everyone at the club was fully behind it.”

Guntupalli is pleased about Brentford’s plan to become more sustainable but feels Premier League clubs could do more in general.

He said: “We still have a big part to play as when it comes to climate, everyone needs to do their bit, including fans and football clubs.

“Reusable cups, online programmes – there are steps being taken but I think we need to do more.

“For example, clubs are attracting thousands of fans to stadiums every week, which creates more traffic, so we all need to make sure we’re being more sustainable.”

The Bees enjoyed a fruitful start to their inaugural Premier League season but have dropped to 14th in the table after seven games without a win.

In the last five Premier League games, the Bees sit joint bottom of the form table with Everton, who travel to the Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday.

Brentford will hope the two-year kit decision pumps positivity through the home crowd, as they look to gain the edge in this weekend’s mid-table clash.

Featured image credit: AndyScott via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0 license

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