These days most managers in leagues surround themselves with loads of staff. They all have a role to play but perhaps the one that takes up the most time when making an appointment is the Kitman. But he only puts out the jerseys on matchday I hear you say. Wrong! He is a vital link in the chain around a team. When a manager sits down to pick a kit man it is usually someone that they have worked with before not because it is a “jobs for the boys” scenario, but it is because it is someone that he trusts and will cause him very little bother.
The Kitman becomes the eyes and ears for the manager in the dressing room, he becomes the go to man for the players who need more tickets, extra socks, chewing gum etc. etc. He will get to know the humours of the players who each have different ways of preparing for the match. He will know when to lighten the mood as well as when to say nothing in the dressing room. The last thing a manager needs is when he is putting a rocket under a player for the kit man to chip in with his words of wisdom.
The Kitman has to be on the ball on matchday, the last thing he needs is for a team member to be upset by something missing from their kit or the wrong sweets or no water or no ice for the ice bath or even worse no bath for the ice! Managers like to have the dressing rooms ready before the team arrive at the stadium ready for action. Every Kitman will have their check list of jobs once these jobs are done they will just blend into the background and nobody will notice them until the end of the game. The Kirtman’s union is a bit like the goalkeeper’s union every club kit man knows the others and clubs and managers are protective of them. I once rang a club looking for the kitmans phone number to receive a call back from the manager enquiring why I wanted to talk to his Kitman!
Europe is the holy grail for Kitman, a chance to be sitting at the table for the UEFA meeting and working on a different stage. Making sure that all the kit is at the ground on time and in place, their hotel room becomes a wardrobe with all the kit hanging up. I once had the experience of travelling around a European capital looking for Red insulation tape as the match delegate said the green on the sponsors logo was too big. The Kitman and his assistant put tape on the excess green logo and the sign of a good job was that nobody even knew that he had put tape on the shirts until we told them on the flight home.
On behalf of all football fans everywhere I want to say Thank You to the men and women who are the Kitman of their club.