As part of a new feature The Kitman will interview various kit men from all levels of football to find out their responsibilities, get inside information and hopefully hear some great stories!
Today we interviewed Tom Graham the kitman at Carlisle City FC who currently play in the North West Counties League Division One.
We asked Tom a number of questions and he gave us a great insight into what it’s like being a kit man at a non league football club.
How did you get your current role?
“The club was looking for a kitman and I was leaving I was at so I joined City.”
What previous experience did you have?
“I had 10 years with Gretna FC in the EOSFL and SLFL.”
Is it a role you’ve always wanted to do?
“I volunteered initially to help the club out and hey presto!”
What are your responsibilities as Carlisle City kit man?
“At home getting the kit ready for the players arriving, checking match ball pressure and washing the match balls too and generally tidying up after the game…… and away making sure that everything we need for a game is available and travels with us as well as leaving the dressing room tidy after the game.”
Do you have a beer/catchup with the opposition kitman?
“Not normally but do socialise after games in general.”
Do you have certain players request certain kit requirements?
“You get to know who needs XL gear etc although most players wear large. I have a few players who like to cut the feet off the socks so I’m not happy with that but do accommodate them.”
Do you get any input into the clubs kit designs?
“Not normally as the colours generally stay the same and the sponsors have their input on the design.”
Do you own any football shirts and if so what’s the most treasured football shirt that you own?
“No but my wardrobe is full of old tracksuits and jackets etc.”
In your opinion what is the best football kit of all time?
“There are so many out there that it is impossible to pick one”
How was your playing career, who did you play for and in what position?
“I didn’t play professional football but when I was a young lad I played in the Boys Brigade. I have been watching football since I was about five (with my dad) and throughout my life…. love the game.”
Have you ever made any errors as a kit man?
“Worst bloomer was with Gretna and just after bus had left the ground for an away game the discussion cane round to what colours we were playing in and I had packed the wrong kit so fortunately we were not far from the ground and the bus returned there and I had to go swap the kit.”
What’s been your proudest moment as a kit man?
“Being with the team when they gained promotion.”
What characteristics do you need to be a kit man?
“Certainly at the level I work at you need to be a father figure and a good listener as some of the players will talk to you rather than to the Manager or any other official……. also learn to “button your lip” when in the dressing room or the dugout….. not an easy thing to do!”
Who does the laundry at home? ?
Finally, what’s the best thing about being a kitman?
“I love being part of and on the “inside” of a team set up and this is important to me it keeps me active and the young players show respect and keep me “young”. Also being a “confidante” to all and sundry as well as the team cmaeradarie.”
Thanks to Tom for the interview, it gives you an insight into what’s it’s like to be a kitman at a non league football club.