Being The Melbourne City Kitman With Josh Bondin

We asked Josh Bondin the kitman of A-League side Melbourne City to share his stories and experiences of being a kitman across the other side of the World in Australia!

Who are you Kitman for and how long have you been in the position?

I am Kitman for Melbourne City Football Club playing in the Hyundai A-League in Australia and I’ve been in the position for 7 years but at the club for 9 years.”

Being The Melbourne City Kitman With Josh Bondin

How did you get your current role?

My first 2 years at the club I was working in the Community department and during my second year I filled in as Kitman for a month when the then Kitman went away for a wedding. At the end of the year when the position became available I was offered the role and have been doing it ever since!”

Have you had any previous experience?

Not as a Kitman.”

Is it a role you’ve always wanted to do?

To be honest no it wasn’t. I have qualifications in Sport Science and PE teaching but working within elite sport, especially football was something I always wanted to do.”

Being The Melbourne City Kitman With Josh Bondin

What are your responsibilities as a Kitman?

On a day to day basis it’s to make sure all training kit is placed and ready in the player’s and coaches lockers and deal with any issues that arise. I help out with training where needed and pack all equipment away at the end of the session. 

I’m responsible for setting up and packing down the change room on match days. 

I travel with the team so I’m in charge of making sure all kit including medical and sport science is packed and at the airport and make it to our destination. We fly to every away game except for Melbourne derbies. 

During the busy period of pre season I press all the training numbers and sponsors on all training and travel kit and also names and numbers on match kit. 

I also do all the kit and equipment ordering for the following season.”

Do you have a catchup with the opposing Kitman prior to or after kickoff?

“Yeah this is something I try to do before each match. We have a great bunch of guys around the league so it’s good to have a chat before the game. After the match it’s always too busy to talk to anyone really! We have a WhatsApp group chat with all the Kitmen in the league which throws around a bit of banter from time to time. It’s always good hearing that everyone goes through the same trials and tribulations.”

Have you had any certain players have special kit requirements? 

“There’s a few players that prefer certain grip socks and others prefer new socks for a match, others prefer old ones so it’s trying to remember who wants what. The odd one I have at the moment is one player wanting an extra left sock!”

Being The Melbourne City Kitman With Josh Bondin

Do you get any input on the clubs kit designs?

“Not as such. Our kit supplier Puma design the kit in consultation with our Club’s global group the City Football Group. I do provide my professional opinion on training kit and what works and doesn’t work for training and what the player’s preferences are.”

Do you own any football shirts, if so how many and what’s the most treasured shirt you own?

“Yes I do and I couldn’t tell you how many but my wife would definitely say way too many. My most treasured shirts would be a signed Paul Scholes shirt I got for my 30th birthday but work related would be the signed Damian Duff and David Villa shirts when they both played for Melbourne City.”

Do you get to keep shirts from your club or opponents?

Yeah definitely. I have a signed top from every year I’ve been at the club. Whenever we have an International friendly I always try and swap a jersey with the opposing Kitman and they’re hanging in the kit room at the club. 

I have a few from past players that are now playing at different A-League clubs. 

I like to collect shirts from any of our players that play international’s while at the club so I have a few Australia shirts along with a Malta and Northern Ireland shirt.”

What in your opinion is the best football kit of all time?

“This is a tough question but for me it’s one not many people will agree with. Manchester United’s 1992-94 Away Kit. The half Green and half Yellow kit. I remember having one as a kid and wearing it to football training!”

Being The Melbourne City Kitman With Josh Bondin

How was your playing career, who did you play for, what position etc.

“I’ve played football since I was 5 but never at a professional level. The club I last played for, Altona North Soccer Club, was my local team growing up as a kid. I finished playing as a Striker but have played every position on the field at least once, even GK when my brother got sent off during one match.”

Have you made any errors like, forgot the kit or bought the wrong kit?

“I’ve never forgot or taken the wrong kit, touch wood. Preparation is key.”

What happens to the kit at the end of the season?

“Match kit is always cleaned out by the players along with most of their training kit. Whatever is left I usually hand over to our Academy teams and also to our Community Department who donates it to a lot of community groups the club works with.”

Being The Melbourne City Kitman With Josh Bondin

What’s been your proudest moment as a Kitman? 

“It would have to be winning the FFA Cup which was the first and only senior men’s trophy the club has won. It made all the hard work worth it.”

What characteristics do you need to be a Kitman?

You definitely need to be very well organised, have a great attention to detail, strong work ethic and ability to work under pressure and short time frames.

What’s the funniest kit related story you can tell us that has happened to you or you have witnessed? 

“For some reason training socks are the piece of kit that you always run out of whether it be wear and tear or players and staff taking them. So one season I pressed numbers and initials on all the players and staff training socks. I noticed a pair of my socks were missing for over a week. One morning I was at the coffee machine and the gaffer, who was the ultimate sock thief, walks over without shoes one and as I look down he has one of my socks on and the other was one of the young scholars!”

Who does the laundry at home? 

“This is shared between my wife and I. We work well as a team on this! I definitely have my own way of folding the clothes though!”

Being The Melbourne City Kitman With Josh Bondin

Finally, why do you love being a Kitman? 

Football has been a massive part of my life for as long as I can remember so it really is a dream to work so closely with a professional team. The team environment and working towards getting that winning feeling can’t be beat. Plus it’s as close as being a professional footballer as I’ll get!”

Thanks so much for taking part Josh and sharing your stories and experiences with us.

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