Today’s interview is with Les Dewhirst who is the kit man for Football League Two side Morecambe FC.
Les first started out as a volunteer earning £50 a week but when the club gained promotion into the football league he got paid for three days a week. Such is his love for the job Les still helps out everyday whilst working another three day part time job. Les is one of only three part time kitmen in the football league.
Read Les’s kitman story below.
1. Who are you Kitman for and how long have you been in the position?
“Morecambe Football Club 1995-96.”
2. How did you get your current role?
“I used to be part of the supporters club organising coaches, fund raising, all the usual stuff and the guy that left thought of me thinking I would be ideal for the job and I’ve never looked back.”
3. Have you had any previous experience? (if so who for)
4. Is it a role you’ve always wanted to do?
“Not until I was offered it, I’d never thought about it.”
5. What are your responsibilities as a Kitman?
“Prepare and launder the match day kit and equipment, prepare and launder the training kit and equipment, (Daily!) drive and maintain the kit van, organise food for after away games, clean changing rooms, kit room and boot room, give tours around the ground, liaise with the manager about travel times and pick up points and all printing on players shirts and staff kits.”
6. Do you have a catchup with the opposing Kitman prior to or after kickoff?
“I always try to say hello and make them welcome. I’m made a good number of kit man friends.”
7. Have you had any certain players have special kit requirements?
“There are always 3 or 4 players in the squad who need a little extra attention.”
8. Do you get any input on the clubs kit designs?
“Only once I have when we needed a third kit one season, usually it’s the directors.”
9. Do you own any football shirts, if so how many and what’s the most treasured shirt you own?
“I have had many shirts from many different clubs but I don’t tend to hang on to them. I get many people asking if I can get them a shirt from opposing teams and don’t often get refused.”
“I do have two that I treasure, one is a blood shirt from when we won the 2007 Playoff Final, the other is we had a player called Joe Lewis who lived at my house whilst on loan for 5 months and he was involved with England when he left us and he gave me his England shirt.”
10. Do you get to keep shirts from your club or opponents?
“I could and have but generally I don’t.”
11. What in your opinion is the best football kit of all time?
“I really don’t bother about the best football shirts, it’s a football shirt and that’s it.”
12. How was your playing career, who did you play for, what position etc.
“Never played professionally only local but I did play three games for Morecambe A third team as a goalkeeper.
13. Have you made any errors like, forgot the kit or bought the wrong kit?
“Three mistakes that come to mind, I forgot the towels for an away game so borrowed some from a hotel where we had a pre match meal and then returned them all clean a few weeks later.”
“Another I printed a players shirt that had come on loan the day before an away game, but instead of packing it I hung it back up on the rail! He ended up having to wear a much larger plain shirt!”
“The worst one was most recently when I forgot three players shirts and made frantic phone calls and ended up with three supporters shirts getting them badged and printed in the opposing teams club shop half hour before kick off! The shirts weren’t the correct sizes but we got through it.”
14. What’s been your proudest moment as a Kitman?
“I’m proud everyday but having three different clubs phone me to offer me a job makes me proud.”
15. What characteristics do you need to be a Kitman?
“You must be strong minded especially as football players love to take the piss at your expense! Above all I think you must be yourself.”
16. What’s the funniest kit related story you can tell us that has happened to you or you have witnessed?
“I really need to think about this one, there’s a few but it’s being able to put it down into words without getting anyone into trouble!”
17. Who does the laundry at home? ?
18. Finally, why do you love being a Kitman?
“The knowing I am doing my bit for my club and seeing my team win, knowing I have been part of that and also knowing you are loved by the players and the management.
We love Les’s kitman story! A hardworking man who dedicates as much time as he can to his club! Thanks for taking the time to answer questions with us Les and keep up the good work!