what it feels like to be inside a football club
The existing staff, especially those who embody the culture and values of the club, are crucial. The Chapmans became Manchester City’s kitman in 1997 and were there during the days when they sank into the third tier of English football. He was also still there as City scooped multiple Premier League titles almost two decades later.
“If we hired a player during the week and he played on the weekends, you had to get his measurements, know his preferences and have the whole kit ready,” he says. “I think we signed seven players in three weeks at one point under Sven [Goran Eriksson]. The more new players there are, the more work there is. I liked it.
“And suddenly you had this great diversity of cultures and origins. If we were to sign a guy from Spain, I would ask the Spanish guys for a bad word or two in Spanish.
“Bigger players started to come in and they all had their own particularities. It wasn’t just a t-shirt, briefs, shorts, socks and sweatshirts anymore. You had tights, compression shirts, snoods, gloves, rain jackets.
“I used to cut a piece of foam out of medical equipment that Mario Balotelli would use as shin guards. He just put anything in his socks. Peter Schmeichel had a new kit for the warm-up, a new kit for the first half and a new kit for the second half.
“By the time I left City in 2015, we had 17 staff changing on match day only: athletic therapists, scientists, masseurs, doctors, a full-time coach. I also made all the staff kits. I did it myself for eight years. I think there are four kitmen now. He needs it.
Newcastle can also expect huge changes in the way they are viewed on the outside. Micah Richards says opposition players would constantly tell his City teammates that they would be in league three without their “oil money”. There will be a large queue of budding players, agents and executives forming outside St James’ Park with pound signs in their eyes.