Shropshire kitmen tell of their World Cup roles helping the Three Lions
Two Shropshire men have told of their dream jobs as the kitmen for the England squad after returning from their latest World Cup adventure.
Pat Frost and Neil Jones were the kitmen for the England youth set-up before getting the call to help with the senior team.
Neil Jones, 52, a father-of-two from Shrewsbury, said: “I covered all of the England youth groups up to the ages of 18.
“We both sort of progressed through the ages and the leagues. We must have been doing something right because we were given the opportunity to cover these World Cup games.
“Pat had a transport company that was involved with taking the kit around Europe for the youths, he was asked by Fifa if he wanted to take on the Russia World Cup role in 2018 and if he knew anyone who would want to get involved – he asked me and I said yes.”
Pat Frost, 57, a father of three from Telford, meanwhile had his first big break providing kit for West Bromwich Albion squad, giving up the role in 2013 to focus on the World Cup.
Mr Frost talked about the responsibilities of being a kitman, he said: “We have to make sure that everyone is wearing the right clothes every day, that they have the right sponsors and that it is all within regulations.
“We also make sure that all of the training equipment is on hand and that it is all in good order.
“We always dealt with a Fifa team manager for the games, who helped us with everything we needed, it was amazing.”
He added: “Qatar was a great experience. This wasn’t my first World Cup, but it was my favourite up to now.
“Everything was so close, when we did Russia it was a nearly two-hour flight to get to the stadiums, and then a two-hour flight back, where Qatar it was only a bus ride, this one was a lot easier.”
The two also got to meet England all-star David Beckham. Neil said: “It was an amazing experience. He just popped over, I have briefly met him before, that was a nice moment, Robbie Williams as well, and Chesney Hawkes, we are really lucky to be in an opportunity to meet these types of people.”
The kit organisers, both West Bromwich Albion fans, talked about the dream come true job and what it means to them, Neil said: “I pinch myself. It’s a dream come true. I’ve been a football fan all my life, from a little kid when I was watching it with my dad.
“Being involved in it is amazing. It is a very demanding job. The match doesn’t end at a whistle for us, it’s just constant.
“Some people think that it’s just easy, but there is a lot of stuff that goes on in the background.
“We both miss our families, that’s the worst part. I get very homesick, but we are both lucky that we have families that understand, I know my family is excited for me, but there is no place like home.”
Pat and Neil have now put their focus on March, where they will join the England squad again as they prepare the team’s kits for the up coming Euro 2024 Qualifier against Italy.