We continue our look at Albion’s team behind the team with a Q&A with first team kitman Alex Burrows.
How did you first begin working in football?
“I worked in a charity football academy in Ghana for just over two and a half years. We helped with everything from schoolwork to football, before some of them went on to Europe or full scholarships in America.
“It was an amazing experience to be able to see people start their journeys in football and some have progressed to professional contracts. We met their families and saw how they learned both on and off the field.
“Their enthusiasm for football and life was unbelievable. We stayed in contact with the kids and keep an eye on their progress. It was really worthwhile.”
What about Brighton? What brought you to the club?
“When I came back to England, I got a job as a training ground assistant, before becoming the kitman for the under-23s. I then took my current job with the first team just three days before the first game of the season at Watford.
“It worked out quite well because I didn’t have too much time to think about it. Luckily everything went well, and the lads had a really good win.
“It was my birthday meal that evening but I didn’t get to that. When the music was playing on my phone in the dressing room I got a call from the restaurant, the lads enjoyed that!”
What does a usual weekday look like for you and your staff?
“I get to the training ground around 7am depending on the day ahead. The team is made up of myself and Paul Robertson, Harry Wood, Dominic Phillips, and Alex Hambly – we are a close group, and all help one another out when we need to.
“We normally put the training kit out the night before, but we might put some extras out for the lads if they want them. We make sure the footballs are all pumped up and then wait for them to start filtering in.”
Which of the players are in the kit room the most?
“Lewis Dunk and Solly March usually come in for a chat before training, and then Aaron Connolly and Steven Alzate pop in during the afternoon after they’ve finished. That’s nice because I’ve worked with them through the age groups at the club.
“Alireza Jahanbakhsh probably has the most pairs of boots, and Dale Stephens quite likes trying different styles and cuts of boots.
“The lads always pop in and ask for bits and pieces too, they’re a great group. I have to say that Yves Bissouma is one of the funniest people I’ve met. He’ll be in the office just chatting to someone in French on Facetime, then he’ll switch to me and back again – he’s a great laugh!”
What about your matchday routine?
“Everyone’s favourite day is a matchday – a lot of work goes into those by every department at the club, and we’re no different.
“A typical 3pm Saturday game will see us start preparing on a Wednesday. The week before I’ll decide what colour we want to wear and look for any clashes.
“For example, at Aston Villa back in October I spoke to Lewis [Dunk] because their socks are a light blue – so we thought it might be better for us to wear a dark blue sock rather than the white as that might be a small clash.
“Before each game we’ll have a minimum of three spare shirts for each player, as well as a big bag of studs and other bits and pieces depending on what happens in the game.”