OUR Publications Editor Dave Bowler sits down with the characters woven into the fabric of West Bromwich Albion. Up next - Aidan ‘Jacko’ Smyth.
Jacko on his playing career and getting into being a Kitman…
“I was a goalkeeper in the League of Ireland from 1989 to about 2001. I wasn’t good enough to play in the Premier Division, so I played in the First Division.
“When I finished playing I did a bit of goalkeeping coaching with a couple of teams, and then one of my best friends got a job in the League of Ireland and in one of the jobs the kitman left half-way through the season so he asked me to fill in.
“I enjoyed it. There was no pressure, you just had to plod along and make sure everything was okay.
“I stuck with it and then got to work with Umbro. I worked with them for a few years and, because they sponsored the Football Association of Ireland, I was asked to do the kit for the Irish under-19s.
“I did that for about five years and really enjoyed it.”
On joining Albion…
“I was working in Macron before Christmas in 2013 and Pat Frost had left so the job at Albion became available.
“I got wind of it and one of my mates said I should send a CV over.
“So I did, and I got called back twice and interviewed - and I’m still here now nearly five years later.
“It’s brilliant. You do a lot more now than you’re probably supposed to do, but you come in and you plod along and do it, and you enjoy it. The last four-and-a-half years have been fantastic.”
On being a ‘fly on the wall’…
“It would have to be a big wall for me to be on it! But yeah, you are in a way.
“It’s nice to be in that position, but you’re also in the firing line when things don’t go right, when it’s the boots or something.
“Nine times out of ten the lads are okay, but yeah it’s a fantastic position - you have access all areas. You’re in the dressing room, you’re in the hotels, you’re on the team bus and you’re on the plane flying to matches.
“It’s nice but it’s not just me, it’s also Dan and Curtis, the girls in the laundry Shernette and Carol. Without any question it’s a team effort.”