Half-and-half scarves seem to be a very modern kind of football phenomenon, perhaps one born out of the increase in neutrals and one-offers at big games. Even at the Scotland v England friendly at Celtic Park on Tuesday night, punters could pick up a knitted garment that enabled the wearer to proclaim that the sides were “Together in friendship” (above), a statement that would have been quickly shown as overly-optimistic once inside the cauldron of Celtic Park.
Also available outside the ground at maglie del calcio the Argentina v Portugal friendly at Old Trafford was this little number:
Messi v Ronaldo scarf. Photograph: Matt West/BPI/REX
An ideal present for those who are sitting on the fence when it comes to picking the world’s best player. Sadly for those preferring a more left-field candidate, a third-and-third-and-third scarf also featuring Thomas Müller was disappointingly unavailable.
Derby games are by no means immune. A Venn diagram of Liverpool and Everton supporters would have a minuscule crossover, yet you could buy one of these earlier this year:
Liverpool v Everton half-and-half scarf. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images
And you could get yourself a piece of Chelsea/Arsenal neckwear too if you wanted (complete, weirdly, with the “e” in Arsenal starred out):
Chelsea v Arsenal scarf. Photograph: Kieran McManus/BPI/REX
And a Spain v Portugal effort as far back as Euro 2004:
Spain v Portugal scarf. Photograph: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
In an way, those garments are understandable – you’re at the big game, you want to show maglie calcio you’ve been to the big game, you buy a scarf. It is a little like keeping your ticket stub as a souvenir. Perhaps harder to explain are the less glamorous fixtures.
West Bromwich Albion v Southampton scarf. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images
So are these scarves pointless bits of tat that serve to dilute the rivalries that make the game so special? Or are they harmless trinkets with the anti-half-and-half brigade misguidedly enraged by the crime of being young or naive?
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