This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle. Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!
…Now I’m not being mean, but the DW Stadium is in rather bleak surroundings. An industrial estate, a massive car park, a railway line and a shopping park border it – although things were made a little bit more jolly by the unexpected presence of a massive travelling circus. Also, when you’re stood outside it becomes obvious that the stadium itself could use a bit of a polish. The grey parts of the walls are a bit mildewy, but how do you go about cleaning that up when it’s so high? You can’t exactly spray it with a hose.
After parking up (it costs a fiver, but it’s seriously convenient), I headed across the bridge shown above to the stadium for a walk around it. As I began my circuit, I saw a kid wearing the saddest half-scarf of all time.
If you’re not familiar with the half-scarf phenomenon, this is how it works: Two teams play each other, and there’s apparently a level of mutual respect between the two sides. Thus a half-scarf is produced. I think I first saw these showing Manchester United on one half, Celtic on the other – this making sense as they’ve always had a close relationship. Since then though, it’s got a bit stupid. As West Ham got hammered 5-0 by Nottingham Forest the other week, they showed a kid on the crowd wearing a half scarf bearing both teams names. Why? Who on earth thought that was a good idea?
You watch the Champions League and these aberrations are everywhere. Here’s my impression: With the occasional exception (Leicester City and Athletic Madrid have a long standing friendship, for example), why on earth should you like another team? You love YOUR club. You don’t share that love with any other team. These scarves need eradicating from the planet as soon as possible.
To the kid that I saw. Wigan have, of course, been part of the Europa League this season, battling valiantly on the continent whilst facing the pressures of trying to get promoted from the Championship. Competing in this tournament has given rise to the half scarf within the DW Stadium. And the one that I saw, showing that the form has already well and truly jumped the shark:
One half Wigan Athletic. Acceptable. The other half… Maribor.