Sometimes it’s not enough just to sing, shout and scream your lungs at the football.
Sometimes you have to get your point across visually…in the form of an enormous, obnoxious, home-made banner that will probably go unnoticed by the intended target.
Down the years we’ve seen some funny ones, and we’ve seen others that are so unfunny they actually start to be funny again. We’ve seen some that are powerful and visually striking, and we’ve seen others that make you wonder why on Earth anyone went to the effort.
You can decide for yourself where Chelsea’s latest effort to back Frank falls on that spectrum, but while you do that, we’re taking a dive into the past to celebrate the weird and wonderful history of banners at football matches.
An icon of the genre.
Manchester United had become so accustomed to success by the time Alex Ferguson stepped aside in 2013 that they couldn’t imagine not winning things.
So when David Moyes was announced as Ferguson’s hand-picked successor, there was a confidence that the granite-faced Glaswegian would simply pick up where the greatest of all time left off.
Less than a year later, ‘The Chosen One’ was decreed ‘The Wrong One’ with a new banner, and whoever was responsible for the original was left with a face like beetroot.
Quick bit of context of football in Catalonia: RCD Espanyol do not like Barcelona. They view themselves as the natives, the locals, while Barça are perceived as plastic glory-hunting fantasists who are Barcelona in name only.
That was the point being made by this banner in 2014, when Espanyol ‘welcomed’ their rivals to the city.
In case you were in any doubt over the message, the banner also depicts an Espanyol player with the caption ‘local’ and a Barcelona player captioned ‘tourist.’
Did football banners peak in 2013/14? Possibly.
When Jose Mourinho came ‘home’ to Chelsea in 2013, this guy spotted a gap in the market for some ingenious word play.
‘Mourinho.’ ‘Home.’ ‘Mourinho home.’ ‘Mourin…home.’ ‘MOURINHOME!’
Look at him, proud as punch. An adult man, genuinely buzzing with himself, 100% confident he’s the first person ever to make that connection. Enjoy it, mate.
P.s – yes, it’s the same man who sang the Mourinho song on Sky that time.
‘We don’t like Rangers and we don’t like coronavirus. What can we do with that?’
Celtic fans are renowned the world over (or at least Scotland over) for their banner creating prowess.
This one, though? Not their finest hour.
There isn’t much love for Alexis Sanchez in England any more, but there is still a lot of love for his labradors.
Atom and Humber. The Good Boys.
Upon moving to Manchester United from Arsenal a similar banner was unfurled at Old Trafford.
Fans in England have become so accustomed to exorbitant ticket prices that it doesn’t even register when Arsenal charge away fans £64 a pop for a European tie.
To Bayern Munich fans, though – who can get a season ticket at the Allianz Arena for twice that – those prices are a travesty.
And they let us know about it when they came to London in 2017 – in small numbers out of protest – and put five goals past the Gunners without even breaking a sweat.
No-one likes Mondays, but FC United of Manchester definitely don’t like Mondays.
You’ve got to admire the subtlety of this one, as fans quoted The Boomtown Rats to protest their FA Cup tie against Chesterfield being moved to Monday night for TV.
Unfortunately, their Monday got even worse, as the visitors ran out 4-1 winners to reach the second round.
Perhaps the iconic football banner, one which has become shorthand for intimidating away days.
In reality ‘welcome to the hell’ was simply poorly proofread felt tip on a piece of A1 card when Manchester United travelled to Istanbul to take on Galatasaray in 1993 but it carried so much more weight.
The cauldron atmosphere, which included a feisty airport ‘welcome’ and plenty of stadium pyrotechnics, did ultimately have an effect on Fergie’s men who could only draw 0-0 and went out of the Champions League on away goals.
The hell indeed.