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History of the Soccer Scarf

The National Football Museum in Manchester, England is home to the world's greatest soccer collection, with 140,000 exhibits, including the permanent FIFA collection. 

Housed in a state-of-the-art building in the centre of Manchester, the Museum is well worth a visit, whatever your age. It includes interactive facilities, shop and cafe. It's free to enter and it's open every day. 

From April to September 2013, an exhibition called 'Strike a Pose' ran on Level 3, showcasing the connection between soccer and fashion. Savile Rogue was proud to be invited as an exhibition partner, for a display called 'The History of the Football Scarf'. 

The soccer scarf began life as soccer’s longest running badge of allegiance in England back in the 1920's. By the 1930's bar scarves were gaining popularity, in an era when a suit, tie and hat were still worn to games. Hand-knitted, usually by a relative, these early bar scarves had no club crests and were similar to a Savile Rogue scarf in everything but choice of yarn (cashmere would have been too indulgent for a football fan in those days).

For some time after the WW2, soccer scarves briefly disappeared (presumably even a lambswool scarf would have been a scarce luxury), only to re-emerge strongly in the 1950's when prosperity grew.  

In the 1960's through the 1970's soccer scarves became the norm, often held aloft en-masse to create a bank of colour. 

Home knitted wool gave way to 'satin' (polyester) printed scarves during the early 70's. These were followed by jacquard knit scarves, aided by computer technology that allowed short run acrylic scarves with logos and commemorative messages, which remain popular to this day. 

When the Glazers took over Manchester United in 2005 a large number of their fans switched from red/black/white scarves to the club's original gold and green colours, as a visual protest.

In 2006 the first brand of soccer scarves was launched in England. Savile Rogue makes traditional knitted bar scarves using 100% cashmere wool. These have become fashionable as they reflect soccer's new, more grown up image. 

When Roberto Mancini started wearing his cashmere Manchester City scarf on the touchline in a ‘European loop’ soccer fans across the UK copied him. 

Savile Rogue scarves both hark back to the pre-commercial days of going to a match and reflect the game's new aspirations.

Almost 100 years after they first appeared on the terraces, the soccer scarf looks destined to be a permanent part of soccer fan culture.

To learn more about the history of English soccer and its fashions, both on the players and on the terraces, buy yourself a copy of the excellent 'Fashion of Football ' by Paolo Hewitt and Mark Baxter.