Matchday souvenirs: for the proper football fan or tourists?

In the wake of Trafford Pub, a local boozer near to Old Trafford, banning people from entering if they are wearing a ‘half and half’ scarf, I thought it was time to question what people have against these matchday souvenirs and who actually buys them.

Whatever football match you attend nowadays, it’s almost impossible to see anyone not dressed in their team’s colours. Littered outside stadiums are stalls filled with scarves, hats, gloves, badges and t-shirts.

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But who actually buys these ‘souvenirs’? Is it those who turn up to the same ground every week, or those who may be visiting for the first time, looking to take home a memento from the special occasion.

I went down to Old Trafford to speak to souvenir sellers outside the ground to find out who they target, which positions they sell at and why the products are so popular.

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Old Trafford before the European match against PSV Eindhoven.

I was fortunate to meet Peter, who was happy to give me an insight into life as a matchday souvenir seller.

“We do try and target tourists, the way the stalls are set out, but I don’t just particularly target tourists, I target everybody, tourists and other Man United fans, kids and adults, with pictures old and new.”

Peter has been a seller for 25 years, and in his time he has seen how the club has shifted away the stalls to create more emphasis placed on the official merchandise sold in the megastore.

“I used to work outside the ground, in the 90’s, but then the club were taking in big money, then they moved us to where the hotel is, then that was built and they moved us again.”

“I was outside the megastore, and it was better then, now we only see a low percentage of the actual tourists, with them being ferried into the ground and megastore through coaches.”

Half and half scarves have become a big topic of debate for many football fans, with it being believed that you should only wear your own team’s colours, although some have argued that having the two teams on a scarf is a good way of remembering the match in years to come.

However, if you are coming to the ground every week, can you really afford to purchase an £8 scarf every game?

Peter states that the half and half scarf price is lowered if they are not selling, and also compared the official scarf that used to be sold outside the ground to the the same one that is now more expensive in the megastore. Though the club have only one product they really aim to sell…

“Inside the megastore, they don’t sell a lot of scarves, they’re only interested in selling kits, all they want is someone to spend £50 on a kit.”

“Football is a brand at the end of the day, the fans want a bit of everything and they will spend.”

Overall it’s safe to say that tourists may be being exploited in terms of matchday souvenirs whereas perhaps the regular match going fan may not be as easily persuaded.

As for me, you’d never catch me sporting any half and half scarves, let alone half and half t-shirts. At this rate next season could be even worse…

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