Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle United.

Just a few of the clubs who have resorted to the new freebie-scarf generated atmosphere.In what seems a desperate attempt by team officials to create jovial scenes at football matches, it appears more and more clubs deem it appropriate to hand out free complimentary scarves (or flags) in order to ‘gee-up’ the home support.It‘s a shame that teams have had to resort to such measures. Yes, atmosphere at football grounds aren’t what they used to be, but why are clubs handing out freebies for such big occasions?

Surely supporters don’t need any greater incentive than to get behind their team for games against local rivals or cup semi-finals? I guess part of the idea is to make the stadium look ‘nice and pretty’, but whatever happened to the user-generated atmosphere that dominated the sport in the past? The sight of the Chelsea flag-waving of 2008 was cringe and I defy any football supporter to claim that it didn’t look like shit (refer to picture).

Chelsea, the trend setters in the freebie market, first used the chequered flags in their Champions League semi-final with Liverpool. It was the third semi-final between the two clubs in four years and the first time the second leg had been played at Stamford Bridge. It can only be assumed it was a response to the atmosphere Chelsea had twice crumbled to at Anfield in 2005 and 2007 respectively. The result of Chelsea’s antics was a catalyst for other clubs to delve into the freebie market.

It marks a sad time for football when clubs need to issue out complimentary scarves or flags in order to generate an atmosphere, but unfortunately I can only see the list of clubs following the trend expanding.