Premier League clubs will next weekend join forces and don black armbands in memory of Black Armband. In an official statement Premier League ideas man Richard Scudamore said “The loss of Black Armband has been a massive shock to the whole footballing community. After some deliberation, we have decided that the most appropriate gesture in the circumstances would be the wearing of black armbands, or the favoured black tape. In this way, we can send a message that Black Armband will never be forgotten”.
Tributes have also poured in from current and ex professionals, with ex-Newcastle and England front-man Alan Shearer deeply affected by the loss. “It was very close to my heart. Literally. My heart is, of course, in my elbows”.
Black Armband made a promising start to its career, showing some flashes of brilliance on special occasions. In the 1995-6 season it made just five appearances, mainly as a late replacement for a flag flying at half-mast. But it never eliminated its early inconsistency, and often failed to make it onto the pitch all together. Latterly it has enjoyed some token run-outs, but the punishing schedule led to niggling injuries. After a long battle against a debilitating fraying condition, it passed away peacefully from an arm into the nearest bin.
The wearing of black armbands has not been without controversy however, with the Daily Mail directing a campaign against several clubs who have not worn them. The paper has been scathing in its criticism, condemning these clubs as “out of touch with public opinion”, of which they are the sole arbiters. Black Armband’s grandson, Captain Armband, has spoken out against the campaign, “My dad didn’t fight against fascism for this to happen now. If the blackshirts had won, there would be no black armbands. Well, there would be armbands, but they just wouldn’t really be visible”.
It is hoped that the memorial will proceed without a hitch after last weeks embarrassing episode in Wigan when the minute’s silence became stuck in a never ending loop at the DW Stadium.