Roberto Mancini’s scarf has broken its silence after joining the manager in England to take charge of Manchester City. The fashionable item of neckwear opens up about its tough Roman upbringing and quickly becoming a fashion icon in a Premier League sadly lacking in chic after Jose Mourinho’s jacket followed the ‘Special One’ to Inter Milan:
When you look at me, what do you see? An item of clothing that is both practical and stylish, cosy, but – dare I say – cool? Sure, image is important – but I am so much more than something to look at, idolise, and then buy a £8 replica of in the Manchester City Club Shop.
I have always wanted to come to England and have the opportunity to be worn in some of the greatest stadiums the world over, places my heroes have graced. You know the calibre of accessories I’m talking about; David Pleat’s slip on shoes, Ryan Gigg’s detachable chest hair or Iain Dowie’s fright mask. It says a lot about Roberto that he was willing to come here for me, and not, despite what any of you gossip queens out there might think, because my colours match those of Manchester City…
Oh, I cannot live this lie any more! The truth is that deep down, I have always been a Lazio scarf.
A long time ago I went to every Lazio home game to be waved, twirled and thrust. I look back and wonder how I coped sometimes, but when you are younger you do such things. That is when the dark times came. We had just lost at home to Roma, and I was tossed onto the pitch. Honestly, I thought that was it for me – all that was left was to be scooped up by the departing Siniša Mihajlović, who famously always forgot his towel. I was woefully ill-equipped for that, and I stain easily. I will admit that at that time I considered purposely fraying myself on the fencing next to the tunnel. Like I said, they were dark times.
It often astonishes me that when one is at his lowest, something happens that rises you up higher than you have ever been before, and that is when I met Roberto. He swept me up from Mihajlović’s peg with such force, and tied me with such elegance. I just wanted to cling to his neck and never let go.
When I got word from Roberto that he had secured the City job and I was to join him in Manchester I was naturally thrilled, but I will admit there were times when I worried about moving to England. There are so many cultural differences between our two great scarf-wearing nations that sometimes I wondered how I would fit in and adapt to life here. But Roberto assured me that with time I would feel comfortable, and that my qualities as a scarf were universal. I had also been told that the weather in Manchester was terrible; this could only strengthen our relationship.
Our professional relationship. Obviously. I am not one of those slutty pashminas.
I have to say the start to Roberto’s reign couldn’t have gone better; the fans quickly warmed to me and the players respected my presence. I even won over the notoriously tricky Craig Bellamy, who it has been said believes all neckwear is just mocking his own lack of a neck. Bobby and I weren’t kidding ourselves though. As the hacks correctly pointed out, I hadn’t faced a really world-class accessory in those games.
But last week we went to the home of Mourinho’s coat, Petr Cech’s magical helmet and Ashley Cole’s strangely baggy white underwear – and actually won, for the first time in a decade! Why, it’s what Roberto and I have been dreaming of all these years. And to think, if things had been different, I could have been lining Siniša’s sock draw.
The next morning I excitedly read the papers waiting to see a full-page colour image, perfectly focusing on my flowing form commanding the touchline. Imagine then my surprise to read nothing of it, just endless reams about a handshake that never was.
I mean, they could have at least worn some gloves.