Busby babes memorial scarf banned

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It’s fifty years since the crash that killed the Busby Babes and Sunday’s derby between Manchester United and Manchester City was a fitting match to remember the loss. Every fan from both teams attending the game were given a scarf, a letter from the chief executive David Gill, and a replica copy of the programme from United’s first game against Sheffield Wednesday following the crash 50 years ago.

Unsurprisingly these have been surfacing on eBay both in the UK and in Ireland. According to the Irish Independant eBay are banning the sales “due to the unique and commemorative nature” of the items.

I can’t help thinking that there are an awful lot of fans who weren’t at the games more than happy to purchase the memorial items, but that aside if eBay are going to prevent the sale they need to announce it to the community.

Currently at time of writing there are with bids in the thousands and .

51 Responses

  1. cant work out the logic of this,
    there are millions of listings on ebay for medals ,
    the poor sods many of those they once belonged to, have been blown up shot at ,tortured and imprisoned,
    I dare say they felt it was a dammed seriously unique occasion

  2. plus if the powers that be really want these lads to be remembered , theres no better way than the items having a monetary value, they will be traded globally rather than stuffed in a draw and forgot about cos its worth nowt

  3. so why dont ebay do everyone some good and make a condition of sale that at least 50% goes to charity,

    save the Manchester United poor and starving footballers
    or summat similar

  4. This is an increasingly common problem that eBay faces. In my time there we were often portrayed as the moral guardians between what is right and what is wrong, which ever since the decision to ban Live 8 tickets was made, crops up every time a group feels outrage.

    You have to ask, where does the company draw the line? At what point does eBay risk alienating it’s users and undermining it’s advertising efforts.

    As much as it may dismay people that some folk will seek to profit from one off opportunities such as these Busby scarves, eBay should not be the scapegoat. If you want to point the finger, point it at those that bid with the intent to win.

    By offering the eBay For Charity option, the platform allows people to do just that with their conscious intact but again any defaulting to that is a step into the moral guardian argument that I feel eBay should avoid.

  5. IMHO, it’s just like the tickets thing: if an item is yours and you choose to sell it* and someone else chooses to buy it, that is no one else’s business whatsoever. I don’t know why these self-appointed moral guardians have to stick their noses in every time; and surely better for memorabilia to be in the hands of those who want it, rather than stuck in a drawer for twenty years and then given to a charity shop. For goodness’ sake, there are more important things going on in the world than football scarves!

    * Unless it’s illegal to sell anyway: that’s a whole different argument.

  6. Where is the line drawn then? Hillsborough programmes relating to the 1989 game are currently listed – the list of hot topics could be endless!

    The line that eBay has to carefully walk, and this was certainly the case with Live 8, Geldolf and Co was that we risked weeks, if not months of adverse publicity for the site. This would threaten to undermine buyer confidence in the site and would perhaps alienate the site in the eyes of potential new customers for years and potentially ruin sellers. The short term loss was worth the long term gain.

  7. One chap has a BIN of £10,000 😯 330211553308

    So, let’s not overlook the issue of counterfeits. πŸ™
    Not saying that auction is dodgy, but this stuff is scammer bait.

  8. naughty ,nasty ebay, allowing things to be sold for profit,
    this is a community!
    everything is for the common good,

    come on sing up at the back!

    and yer certainly cant flog that red flag if its been to a Man U game

  9. The line that eBay has to carefully walk, and this was certainly the case with Live 8, Geldolf and Co was that we risked weeks, if not months of adverse publicity for the site. This would threaten to undermine buyer confidence in the site and would perhaps alienate the site in the eyes of potential new customers for years and potentially ruin sellers. The short term loss was worth the long term gain.

    I disagree Jamie.

    All multinationals are concerned with protecting their ‘brands’ image and integrity, and rightly so. But thier protection usually leads them to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. (I used to work for a huge US multinational, and have seen this in action).

    This is what ebay did in the Live 8 scenario IMO.

    There would have been the initial publicity and then as always it would have quickly become old news.
    Just as happens every time the site is given a going over on Watchdog.

    As for swaying new people, I’d argue that the vast majority of the UK has an opinion of ebay already, for good or ill.

    If you look at most of these listings they are thrown up by newish sellers, and it isn’t hard to find a listing violation or two in them.
    A more prudent thing to do is to remove them for these, with the benefit that this keeps ebays ‘venue’ stance intact πŸ˜‰

  10. Thinking aloud, an even better thing for ebay to do is to be proactive, and make an announcement that ‘freebies’ from any given event will be prohibited from the site beforehand.

    Surely an organisation as big as them has enough ears close to the ground to be aware of them.

  11. If you want to blame anyone for this, blame the clubs, who might have known that a good proportion of the giveaways would end up on eBay. In fact, why waste all that money giving scarves to people who don’t want them – wouldn’t it have been better to have the Busby Babes Wing in the local hospital or something?

  12. If people on the Arsenal boards I frequent saw me defending Man U, I’d be in trouble, but….

    The only thing i think the club could do differently is to have made these packs available at a reasonable price from their website.

    Both ebay and Man Utd are guilty of naivety in not predicting this scenario.

  13. not ebays fault other than they are just trying to keep kosher and making a rod for their back,

  14. I want to know how long they’re banned for – in a years time, five years time, 10 years time will they still be banned? Or will they then be genuine collectables which can be traded?

    If it’s a lifetime ban that they can never be sold it’s absurd. If it’s a temporary ban it’s still absurd. This is one that eBay are damned if they do and damned if they don’t πŸ™

  15. If itÒ€ℒs a temporary ban itÒ€ℒs still absurd.


    If they are tickets, then the ban can expire one day after the event :wink:, and for items such as the scarfs the demand will diminish after a short space of time.

    This is one that eBay are damned if they do and damned if they donÒ€ℒt

    Not if they use a bit of common sense it isn’t.

  16. Mark, how can you possibly say it’s okay to sell something when there’s no demand, but not when there is?! You know I love you to pieces but that makes no sense whatsoever. πŸ˜†

  17. When Arsenal had there last game at Highbury they gave out t-shirts and they were available on eBay (in fact there is one available at the moment).
    Wonder if it was eBay’s idea to ban the sale or if they were contacted by Man Utd?
    Were did the press release come from?

  18. Mark, how can you possibly say itÒ€ℒs okay to sell something when thereÒ€ℒs no demand

    Let me explain myself more clearly.

    In a ficticous scenario.

    There is a Live Aid style concert on August the 1st, tickets are free.

    Ebay say, tickets are prohibited for sake until August the 2nd, and then only in memorabilia cats.

    Stops the market stone dead, without the bad publicity on the BBC et al.

    Ebay need to do something different, as whenever this sort of event happens, the crap seems to stick on them.

    Being proactive rather than reactive is surely the way to go.

    FWIW I’ve nothing against these freebies being sold.

  19. Okay, that makes more sense, but you still haven’t explained why eBay should restrict the sales because certain self-appointed big-mouths don’t like them. eBay need to stop being afraid of Geldof and the like, and stand up for those who choose to sell on the site.

    Not that the publicity is necessary a bad thing. For every person that reads a BBC report and thinks “how terrible”, there are another dozen who get out their credit cards and come running to eBay πŸ˜†

  20. It was also in the Sun & the Independent. It looks to me like the story was generated by eBay (could be wrong). I haven’t seen anything official coming From Manchester United Football Club relating to the story.

  21. I think we have to cut Jamie some slack on this, seeing as he’s been there taking all the grief the last dozen times this has happened. πŸ˜€

  22. so ebay can knowingly allow to be sold whisky and many other spirits disguised as collectables
    yet a man u scarf probably made in china is not allowed

    where is the only a venue ethos

  23. I didn’t disagree per se Mark, I was just highlighting some of the reasoning behind eBay UK’s decision at the time of Live 8.

    As for being naive that is harsh. There are untold number of events like that this people can capitalise on? Charity dinners, free handouts etc are commonplace. How one earth and more to the point why should eBay track each of these and declare which are culturally sensitive and which are not. Madness.

    Live 8 I maintain was a huge one off special. You have no idea of what went on behind the scenes but yes, they made a rod for their back that day and perhaps the likes of Man Utd et al now seek to use that as a benchmark.

  24. It’s not MUFC (the club) kicking off about this, it is the fans who don’t think it is right by some people to make money off the back of a tragedy. They have been sabotaging the auctions.

    You can argue MUFC (the club) have been doing this for 50 years but that is a different discussion.

  25. I can imagine what happened behind the scenes that day Jamie, I was involved about 15 years ago when Fairy Liquid launched their Soap Powder brand.
    The original packaging showed the Fairy baby within a circle/bubble.

    There was a report in a paper that a young child had put their baby brother/sister inside the washing machine, thinking the circle was the washing machine door.

    Major Panic stations to protect the brand image….

    In answer to your question “more to the point why should eBay track each of these and declare which are culturally sensitive and which are not”

    I’d wager more man hours are spent firefighting after incidents like these than would be needed in prevention, is the very basic answer. πŸ™‚

    I think most corporations (and not just ebay) fall into a trap of thinking themselves to be in a bubble, seperate from the outside world, until that world decamps outside the front gates πŸ˜†

  26. I have to say as well as eBay removing items for sale (and they never made it clear apart from in the press that they would do so), I do hope that they’ll also be taking steps to admonish the auction wreckers who’ve been placing bids for silly amounts πŸ™

  27. Bit of a sweeping generalisation there North.

    Not everyone makes a decision based solely on monetary value.
    I’m pretty sure that some people feel distaste that others are trying to profit on the back of an event to remember a tragedy.

  28. Agree with Blighty.

    It is pretty poor taste to make personal gain out of the disaster which, as a (supposed) United fan, you should understand what it means.

  29. So why would supposed United fans be buying the memorabilia? If there weren’t buyers, there wouldn’t be this issue. And I would hope that in the Manchester United club shop, for example, any books or other rememberances of the Busby Babes are being given away free, or at very least sold at cost. πŸ™„

  30. Because they were not at the game?

    This disaster is a very big issue for most United fans and the thought of some supposed United fans making money out of it is pretty bad taste.

  31. oh Sue, I can see that tongue pushed into your cheek!

    So deep it must be painful…. 😈 😯 😈

    All memorabilia has some emotive rationale otherwise it would not be collectable. And if people wish to buy into that emotional attachment why should they not be allowed to?

    What about the Titanic (all those deaths there)? WW1 trench art (by young men suffering from foot rot who will soon die) Irish fight for freedom – huge market for that, especially anything linked to the IRA – anyone remember how many people have lost their lives due to IRA bombings?

    I find it difficult to find the MU scenario any different to any of these, and more more more….

  32. It is no different, just made the papers because it has the words ebay and Manchester United in it.

    These auctions are being wrecked by United fans who find them distasteful. The club aren’t doing anything.

    If WW1, Titanic, IRA, etc. veterans find similar auctions distasteful they are free to act to stop them.

  33. Just what we need Steve a world full of righteous crusaders.

    In my opinion the majority of United fans wouldn’t give a fig about someone selling there scarf. It seems like the Club weren’t that bothered about it either.

    The story has all the hallmarks of an eBay trying to work a bit of positive spin or the papers trying to get a story where there isn’t one.

  34. I bet most of those complaining ,and most so called United fans would be hard put to name, more than a few of the 23

  35. Steve, that’s EXACTLY what I mean. Why are these devoted fans (who weren’t at the game) who are rightly emotional about the tragedy even ALLOWING these sellers to profit by bidding on their items? Unless you are saying that every single bid placed on the scarves has been from an auction wrecker?

  36. I still don’t understand why a devoted fan, who for whatever reason couldn’t get to the game (perhaps they are in Japan for all I know – huge MU fan base there..) and wants to own this piece of memorabilia, is somehow heinous for buying it from someone who happened to be at the match, but doesn’t have that amount of emotional attachment?

  37. They are not allowing them though surely? Some idiot puts a scarf on eBay and auction gets wrecked. Other than this how can it be stopped?

    Not saying the wrecking is right or wrong, but just disappointing some people want to line their pockets out of it.

    I guess this is the world we live in now where everything has a price on eBay.

    As to most fans not knowing the names of the players, that’s rubbish. As a United fan you grow up hearing about the Busby Babes and their exploits from older fans.

  38. I am a life long Liverpool fan,
    I cant name many from the 50s if any, I would be hard put to name 11 players from cup winning side from the 70s or 80s never mind the 50s
    and would not stand a chance naming 23

  39. ebay make policy up randomly as they go along , this decision fits their plans perfectly , they have a giant slot machine , they put in a token , pull the level and the random decision appears in the viewing glass….. the “jackpot” with a row of four barrels of $$$$ is “merge with amazon”….



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