United scarves on seats.

How one Red was reunited with a lost treasure

The majority of match-going Reds left Old Trafford high on adrenaline following Victor Lindelof’s late leveller against Burnley in January, but one lost cause remained unrecovered.

Walking away from Old Trafford tram stop before kick-off, season ticket holder Mags Chambers noticed the absence of her precious United scarf, bought for her decades ago by her late father, Eric.
 
“He started following United before the war, and passed that obsession on to me,”
Mags tells us.
 
“Oh holiday in Plymouth, he bought me this scarf. During the ‘70s I put patches and pin badges on it, and it’s been everywhere with me. I never go to the match without it. Ever. It’s been around Europe, Moscow. I’ve not missed a final since ‘85.”
Mags checked her car, retraced her steps, but no luck. Admitting defeat, she headed to the ground.
 
“You want to watch the match! I couldn’t really do much else. We rang United and the Metrolink the next day – nothing. I never thought I’d see it again.
 
“I’m not even a slightly sentimental person. I was going to bury it with Dad when he died in 2002. He said that would be lovely, but he wasn’t sentimental either, so I didn’t! I put an ‘Eric the King’ banner on his coffin instead, which really irritated the family. But sod it; he was my dad!”
 
An appeal for the scarf was placed in United Review for the Liverpool match. Within days, an email arrived – from a friend of fellow season ticket holder Mick Carney, who suspected Mick had the item.
 
“I was shocked,”
Mags recalls.
“I phoned Mick [who doesn’t have email or internet access] and he was out walking. Then he got into his house but didn’t have his glasses. I kept saying,
“Does it have the Wembley ‘77 patch on the right-hand side?’ And he’s saying, ‘I can’t really see!’”
Mick and Mags agreed to meet before the Southampton game at the start of March, which United dramatically won 3-2 thanks to goals from Andreas Pereira and Romelu Lukaku.
 
“He said he had a lime green bobble on, so I saw him right away by Macari’s chippy,”
continues Mags.
“There were tears in my eyes. He said, ‘Stop it! I’m going to start in a minute!’
 
“I gave him a card and some money to get a drink. If I could have given him a thousand pounds, I would have. If Mick hadn’t bought the programme, I’d have never got it back. It’s a bit of fate.”
Fan Mags Chambers holds her scarf aloft.
Mags holds her scarf aloft in days gone by.
Mags double-checked the scarf’s location at every possible moment during the remainder of the season, and is delighted to be reunited with a keepsake so associated with her dad.
 
“It sounds so stupid, but when I see the first United player run out, I kiss the badge on the right side for him.”
 
This article first appeared in the Watford issue of United Review on Saturday 30 March. You can buy past issues of the programme and/or subscribe here.
 
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