What is a guard of honour? Is it compulsory? Who has had one?
Last Updated: 21/04/18 6:58pm
Ahead of their first Premier League game as confirmed champions, Manchester City could be given a guard of honour by Swansea - but is it compulsory? We take a look at the tradition and look at some famous past examples.
What is a guard of honour?
A guard of honour is when a person or group of people line up to congratulate other(s) on an achievement.
Essentially, it is seen as a mark of respect, with the Premier League champions the usual recipients.
Is it compulsory?
It is not compulsory for any club to provide a guard of honour if they face the newly crowned League champions but it is a ceremony agreed between the two clubs beforehand. Players may be reluctant, but they cannot be forced to do it by any footballing authorities.
When did the tradition start?
Guards of honour are not exclusive to the modern era, and occurred as far back as 1955 when Manchester United provided one for Chelsea.
United continued the tradition in 1991, as they celebrated the Gunners' league title win, giving them a guard of honour at Highbury. The fact Arsenal beat Liverpool to that title may have had something to do with it.
Who has had it?
United have a history of respecting opponents and they also honoured Chelsea lifting the Premier League trophy in 2005. To reciprocate, Chelsea did the same for United two years later. Everton also celebrated United's title success on the last day of the season in 2003 at Goodison Park.
One of the most famous in Premier League history was when Arsenal agreed to give United one after United strolled to the title at a canter in 2012/13. The reason it was so painful for Arsenal players and fans alike was that Robin van Persie wore the colours of United, having moved to Old Trafford the previous summer.
Liverpool gave Chelsea a guard of honour in 2015 at Stamford Bridge. Leicester and Claudio Ranieri enjoyed one after their Premier League success a year later, with the Chelsea team and coaches forming two lines to clap the champions onto the pitch.
Watford clapped Chelsea onto the pitch last season, while John Terry was clapped off in the 26th minute in another choreographed mark of respect in his last game for Chelsea.
Sir Alex Ferguson received a guard of honour from both his own Manchester United players and Swansea ahead of his final game in charge in 2013.
Has anyone refused to do one?
Whether Jose Mourinho would have been happy to give City one at the Etihad two weeks ago is another matter, but in England, the tradition remains strong.
In Spain, there is trouble brewing over the issue. Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insists his side will not offer runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona a guard of honour before El Clasico next month if the Catalans are crowned champions before then.
Barcelona famously formed a guard of honour in May 2008 for newly confirmed champions Real at the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, they refused to repeat the gesture before their last La Liga meeting on December 23, days after Madrid had lifted the FIFA Club World Cup.
What do they say about it?
Sky Sports' Gary Neville was rather blunt when explaining how difficult they are to take part in, when reflecting on the 2005 guard of honour back in 2013.
"Like your mrs leaving you and being asked to hang the new blokes clothes up in your old wardrobe!!," he wrote on Twitter. "That's one way to put it!"
"I couldn't care less, I promise you," John Terry said after his tribute. "All I care about is celebrating with my Chelsea fans. Me and them have a wonderful rapport and have done for 22 years.
"Nothing that people write or say can ever get in the way of that."
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