The first time I recall one team giving the other side a guard of honour was at Molineux, home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in February 1960 in a European Cup match against FC Barcelona. Barça were 4-0 up from the first leg and won in England 2-5. So impressed were the Wolves players with their rivals, they made a guard on honour and applauded the Catalan side as they left the pitch. When we saw the pictures we were most impressed and wondered if this was a British custom. When I started attending matches regularly I recall Madrid running out to a guard of honour from the opponent after winning a league title. No-one demanded that it happen and it was conducted in a totally natural way.
Guard of honour debate alert !
This all comes about after it appeared Cristiano has asked for Barça to offer a guard of honour ahead of Saturday's El Clásico and yesterday Amor wrote off the proposal which leads me to fear a week of debate about the pre-Clasico guard of honour. It's worth pointing out that no-one has formally requested that it be carried out and it's a voluntary act and one of courtesy. Let's be frank, the act is a recognition of another team's achievements and not a humiliation of the other team's failings. I'm not saying that this is the motivation behind Cristiano's efforts but sadly fear there are fans on both sides who perceive the guard of honour in this way and that's not the way I'd like to see things play out.
Saturday 1300 CET
The modern day El Clásico has become such a global event that even other awards such as the Ballón d'Or hark back to the rivalry in the biggest game in LaLiga and I see so many people who do all they can to maintain every element of the rancour which also has so many political undercurrents. If the guard of honour happens, then it happens and let's not forget that FC Barcelona carried out the guard some years ago at the Bernabéu playing the side who had won the title. Now they should carry out the guard if they feel like doing so and if they don't feel like it, that's their prerogative and there should be no additional debate.