It’s a random phenomenon around Belfast this time of year, and most people wouldn’t even notice it, apart from me, as foreign visitors to the city leave their mark on lampost and roadsigns in support of their football teams.
The phenomenon is of posting stickers of your ultras firm to a lampost in a city you visit while supporting your team.
The most recent addition, is of stickers in the University area (See link at end of blog) left by supporters of HNK Cibalia, when in Belfast for a UEFA Cup tie against Cliftonville.
For many people, the term ‘Ultras’ erroniously means hooligans, usually from Italy.
In truth, it’s really a term to describe a fans group of a club, who organise displays primarily, but also singing and purchase/creation of flags.
These groups will usually have their own striking imagery as a logo, and often produce stickers as a way of leaving their mark on cities they visit.
Supporters of international teams also leave such stickers after an international at Windsor Park.
The recent surge of Polish migrants to Northern Ireland has seen Legia Warsaw graffiti appear across the city, of the clubs badge, a Green circle with a L inside it.
Interestingly, there are still some stickers of the Guliganerna group, from IF Elfsborg when they visited Linfield in 2007.
At one point, there was a trail of Elfsborg stickers leading from the City Centre, through Shaftesbury Square, along the Donegall Road, onto Windsor Park.
It’s not just Belfast which has this phenomenon, as I have noticed stickers in the city of sides that have visited United (and City, when they have a good year and win the Fair Play Award) for European ties.
Stockport County fans used this tactic to highlight the plight of their financially stricken club.
It is fun seeing the funny looks I get from passers-by, wondering why I am taking a photo of a lampost or street sign, and then their reaction when they pass me, and admiringly glance at the stickers.
It’s an interesting and random form of streetart, and now doubt after reading this, you’ll be looking at every lampost you pass for a sticker