from Pantperthog to Knockando

Friday, February 16, 2018

25 years of football - fun football mascot malarkey

I've been writing a series of posts about going to football matches over the past 25 years. Admittedly they are a bit self-indulgent. I wrote them for me, really. But this post is different. This post is for Cathy.

Cathy loves football mascots. When they show those scene-setting clips at the start of game highlights on Match of the Day, she always goes "Yay! Mascots!" if they get a half second of screen time.

I've seen a few football mascots and I try to take photos to show her later. Here are some of my favourites.

Got to start with Lenny the Lion. Lenny is the Shrewsbury mascot.

Dylan the Dolphin from Poole Town. I dig his strutting attitude. Impressive for a mammal with no legs...

Spark the Cat from Queen Spark Rangers. (Do you see what they did there?!?)

The mighty, famous Gunnersaurus Rex (Arsenal).

Rocky the Robin (Cheltenham Town) - one of the few mascots to bother talking to away fans.

But what do mascots do? They have lots of important duties on match days.

Making sure all the little kids are hopped up on sugar ready for the game by carrying around a copious bucket of sweets and occasionally hurling them at force into the crowd.

Geeing up the crowd, like Newport County's optimistic Spytty the Dog here.

Dancing on the halfway line to entertain everyone during the warm up, like Gilbert the Gull from Torquay United.

High-fiving the fans.

Posing for selfies.

Contemplating the inevitability of one's own eventual non-existence, like the Moping Giant from Yeovil.

Making sure the visiting team are welcomed, and possibly confused about whether you are actually the home side's goalkeeper.

Joining in a minute's applause. Or a minute's silence. Because nothing honours the greats of the game or our glorious war dead then someone in a giant grinning furry animal head, trying to look suitably sad.

Interesting side note. In that picture you can see Lenny the Lion's colleague, possibly partner, we aren't sure. 'She' is imaginatively called Mrs Lenny. (I am not making this up.)

The problem is that Mrs Lenny, while clearly identifying as female, hence the giant pink bow, first appeared with a full mane, not unlike Lenny himself. Given that Shrewsbury played at Gay Meadow at the time, it seemed like this was a very progressive stance towards coupledom for a fairly staid club.

Now though it appears Mrs Lenny has less of a mane, as seen in this photo, which makes me wonder if there is some kind of process being undergone here. I'm not sure whether it's as progressive to have a couple where one half is transgender as having an openly gay mascot partnership. But it's interesting, and a good model for the kids in terms of acceptance and tolerance.

And finally, mascots must always, always, always, keep their spirits up. Like Bartley Bluebird here, from Cardiff City, who is depicted waiting longingly for a goal that just wasn't going to come.

And then gave up.

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