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Mazzy Star

by Phil Thornton

The best bit in the laughably shite Ray Winstone drama, 'All In The Game' was the bit where the mascot comes up to console Winstone's angry, double bunging, sweary, Cockerney manager character. Winstone quite rightly takes one look at the over-sized fluffy freak and tells the cunt to 'fack off' and with those two words, Ray spoke for an entire generation. Mascots - mazzys to me and you - are an embarassing relic from the 80s when football clubs were desperate to inject a bit of All American glam into the brutal world of pre-premiership British football. We don't have nonce pleasing cheerleaders, half-time stunt-bikes and nobheads parachuting onto the centre-circle at half-time anynmore, so why persist with this ridiculous and out-dated concept?


Mascots do not attract women, children and the middle classes to football games, neither do they add a splash of humour and encourage crowd participation. They do not improve the marketing of club related consumables or help neutralise terrace violence. In short they serve no purpose whatsoever apart from providing some no-life nugget with a pathetic ego boost once or twice a week. Who'd be a club mascot? Someone who wants to be on the inside, wants to feel like he or she is a vital and respected part of the club but who doesn't even have the nous to become a steward or a turnstyle operator, where atleast they can slot a few bob or chin a Cockney now and then.


A mascot's life is one of perpetual humiliation and degradation. No-one at the club, from the chairmen to the ball boy respects the fucking mascot. He's a figure of fun and an easy target for both home and travelling supporters. In short, it's the kind of job for someone like Coronation Street's Martin Platt. Now during his 20 years on the show, Martin had some really bad shit thrown his way. Having to go down on Gail Tilsley was surely bad enough but unbelievably Martin's worst hour came as the mascot for Wetherfield Albion or whatever this fictitious Stalybridge Celtic were called. Yet, bizarrely Martin met his dream-girl performing his goonish antics, a stunning opposing team's mascot - a girl too - and jibbed his kids to go and live with her in the faraway land of Merseyside. How believable is that?


Being a mascot means that you have to sacrifice many things in life; human companionship is one of these. Mascots are the same kind of people who always seem to hog political organisations, church groups, computer fairs and pornography websites. They so desperately want to be a somebody, a big deal, a person who has made his mark on the world that they'll trade their very soul for the chance to pose next to the club's striker and commercial manager in a photo opportunity to help raise funds for a local kid with a fatal heart condition. Ofcourse they couldn't give a fuck about the kid but atleast the paper cutting will be there to look back on when he's too old to race up the line celebrating last gasp winning free-kicks with regulation hysterics.


Dignity is not a word we asscociate with mascots. How dignified is it, I wonder, to witness a two minute silence for a respected former manager or player, being observed by 22 players stood solemnly in a circle, heads bowed with an eight foot cuddly fucking dog right in the middle of em? Yeah, that's a fitting tribute to a loyal servant of the game that is. When the beaut who plays the mascot (and it is a form of acting really) eventually pops off to that great big over-zealous goal celebration in the sky, do you really think that the club will arrange for players to don mascot outfits and pay their respects too? Will they fuck, because he's even lower than the announcer and the kit-man. Watch the players jib him at the bar after game as he attempts to muscle in on the action. You can't imagine two mascots spit-roasting some page three stunner after a night out at Garlands can you? Actually, that's a mental image to take to the grave.


Here is an indication of the type of person who becomes a mascot. Tranmere Rover's mascot is - you guessed it - a huge dog called, wait for it, Rover! Bet that took fucking minutes to come up with. Every team called Rovers - Doncaster, Bristol, Raith - have a mascot called Rover but Tranmere's Rover is a born-again Christian and refuses to don his canine camouflage on a Sunday. That's what we're dealing with here; born-again Christian pretend dogs!


Football mascots are bad enough but Rugby League teams have also introduced them, although it has to be said, not with as much zeal as football clubs. When Murdoch forced famous old northern rugby teams to re-name themselves with zappy, American football style team names, Widnes refused to shed their ancient nickname, The Chemics in favour of Murdoch-friendly Vikings. Push came to shove and eventually they were forced to join the likes of the Warrington Wolves, The Wigan Warriors, the Hunslet Gay Matadors and the Castleford Regency Fops to become The Widnes Vikings. In a sneaky dig at Rupert however, they gave their club mascot a name that was in every way evocative of the war-mongering, sea-faring Norse brigands of yore; they called him Chemic The Viking. Now I'm not that well up on my medieval Scandinavian history but I'm pretty sure that there weren't many Chemics in the longboats raping and pillaging Saxon England.

Whether it's Man Utd's preposterous Fred The Red or Marine's Andy The Anchor, mascots have no place in uncivilised football society. We should cast them out along with other bad football ideas such as the backpass rule, three points for a win, undersoil heating and fans not slashing eachother with stanley knives for a grin.








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