Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson’s favourite mascot Harry the Hornet has retired. The man behind the mask, Gareth Evans, who was heavily criticised by both Premier League managers for diving at the feet of Wilfried Zaha after the winger was booked for simulation, has decided to call it a day.
Gareth announced on Twitter: “I have officially stepped away from being the match day mascot at #watfordfc my decision, proud of what I have achieved, the memories made and the experiences I’ve had – I was privileged and now heavy hearted also. Love you Harry!”
We wish Gareth all the best and hope the decision wasn’t influenced from upon high because of the words of the Premier League managers, because god forbid Roy and Big Sam are offended by mascots too.
Because to be honest, the mascot has always been the one to deliver appropriate antics at every UK football game for as long as most of us have known. And we all have one great mascot story in us. Let’s just take a look at a few of the most famous mascot incidents of all time:
Cyril The Swan
Is there any creature more majestic than the noble swan? Well, turn one into a fluffy costume and place a man inside it and you have Cyril, the controversial Swansea mascot, who is anything but graceful.
In 2001, he found himself in deep water when he managed to rip the head off Milwall’s Zampa the Lion and drop-kick it into the crowd: a brave move in front of Millwall fans. Although the incident was described as good-natured banter, Cyril ruffled more feathers by telling a Dutch TV documentary crew that banter simply doesn’t cut it, signing off saying ‘Don’t f*** with the Swans’. He’s got quite a beak on him.
With additional misdemeanours like throwing pork pies onto the pitch at a West Ham game, accosting a rival at the Mascot Grand National and tussling with Norwich assistant coach Brian Hamilton, for which he received a two-game ban, Cyril had to have been one of the most agro mascots in the game.
Wolfie Of Wolves
Not many get to witness their childhood fairy tales coming true, so in 1999, when a fairy tale brawl between the three little pigs of Ashton Gate took on Wolfie Of Wolves in the division one game charity penalty shootout, thousands of drunk men were instantly transported to an absurd story time with mummy and daddy.
When Wolfie attempted to use the three little pig’s ball after his had been kicked out of the stadium by fans, a brawl ensued. Anyone arriving late to the game would have had the unusual sight of watching all four mascots being ejected from the ground, to be replaced by City Cat – yawn.
Wolfie’s temper simmered gently until a game against West Brom in the same season saw him confront a Sunday Mercury photographer before starting a fight with Baggie the Bird. Wolves called the incident harmless fun, but a number of Baggies fans reported the mascot to the FA for inciting potential crowd trouble.
We miss the 90’s.