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Puppets or Muppets?

By: Craig Nuttall
Date: 15/12/2001

AT football grounds across the country it is now the norm to see a furry animal or character prancing around to the enjoyment of fans. These mascots as they are called, usually represent the nickname of the club.

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For example there is Zampa the Lion at Millwall or the Lions as they are sometimes known. Inside these costumes are fans.

Sometimes however, these mascots get out-of-hand and there have been some rather famous confrontations between mascots. One such occasion was when Wolfie of Wolverhampton Wanderers attacked the 3 little pigs of Bristol City; much to the enjoyment of the fans but never the less it scarred the reputation of mascots.

A notorious mascot is Cyril the Swan of Swansea City whose antics have included drop-kicking another mascots head into the crowd, inciting away fans by throwing food at them and even disrupted the national lottery on one occasion

But, due to the Football League's new code of conduct for mascots could it be the end of the line for Cyril and Co? The rules brought in have restricted the antics usually associated with football mascots. Gone have the days where mascots would enter the field of play to celebrate a goal or dispute an official's decision, taunt rival fans and act in a vulgar fashion, as if dressing up in a costume to entertain children wasn't vulgar enough.

Many mascots respect the decision brought about by the football league, West Brom's "Baggie Bird" thinks that mascots should act in a respectable manner. Preston North End meanwhile had already imposed bans on their "Deepdale Duck" after several warnings from the F.A. about his behaviour.

But one thing is for sure, visit any football league ground and you'll see that small 3rd division clubs can match their Premiership counterparts when it comes to mascots, whether it is "Fred the Red" at Man Utd or Cambridge's "Marvin the Moose" the entertainment of the fans is paramount.

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