Football mascots are a strange old thing really aren’t they? Sure, it’s something fun to get the kids interested but people managed to fall in love with the beautiful game for decades without needing to be ushered in by a fully grown man dressed as a shrimp in a Southend United kit didn’t they?
Nonetheless, it seems they are here to stay now and they range from the good (Filbert Fox, Leicester City) to the bad (Hammerhead, West Ham) to the naughty (the infamous, and oft-banned Cyril the Swan, Swansea City) to the downright weird (Kingsley, Partick Thistle, below, as designed by David Shrigley).
But the bar for what constitutes a bad mascot has been well and truly lowered by new Championship team West Brom.
He was unveiled before the first game of the new season against Bolton Wanderers - a game they lost 2-1 following a last-minute winner.
If Baggies fans thought things could get any worse after their relegation last season, well, behold Boiler Man:
He was immediately dubbed ‘Colin the Combi’ while opposition fans wasted no time in telling him what they thought of him as, egged on by some provocative dancing, they chanted “what the f**king hell is that” to the poor mascot.
Naturally, the jokes started immediately:
Others pointed out that Colin was merely the latest in a long line of unexpected mascots.
Other, more serious, folk though pointed out that Boiler Man was not an official club mascot - that job still lies with the duo of Baggie Bird and Albi - but the mascot of their new sponsors, the Hull-based firm Ideal Boilers.
While he may not be the most ‘normal’ of mascots, we’d like to defend him: he’s no-nonsense, he’s got a good engine on him and he’ll make sure the action on the pitch starts heating up sooner rather than later.
And, is he really any more ridiculous than this?
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