12 September, 2007

Mascot of the Week 5

Name – Cyril the Swan

Affiliation – Swansea City

Animal – Swan

Colour – White (with an orange bill)

Level of Ridiculousness – 7

Most common missle pelted with – Sheep and Leeks (Swansea’s in Wales right?)

Crime Rating (sponsored by 50 Cent’s G-Unit Records) – 8

Officially voted ‘Best Mascot’ by readers of the journalistic juggernaut that is Match of the Day magazine, Cyril the Swan has led a fascinating life, dipping his beak in many people’s back-garden ponds over the years. His career can be characterized like any great zeitgeist icon; a rise to the top, a subsequent fall from grace due to violence and depravity, and then finally an attack of the social conscience leading to altruism and returning adoration.

The story of how Cyril came to call Swansea home is the stuff of legend. Abandoned by his mother, and bullied by his siblings for his unusually small beak, the young Cyril the Signet left nest at just 1, and for many of his formative years, flew meaninglessly around the south coast of England, turning cheap tricks for bread and Doritos. At the turn of the 1990s however, he discovered a small Welsh coastal town and set up a new nest on the roof of the East Stand at Vetch Field. Drawn to the mesmerizing football on display, Cyril quickly earned enough cash to buy a season ticket for Swansea City and attended every game, becoming somewhat of a cult figure amongst the home support.

It wasn’t long before word spread that he was the chosen one: the return of the mythical Swan of Swansea…the Parousia, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the…well you get the idea. Obviously he was press-ganged into making this talismanic effect official, and became the club’s Mascot shortly after Christmas 1990. His rise to success was meteoric, and the late 1990s saw him both release the uncompromising rap anthem “Nice Swan Cyril,” and also star in his own stage adaptation of “Aladdin,” where he quite beautifully played both Aladdin and Princess Jasmine.

Like so many before him however, fame took it’s terrible toil on Cyril and by the turn of the Millennium, he was addicted to prit-stick and sleazy rent-ducks, while living in a pizza box behind the Crobar club. Cyril finally snapped during an FA Cup match against Millwall, pouncing on Zampa the Lion and ripping his head clean off, before drop-kicking it into the stands. He was so tweaked at this game that when the final whistle blew, he even led a one-bird pitch invasion to celebrate his brutality. A further string of incidents followed, including accusations that he had inappropriately grabbed a referee, pushed the director of Norwich City, and even thrown a pork pie at West Ham United fans. As such, in 2001 he was hauled before a Welsh FA disciplinary committee, fined £1000 and handed a touchline ban; the kiss of death to any mascot.

His reign of terror continued off the pitch however, as a dark cloud descended over the usually upbeat Football Furlong Mascot Race in 2001. Witness reports are sketchy, but many place Cyril as the only large white bird at the scene of the crime, as an innocent woman’s wrist was injured during a furied assault on the race-course. Police are still baffled, but to this day the woman (who cannot be named for legal reasons) insists that it was Cyril who attacked her, muttering the sinister words “I told you you’d go down bi-atch” as he cackled uncontrollably.

After an extensive stay in the Zippy-Ford Clinic for Outsized Animals, Cyril was re-introduced into society in 2002, and immediately announced plans to run for Mayor of Swansea, buoyed on by H’Angus the Monkey’s success in becoming the Mayor of Hartlepool earlier in the year. Unfortunately his campaign was subsequently sabotaged, but Cyril no longer holds a grudge, instead turning his attention to securing the post of England manager before World Cup 2010…