17 December, 2007

The Great European Mascot Jamboree (with a few bonus treats from further afield thrown in too)

So here it is ladles and jellyspoons, the moment you have all been waiting for. What follows below is the best that Europe as to offer. A mascot rodeo if you will. A hoopla of fluffy tails, outsized appendices and bizarrely frightening cartoon faces that even the backstage of the Spice Girls reunion tour would struggle to match. Some have names, some have backstories, some even have effigies…

1. Say hello to Lucky the Lynx everyone, your friendly neighbourhood child befriender. Employed by the freaky-deaky chaps at Ajax, this feline eats pussy(s) for breakfast.

2. Representing Madrid’s other decent team, Atletico, this guy is a cat maybe? Generally quite unsettling, he looks like a pretty weak piñata, topped off by having just one ominous-looking tooth, presumably for gauging.

3. There’s not a lot right with this picture to be honest. Horrible kit and a suit that looks like a budget sock puppet does not a good mascot make. Let that be a lesson to you Bayern Munich, next time try harder!

4. Next up, from Belgian club Cercle Brugge, is this, er, thing. I assume it must be a giant bunny judging from the ears, but from this angle it just kinda looks like a vagina.

5. Maybe the campest mascot on here, Ding from German league 2 side Dynamo Dresden, is a slightly sociopathic ladybird with a penchant for lycra.

6. The first of several lion’s in the countdown, this guy hails from FC Midtylland in the fiercely fought Danish league. Unfortunately the impressively manicured head is letdown by a severely lackluster body. The mascot, not the little boy you wierdos.

7. Continuing the Danish theme, we now head over to FC Nordsjaelland to meet their cheeky furball Gonzo the Gorrilla. He actually moonlights as a real pimp. Don’t believe me? Check the lack of pants on the cheerleaders.

8. And to the Czech Republic we go then, and peep this bizarre creature that prances up and down the lines at F.T.K Teplice. Not really an animal, this looks like the result of dropping acid and trying to replicate Batman’s Joker in paper-mache.

9. Now this is perhaps the strangest mascot on here. Groguet (meaning ‘little yellow’), belongs to Villarreal in Spain and is basically a walking submarine. I can only assume that this is because the team is nicknamed the yellow submarines?

10. To Hamburg then, and give a warm welcome to Herman, the huge fluffy dragon! Even for Germany this is pretty incongruous…

11. Juventus’ mascot, Zig Zag the Zebra, is pretty sweet and quite appropriate really. Also sends out a nice message of racial harmony, but I’m sure the Lazio fans will put a stop to that soon.

12. Belonging to German side Kaiserslautern, these guys are not in fact horror movie extras, or idiots in Halloween costumes, but a sneak peak of the new direction Slipknot intend to take on their next tour.

13. Tatty and presumably rabid, Bayern Leverkeusen do not take very good care of their lion. If he wasn’t secretly the real life Santa Claus, I’d suggest they have him put down.

14. Hailing from Lilestorm in Norway, I’m pretty sure this appeared in The Wicker Man.

15. I feel a tad sorry for this bloke, again representing Norway, but this time club giants Lyngby BK. Kudos for the Viking get-up but sadface at being emasculated by having to carry pom-poms.

16. There’s just something very French about this lion. Andre is the mascot for Lyon, and is apparently not above getting the supporter’s coach to games.

17. Another frankly terrifying mascot, this time from Mallorca. The suit is excellent, but the shifty eyes and pitchfork lead me to think he couldn’t be trusted. He also appears to have a wizard’s hat in his hand so you never know what he might be capable of.

18. That’s more like it, doesn’t this guy look happy? Denmark’s OB Odense club presents their very own friendly feline, Victor Tigeren. Somewhat hallucinogenic in colour, Victor has a glint in his eye that tells you he knows the deal.

19. Hailing from Pogon in Poland, Gryfus is a king in his native land, as demonstrated by the extravagant headgear. Quite why he appears to be just posing in a local park is beyond me though.

20. To Germany then, and here is Champions League stage 2 virgins Schalke’s mascot Erwin the Shark. He’s friendly but if you screw him over, he will find and kill you.

21. Repping SK Rapid Wien in Austria, this guy’s having a ball…quite literally! LOLZ

22. Back to the Czech Republic then, and here’s Hinac, of the top flight side Slovan Liberec. It’s a pretty budget suit but 10/10 for effort. Is it just me or does the guy you can see peaking out look a lot like Louis Theroux?

23. Chilling out with the disabled is what Stuttgart’s cleverly named crocodile, Croc, is all about. He loves them…served with some fava beans and a nice chianti…

24. The life and soul of any party, Bully from SV Salzburg in Austria, is game for anything. Except the Macarena. He hates the fucking Macarena.

25. And so back to Poland for this dragon (I guess?) who’s down with Wisla Krakow and loves eating kids. Unfocused pupils, mouth hanging open, red in the face…yeah, this guy’s rushing his tits off.

And here finally are a couple of bonus items that might be of interest:

1. This cheeky chappie is the mascot for Major League Soccer big hitters, Chivas USA and is imaginatively named ChivasFighter. Looking a bit like a baddie from PC classic Doom 2, this guy is never seen without his faithful cheerleaders / fluffers, again creatively titled, the Chivas Girls. Enjoy!

2. This cool dude’s name is JJ (or Jay-Jay, or Jay squared) and he is the current mascot for the Michegan state Youth America soccer tournament. He has a range of cool and kitsch items that he can pose with (including nun-chuks and doughnuts) but here we’ve decided to have him sporting our personal favourite, the ‘Stalker Ex-Boyfriend’ look. And yes, he was almost certainly born when the event organizers found an old Cookie Monster outfit in the bin out back.

3. Altogether now, aaaaaaahhhhhh! These three nice fellows are the mascots for Japan’s most famous side Grampus 8, and go by the snappy moniker of Grampus-Kun…‘kun’ presumably being Japanese for ‘kru’ or ‘mandem.’

4. Shown here apparently eating a rather large bird of some description, Gecko is representing soccer team Miami Fusion for life. Extra kudos for the bulbous eyes and disturbingly lifelike scales.

5. Next up is an Oregon representative, known only as The Duck. A wild party animal, The Duck loves getting hammered with pretty much anyone, anywhere. Even with these two douchebags.

6. Now this guy I really want to hug. Named in true ghetto style, as is common in quaint little San Diego, San D. Panda loves hanging out with fans. Not this fan however though, he was the one that knocked her up and the alimony’s gonna be a bitch.

7. Cleverly called Sidekick, this spherical homeboy is Tampa Bay Mutiny through and through. Don’t let his smiling face fool you, this guy is a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off. No, seriously, he is literally a bomb (not to be confused with da bomb)

8. Sorry, I have absolutely no idea what this is all about, but the thing on the left makes me smile. Is it a tree? Is it a de-oxygenated vein? Who knows! Answers on a postcard please.

9. Again, sorry folks but this one’s another mystery. What team would possibly want a bowling pin for a mascot? Undoubtedly someone shit like the Tulsa Strikes who thought that associative puns were big in the mascot scene. They are not. Alliteration and phallic symbolism are where’s it at you cock-holster.