Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Kolo and Leroy talk about mascots

As most of you know I live in the same house as my friend Leroy (@Leroy_Sealion on Twitter). Leroy is very keen on sports mascots and he is a sports mascot himself, self-made in his case as he was not born to be a mascot, he took his inspiration from the first world cup mascot ever the great World Cup Willie who was the mascot for the 1966 world cup tournament held in England and won by England (our only win).

Leroy is so inspired by sports mascots that he and I have started our own little football mascot collection, it could even be called a museum. You can see three World Cup Willie lions that we collected, they are all 44 years old but as you can see they have had very different lives, the middle one is very delicate but the others, two different models of Willie are much better preserved. Our collection started with a badge and a picture of Willie signed by Geoff Hurst who scored in the world cup final for England. You can see that Willie's picture is guarded by two of the more recent world cup mascots Goleo from the world cup in Germany in 2002 who my friend Mookie (@Schnille) tells me is not popular in German because he forgot to put his shorts on, of course Willie did not make such a mistake back in 1996. Yes the Goleo's are sitting in Arsenal mugs which may not be to suitable but that suits us.

Many great souveniers of Willie were produced and we are fascinated by them they are so representatitve of the 1960s when they were produced, alarm clocks that tick so loudly that you couldn't possibly sleep with them in the room, you can see one above, money boxes (people used to save up their coins in those days to buy things) and my very favourite a snowstorm (snowglobe to my US friends). What could anybody want better than this. I looks like a 1960s television set and when you shake it glitter comes over the screen. The background is the famous Wembley Stadium in which England won the world cup. When this arrived the water was stagnant after more than 40 years but we emptied it out and put fresh water in, unfortunately a lot of the glitter came out with the water but we still love it its just so 1960s and Willie looks so great.

This toffee tin is a great favourite of mine. Can you imagine people making something like this now? It is all tin and is absolutely wonderful. The toffees were eating long before we got it but its a wonderful object. I wonder what the toffees were like, lovely I am sure but not nearly as wonderful as the tin.

Well Willie was just the first mascot for a world cup but every world cup since then has had its own mascot or even mascots so Willie is a trail blazer for sports mascots. In 1970 when England went to Mexico Willie dressed in a sombreo and went off to Mexico with the team. You can just see him dressed up like that in the picture of the card signed by Geoff Hurst above.

Now we have a great tradition of football mascots and we hope that the South African mascot Zakumi will be able to live up to that tradition. You can see him in the back. We have a small version of every world cup mascot that there has ever been apart from World Cup Willie (1966) we have Juanito the chubby Mexican boy (1970) who is probably not as smart in his sombreo as Willie was in his; the twins Tip and Tap from Germany (1974), Gauchito from Argentina (1978), the smiling orange Naranjito from Spain (1982), the Mexican Chilli pepper Pique (1986), Ciao the sophisticated Italian mascot (1990), Stryker the US footballing dog (1994), Footix the French cockerell (1998), Ato, Katz and Nik the happy aliens from Japan and Korea (2002) and of course Goleo the German lion (the first lion after Willie, 2006). Zakumi is a leopard lets see how leopards measure up the great mascot tradition.

I wish I could tell you more about our mascot collection and show you more pictures but I don't want to bore you too much! We wish Zakumi luck for his job in South Africa in 2010 and we are really looking forward to a great world cup.

Monday, 15 March 2010


I am happy to announce the winner of the adopt an animal competitor from Amazon Adventure on the Isle of Wight. http://www.amazonworld.co.uk/about_animal_adoption.htm .
The winner was chosen by random number generation. I couldn't possibly have made a choice between the entrants because I wanted all of you to win.

The winner is our friend Ruthi, aka @Flicka47. Ruthi is choosing her animal I am sure she will let everyone know when she has made the choice.

Congratulations to Ruthi I hope you will enjoy your animal adoption and let us know all about it.
For everyone else thank you for entering, please look out for next prize and have a go again, you never know when it might be your turn to win.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Hi Folks

After the success of the donkey prize I decided to offer a similar but different prize this time. The winner will be able to adopt an animal of their choice from http://www.amazonworld.co.uk/ which is also on the island where I live. The winner will be able to choose their animal to adopt and they will get a certificate of adoption, their name on the animal's cage or enclosure, a regular newsletter and a free ticket to visit their animal and the other animals in the centre. I realise that not all of you would be able to use the free ticket but you would still have the satisfaction of adopting an animal and all the other benefits.

Like last time please leave a comment on the blog saying why you would like to adopt an animal, maybe even which species of animal you would choose. The winner will be chosen at random as before and announced on the Monday after the pawpawty.

Go on everyone have a go and good luck!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Some of my Twitter friends also know my friend/brother/housemate Leroy Sealion and some of them have wondered why somebody who is clearly a lion calls himself a sealion. If you are one of them you are not the first people to ask that very sensible question. Why indeed? Leroy has asked me to do a special blog post to explain this strange phenomenon.

Before you can understand the answer to that question there are a few things you need to know:
  1. Leroy has been with my person for a long time (25 years)

  2. Leroy is a serious football fan and a keen supporter of England as well as Arsenal

  3. Although the English invented football England have only won one major football trophy, the World Cup in 1966 when the world cup was held in England

  4. In 1996 England hosted the European Championships and many people were convinced that England would win

  5. English football players wear a badge on their shirt with 3 lions on it.

Right now you know all of that you have a chance of understanding this complex explanation of Leroy's strange status as a sealion.

When England hosted the European Championships in 1996 Leroy and our people lived in London quite near to Wembley stadium so the event was very big for them. Leroy and his brothers Henry (Sealion) and Lenny (Sealion), yes Leroy is not the only lion who is known as a sealion, decided to set themselves up as England's support mascots the Three Lions. They wore their England kits and sat in front of the television watching every game and sending positive brainwaves to the team. You can see them here in their England shirts. Leroy is on the left, Henry in the middle and the bigger one on the right is Lenny. Of course as Leroy thought of the idea he is the captain of the squad.

In addition to Leroy starting his mascot squad a song was released to celebrate the tournament, called 'Three Lions on a Shirt', for any of you who haven't heard it a quick listen might help you to understand the rest of this strange explanation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CVgBtkN0Jc it is quite an amusing song and you will find yourself singing it straight away. I am sure English readers are very familiar with it!

A young relation of ours who is grown up now and denies that this ever happened, used to think that instead of singing 'three lions on their shirts' they were singing (yes you guessed it) 'sealions on their shirts'. This made some of the friends, who were already living with Leroy by then, tease Leroy and his brothers and call them the sealions. At first Leroy was not very happy about this, but as he says "if you can't beat them join them". He has embraced the name and uses it, not only as the name for his mascot squad, but also as his own name, although he is really Leroy Martin and could have signed onto Twitter as that he chose to sign up as Leroy Sealion so there you are he is happy with the name, his brothers use it too, as Henry says "it makes us unique and everyone wants to find out about us because of our strange name".

So now you know, and in June/July 2010 I will be enjoying the World Cup with the Sealions, this is their 7th major tournament, both World Cups and European Championships, they work very hard on their support for the team and I for one hope they see success in their efforts to help them do well in a tournament one day.