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.


  1. I phink Mr Wenger needs to adopt you as the Arsenal Mascot.

  2. You have a pawesome Mascots Museum, I really enjoyed the sport exhibition. hugs

  3. Wow - dat's a whole lot of mascots.

  4. Thank you for this pawsome post, Kolo, I really enjoyed it!!! And I feel honoured for being mentioned!!!
    Your collection is sooooo fascinating, you should think about running a football museum!!! My favourite is the World Cup Willie TV snowglobe!!! And I see Goleo is sitting in the Arsenal cups, to hide his naked bum... I guess, that's the best thing for him to do!!! ;-)
    But now, my dear Kolo, let me ask you one question - are you crazy??? You really think your collection is boring?! We want to learn more about it!!! And of course do we want more pics!!! Pics!!! Pics!! Pics!!! ;-)

  5. Wow, Kolo (and Leroy) this is so cool! I had no idea you had such pawesome collectible stuff. It really is fascinating. ...I wonder what the mascot will be for when @marshallsheldon and @happpiii play you and @schnille in the World Cup..? BOL!

  6. Yes, post more pictures! I like your collection!

  7. Hi,
    If you don't mind me asking.. Where did you get the Spheriks? I've bee looking all over for the same ones you have, but no luck so far...