My Awesome Experience as a Mascot for Barnsley FC.
A few weeks ago my Mum told me back here in my home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that I could be the Barnsley mascot at the Doncaster Rovers game for my 10th birthday. I was so excited at that moment! When I was at the Blackpool game, (Boxing Day) I found out I could do the Leeds game too! I was able to do it twice! I could not wait till New Year’s Eve. On the morning of Dec.31st we got to Oakwell Stadium at 11am. I got to meet all the players! We got a signature sheet that this really nice guy called Laurie gave us, so I could get the autographs of everybody there. Even Toby Tyke! Laurie took us through the players’ tunnel, and into the change rooms. Some of the players were practicing skills or just kicking the ball about. Some were having physio done. I had my photo taken with most of them, and with Keith Hill and David Flitcroft. They were both really nice.
About 1 hour before the game we came out on the field and kicked the ball about for quite some time. The other Barnsley mascot and I, even Toby tyke, were taking the ball off the Leeds mascot. It was fun! Later on I got a photo taken for the front page of the Barnsley Chronicle.
It was then time to return to the tunnel and I joined Jacob Butterfield (who didn’t say very much!) and the Leeds captain. As we started leading everybody out I remember the crowd getting really noisy, especially people in the Barnsley stands. We went out on the pitch and shook hands with the referees and all the Leeds players. We had an official photo taken on the half way line. Then it was time for the game to begin, and what a game it was! 4-1!
Later that night everybody was calling me the “Lucky Mascot!” It was a super, awesome, great, incredible day!
Two days later it was my 10th birthday, and the day we headed over to Doncaster. I borrowed my cousin’s away shirt (the white one), but I wish I had had my ski jacket because it was freezing, even for me! It was a lot colder than Saturday. The experience was a lot different (they gave us a free match programme!) and they showed us round the Stadium and the press box, (TV and radio people) but I didn’t get to kick a ball out on the pitch. I had a photo taken with my name on the score board. My Mum was happy because she had her photo taken with an old Barnsley goalie called Lee Butler who works for Doncaster – she says he was happy too because nobody wants a picture taken with him anymore!
We did meet some of the Barnsley players, but only a few because we did not have much time. Keith Hill and David Flitcroft remembered me from the Leeds game and they were very nice to me again. One funny thing was when we were getting Andy Gray’s autograph: in the programme it listed Barnsley’s “6 of the Best” and he was not in it so my Mum said in a funny way “Andy you can sign it anywhere you want because you are obviously not one of the best!” Keith Hill heard this and started laughing really hard! I think Bobby Hassell was laughing too.
After that we went into the referees’ room to ask them questions about refereeing. The main referee (Michael Oliver) looked really young. The guy who was taking us round talked to us about the Respect campaign then it was time to lead the teams out again, this time with Bobby Hassell as captain. I was shivering as we shook hands with the Doncaster players and the game didn’t make me feel any better as we lost 2-0. NOT the best birthday present!
All the mascot experience was fantastic! I will always remember that time. Especially because my Mum has been supporting Barnsley for over 30 years and never got to do it, while I have been supporting Barnsley for a few years and got to do it twice. This has been great fun. Thank-you to everyone who helped make it happen.
Photographs curtesy of Keith Turner Images and Cat Jacobs