The excitement of a new football (or soccer, for our North American readers) season can quickly be thrown into turmoil when things don’t proceed quite as expected.
When the EFL Championship (one down from the Premiership) in England started on 4th August, West Bromwich Albion fans didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when their new club mascot was revealed in the season’s opening game against Bolton.
The result of West Brom’s lucrative new two-year sponsorship deal with Ideal Boilers bounded onto the field, to general disbelief. Not for them a valiant lion or a cuddly version of the song thrush featured on the team’s badge. Instead, a large, eyeless, combi-boiler with legs was seen trying to rouse the fans and take part in, ahem, warm-up exercises.
Ideal Boiler’s logo is now emblazoned on West Brom’s match shirts and training kit and the larger-than-life ‘Boiler Man’ mascot will be seen at all matches, no doubt hoping for a warm reception from fans.
All the usual talk about “shared founding principles” of “quality, innovation and value” trotted out by West Brom CEO, Mark Jenkins, disappeared under the weight of comment from bemused fans. One was even reduced to Tweeting that “it took less than one match for the new West Brom mascot in the boiler suit to think 'what am I doing with my life’?”.
Wets Brom may have lost at home 2-1 to Bolton (mascot, Lofty the Lion), however, on the Wildean premise that ‘there’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about’, the other teams in the EFL Championship are going to have to try so much harder now to capture the column inches. Any ideas for an appropriate mascot for London club Millwall and this season’s main sponsor, TW Drainage?