new frontiers (issue 8)

Bootham The Bear

When I was a young lad, big games at Bootham Crescent were always marked by the appearance of 'Mr Buttons', I believe his real name was Nobby Clarke. He dressed in a white suit, covered entirely in brightly coloured buttons and carried a walking stick. He was a sort of lucky omen.

I believe the tradition dated back to the 1954/5 cup run for I only ever remember him appearing at FA Cup games. His appearances always geed up the crowd, especially those who remembered City's previous cup glories. Unfortunately, the tradition died with 'Mr Buttons'.

'Mr Buttons' got me thinking. Why don't City adopt a new life size mascot. Several clubs have similar mascots. Sheffield Wednesday have their 'Ossie The Owl' and Leicester have 'Filbert The Fox'. I remember going to see City play at Wimbledon in the late 1970s. I was greeted by their mascot, a life size Womble.

Earlier this season I was at Stamford Bridge to see Chelsea play Liverpool. Before the game, Chelsea's mascot 'Stamford The Lion' was on the pitch, in goal, with some of Chelsea's junior supporters trying to score against him. Incidentally, they were more successful than the team. As the big kick off approached, off they all trooped. Stamford reappeared leading the teams out onto the pitch. He participated in the pre match warm up and had his photo taken with the officials, captains and mascots.

He was hero worshipped by all of Chelsea's junior fans, and provided a bit of light hearted pre match entertainment for the more mature Chelsea supporters.

I'm sure that Chelsea must use his image to market the club. His image must adorn a whole series of souvenirs. Mugs, clothing and posters to name just 3. His cuddly image appeals to the young supporter, attracting them to the club in the first place and then retaining their interest as their passion for Chelsea develops over the years.

It started me thinking. How could York City benefit from such a mascot? Unfortunately, the nickname The Minstermen and York City didn't immediately conjure up many memorable images. Mad Minty, Young Yorkie, Yorkie The Terrier, The Red Lion and Bootham The Bear being my best efforts.

However, I think it is more important to get the image, rather than the name, right. After all, who would have thought that Mr Blobby would become a household name?

What do you think? Should York City have a life size mascot to help promote and market the club? What could he (or she) be called and how would he / she be used to promote and market York City? Would you like to be the person inside the outfit? Let New Frontiers know, or, better still, speak to Sheila Smith, City's commercial manager on 0904 645941.

As ever, new frontiers ahead of the game, thinking ahead.


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