Thankfully, I'm back again and in attendance at the Cheltenham game today. If you were to pick up one of Martin Brodetsky's lovingly-fashioned matchday programmes today - you would see the below article within. Although he'll probably have censored slightly the bit about me not believing in Jesus. Cos he's a Militant Methodist, if you didn't know†.
The article below has a very tentative link to football though, if I'm honest.
Today we welcome our near-neighbours from the near-WestCountry, The Robins of Cheltenham Town. They will surely be made slightly more welcome than some other Robins might be, perhaps.
The visit of today’s red-breasted friends made me wonder something - why are so many teams nicknamed the Robins exactly? Bristol City, Swindon and Cheltenham all sharing the same moniker; all from nearby each other in the WestCountry, to boot. So what is it about a scrawny little red-breasted bird that makes it such a popular club mascot/logo/nickname anyway?
|A Christmas Robin. Ahhh (SHOOT IT!).|
Well, OK, I had a 5 minute look on Wikipedia. But that’s good enough research for today’s quick-fingered, surface-not-scratched society, I say.
First up, I couldn’t find any special reason why the WestCountry seem to love their Robins any more than other regions. So sorry about that. If you really want to find out and are willing to fund my research accordingly, please send a cheque to the Campaign for Archive Searching Hunts (or ‘CASH’ for short), to the club marked for my attention.
I can tell you about the general popularity of the Robin though. Sit down – it’s interesting.
According to Wiki, the robin has always featured prominently in British folklore, especially around Christmas when other birds flew south for winter, but the stoic British Robin stuck around to dart amongst holly and mistletoe with us. In the 1960s, the Robin was even adopted as the ‘unofficial national bird’ of the UK.
Away from Britain, the Robin was also held to be sacred to the mighty Thor, god of thunder in Norse mythology. That might help explain why Jan Aage Fjørtoft decided to spend a few productive seasons at the wrong end of the A420. He thought he was playing for the glory of Thor. Silly boy!
|Fjørtoft: In service of Thor.|
But The lowly Norwich Canary, Newcastle & Notts County Magpies, the West Brom Thrush and the Swift* amongst others – all these little birds make appearances on Football League club shirts.
Some of you might say “Yes, but its obvious why Newcastle and Notts County chose Magpie – because they play in black and white stripes you silly man!”
But I say to you – would not the Badger be a better mascot? A big old scary-clawed, sharp-toothed, TB-riddled Badger seems more fitting to strike a bit of fear in the opposition as a sporting mascot than a mangy old shiny-thing hoarding, unlucky bird, wouldn’t it?
|Angry Badger: Watch out Mackems!|
And yes, that quote was also from Wikipedia, I haven’t actually read the book.
Anyway, back to today’s game! You’ll just need to turn the page to read about that.
Up The U’s!
† He's not really.
*Brownie points for you if you can name the club with the swift on their badge. You are very clever.