UEFA has just announced its disturbing new mascot for the 2016 Euros. The kind of abomination that haunts a thousand nightmares.
The mascot is clearly a soft continental type – wearing gloves, soft! What’s next, a snood?
According to UEFA, the mascot is “just an ordinary kid, like so many others!” An ordinary kid wearing boots with glow-in-the-dark studs. He was born in “a small town in France.”
There’s some nonsense about him wanting to be as good at football as his dad was – just sign the kid up for therapy now!
“For me the most important thing when playing football is to have fun and play fair!” Excessive use of exclamation marks too! Oh well.
Anyway, UEFA is now asking us mere plebs to help name the mascot. The great unwashed have three options to choose from:
- Goalix – which is either a character from the Asterix books, an anti-diarrhoea treatment, or someone who uses too many words when scoring a goal.
- Super Victor – which is a top-of-the-range Australian lawnmower.
The mascot will have its own social media accounts. Monitored by his fictitious parents, of course.
Moving to the antipodes, the mascot for the AFC Asian Cup (to be held in Australia in 2015) has been unveiled. Not that he was ever veiled, but you know what we mean.
His name is Nutmeg, and he has the appearance of a drunken, leery wombat who picks fights with corner flags.
We’re not living in a golden age of mascots. Mascots once had an innocence and simplicity about them – perhaps even an absurdity.
What do we have now?
CGI renderings of imagined French children with daddy issues.
Wombats who would feel up your girlfriend in a nightclub.
Here’s the mascot from the 1980 Euros:
Pinocchio was the very first Euro mascot. A puppet who dreamed of being a boy, as opposed to a computer-generated cape-wearing creation born deep in the uncanny valley.
It’s not just Pinocchio’s clean design and lack of social media accounts that are appealing – it’s the simple ball by his side. It’s undeniably a soccer ball, not a volleyball or whatever it is that Driblou/Cacofonix/Victa is punting.
Complaining about the mascot smacks of old age and a sort of bitterness unique to men of a certain age. We long for a time when our knees didn’t hurt and no-one fussed over our cholesterol.
But it’s more than that – it’s about being in love with the game. Will anyone ever be nostalgic about Nutmeg? Only in an ironic sense. As for our glove-wearing friend from the French countryside…
The good news is that dodgy mascots won’t prevent anyone from falling in love with the game. But that love will be put at risk by corrupt, incompetent and ignorant football administrators. Let’s hope the game never has any of them, eh?