Tag Archives: Football Mascot

Scrap Book Project – British Birds, The Robin

IMG_4155

In 1960 the Times Newspaper conducted a poll to identify Britain’s favourite bird.  Not surprisingly, the Robin had a landslide victory and as a result there was a campaign to have it adopted as Britain’s national bird.  The Government however did not respond to the concept (the Tories were in power at the time and this had no benefit for the rich people in the country) and Britain remains therefore without an official avian representative!  As a sort of consolation the Robin was used as a symbol of a Bird Protection Society, but only for a few years before because this was discontinued after a short while.

Unlike most other woodland and garden birds, the robin rarely migrates abroad and is probably for this reason that we associate them with Christmas, taking a starring role as they do every year on thousands of Christmas cards.  The Robin has also appeared on a complete set of Christmas postage stamps in 1995 and before that in 1966 in a ‘Birds of Britain’ set.

An old English folk tale seeks to explain the Robin’s distinctive red breast and legend has it that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the Robin, then simply brown in colour, flew to his side and sang into his ear in order to comfort him in his pain.  The blood from his wounds stained the Robin’s breast, and after that all Robins got the mark of Christ’s blood upon them.  The robin’s red breast is often assumed to play a role in courtship but in fact it is purely used in defence because despite their distinctly cute appearance Robins are fiercely territorial and will defend their patch to the death.

All the birds of the air                                                                                                                    fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,                                                                                                   when they heard the bell toll                                                                                                      for poor Cock Robin.

In the birds of Shakespeare,  the Robin (or the Ruddock) gets three mentions, in Cymberline, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Henry IV part 1.

Because their home colours are red at least eight English football clubs are nicknamed ‘The Robins’.  Only one other bird is the nickname of more than one club and that is the Magpie, so the Robin is rather over represented in this respect.  Here is my list, but there are probably some more:

West Bromich Albion            Throstles (Song Thrush)

Norwich City                           Canaries

Newcastle United                    Magpies

Notts County                           Magpies

Leeds  United                          Peacocks

Sheffield Wednesday             Owls

Crystal Palace                          Eagles

Cardiff City                               Bluebirds

Swansea City                            Swans

Torquay United                       Gulls

Brighton & Hove                     Seagulls

Kiddermister    Town             Harriers

and the Robins are: Chetenham Town, Swindon Town, Bristol City, Wrexham, Altincham, Ilkeston Town, Bracknell Town and Selby Town!

None of these nicknames though are as interesting as my favourite.  Hartlepool United are known as the Monkeyhangers because during the Napoleonic wars the residents of the town allegedly mistook a monkey for a Frenchman and strung it up from the town gallows.  According to local folklore a French ship was wrecked off the coast and the only survivor was a monkey, wearing a French uniform.  On discovering the monkey, some locals decided to hold an impromptu trial on the beach and since the unfortunate animal was unable to answer their questions (and many locals were unaware of what a Frenchman may look like) they concluded that the monkey was in fact a French spy and had it put to death.

In the list of nicknames there are no Great Tits I notice, although it is almost certain that most clubs, or their players, will be referred to as such at some time during a season.  In the world of Rugby League Hull Kingston Rovers are called the Robins and so is the Swindon speedway team.

Other famous Robins are the Boy Wonder in the Batman comics, the Robin Reliant car and of course our most famous hero of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood!  There is a story that in the DC comic ‘Batman’ the name ‘Robin the Boy Wonder’ was inspired by the Errol Flynn movie ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ but other theories about Robin’s origin have instead often said the name comes from the bird, which neatly explains the red tunic.

This is my dad’s page about Robins:

_____________________________________________

Other posts about birds:

Blackbirds

Collared Doves

Dunnock

Fat Balls

Mozart’s Starling

Robin

Seagull

Starlings

Starlings in the USA

Vinkensetting

_____________________________________________

British Birds – The Robin

IMG_4155

In 1960 the Times Newspaper conducted a poll to identify Britain’s favourite bird.  Not surprisingly, the Robin had a landslide victory and as a result there was a campaign to have it adopted as Britain’s national bird.  The Government however did not respond to the concept (the Tories were in power at the time and this had no benefit for the rich people in the country) and Britain remains therefore without an official avian representative!  As a sort of consolation the Robin was used as a symbol of a Bird Protection Society, but only for a few years before because this was discontinued after a short while.

Unlike most other woodland and garden birds, the robin rarely migrates abroad and is probably for this reason that we associate them with Christmas, taking a starring role as they do every year on thousands of Christmas cards.  The Robin has also appeared on a complete set of Christmas postage stamps in 1995 and before that in 1966 in a ‘Birds of Britain’ set.

An old English folk tale seeks to explain the Robin’s distinctive red breast and legend has it that when Jesus was dying on the cross, the Robin, then simply brown in colour, flew to his side and sang into his ear in order to comfort him in his pain.  The blood from his wounds stained the Robin’s breast, and after that all Robins got the mark of Christ’s blood upon them.  The robin’s red breast is often assumed to play a role in courtship but in fact it is purely used in defence because despite their distinctly cute appearance Robins are fiercely territorial and will defend their patch to the death.

All the birds of the air                                                                                                                    fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,                                                                                                   when they heard the bell toll                                                                                                      for poor Cock Robin.

In the birds of Shakespeare,  the Robin (or the Ruddock) gets three mentions, in Cymberline, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Henry IV part 1.

Because their home colours are red at least eight English football clubs are nicknamed ‘The Robins’.  Only one other bird is the nickname of more than one club and that is the Magpie, so the Robin is rather over represented in this respect.  Here is my list, but there are probably some more:

West Bromich Albion            Throstles (Song Thrush)

Norwich City                           Canaries

Newcastle United                    Magpies

Notts County                           Magpies

Leeds  United                          Peacocks

Sheffield Wednesday             Owls

Crystal Palace                          Eagles

Cardiff City                               Bluebirds

Swansea City                            Swans

Torquay United                       Gulls

Brighton & Hove                     Seagulls

Kiddermister    Town             Harriers

and the Robins are: Chetenham Town, Swindon Town, Bristol City, Wrexham, Altincham, Ilkeston Town, Bracknell Town and Selby Town!

None of these nicknames though are as interesting as my favourite.  Hartlepool United are known as the Monkeyhangers because during the Napoleonic wars the residents of the town allegedly mistook a monkey for a Frenchman and strung it up from the town gallows.  According to local folklore a French ship was wrecked off the coast and the only survivor was a monkey, wearing a French uniform.  On discovering the monkey, some locals decided to hold an impromptu trial on the beach and since the unfortunate animal was unable to answer their questions (and many locals were unaware of what a Frenchman may look like) they concluded that the monkey was in fact a French spy and had it put to death.

In the list of nicknames there are no Great Tits I notice, although it is almost certain that most clubs, or their players, will be referred to as such at some time during a season.  In the world of Rugby League Hull Kingston Rovers are called the Robins and so is the Swindon speedway team.

Other famous Robins are the Boy Wonder in the Batman comics, the Robin Reliant car and of course our most famous hero of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood!  There is a story that in the DC comic ‘Batman’ the name ‘Robin the Boy Wonder’ was inspired by the Errol Flynn movie ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ but other theories about Robin’s origin have instead often said the name comes from the bird, which neatly explains the red tunic.

This is my dad’s page about Robins:

_____________________________________________

Other posts about birds:

Blackbirds

Collared Doves

Dunnock

Fat Balls

Mozart’s Starling

Robin

Seagull

Starlings

Starlings in the USA

Vinkensetting

_____________________________________________

World Cup Willie

In 1966 England won the Jules Rimet Football World Cup and the official mascot for the team was a Lion called World Cup Willie who wore a Union Flag shirt of red, white and blue.  In hindsight this was strange because this was England that were playing and not the United Kingdom, but as none of the other home nations were in the finals I suppose England generously believed that they were representing Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

Embarrassingly England’s first defeat after the World Cup was against Scotland at Wembley in 1967 and the Scottish team that included the footballing legends, Denis Law, Jim Baxter and Billy Bremner promptly declared themselves the new World Champions.  Sadly for them it didn’t work like that, it still doesn’t  and let’s face it they never will.  Yellowstone Crater will explode long before Scotland will win the World Cup, with or without independence.

World Cup Willie had a World Cup song that was not unsurprisingly called World Cup Willie that made number one in the hit parade and was sung by Lonnie Donegan (born 29th April 1931) who was the first person to become famous playing skiffle music in the UK.  He was a guitar and banjo player who also played the washboard and the tea-chest bass and who had a lot of chart success in the 1950s and early 1960s.  Anecdotally it was Lonnie who supposedly  inspired John Lennon to learn guitar and form his first group, The Quarrymen.

What is strange about Lonnie singing the English World Cup song however is that although he was brought up in East Ham he was in fact born in Scotland.  I wonder where his loyalties were when Scotland beat England in 1967?  Apart from ‘World Cup Willie’, Lonnie is probably best remembered for another number one hit called ‘My old man’s a dustman’.

There’s a football fellah, you all know his name                                                               And the papers tell us he’s in the Hall of Fame                                                          Wherever he goes, he’ll be all the rage                                                                                ‘Cause he’s the new sensation of the age

Dressed in red, white and blue, he’s World Cup Willie                                                   We all love him too, World Cup Willie                                                                                 He’s tough as a lion and never will give up                                                                      That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup Willie,                                                            Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup

Well, we’re all football crazy and it’s plain to see                                                              That we’re all so happy, like one big family                                                                       Now we’ve found someone who makes the rafters ring                                               Welcome to a brand new soccer King

Dressed in red, white and blue, he’s World Cup Willie                                                   We all love him too, World Cup Willie                                                                                 He’s tough as a lion and never will give up                                                                      That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup Willie,                                                            Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup

All the fans are waiting, how they’ll spur him on                                                              And those sixty nations will soon know Willie’s song                                                         Wherever he goes, he’ll be all the rage                                                                             ‘Cause he’s the new sensation of the age

Dressed in red, white and blue, he’s World Cup Willie                                                   We all love him too, World Cup Willie                                                                                 He’s tough as a lion and never will give up                                                                      That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup Willie,                                                            Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup

A Life in a Year – 29th April, Lonnie Donegan and World Cup Willie

In 1966 England won the Jules Rimet Football World Cup and the official mascot for the team was a Lion called World Cup Willie who wore a Union Flag shirt of red, white and blue, which was strange because this was England that were playing and not the United Kingdom, but as none of the other home nations were in the finals I suppose England generously believed that they were representing Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

 Embarrassingly England’s first defeat after the World Cup was against Scotland at Wembley in 1967 and the Scottish team that included the footballing legends, Denis Law, Jim Baxter and Billy Bremner promptly declared themselves the new World Champions.  Sadly for them it didn’t work like that, it still doesn’t  and let’s face it they never will be.

World Cup Willie had a World Cup song that was not unsurprisingly called World Cup Willie that made number one in the hit parade and was sung by Lonnie Donegan (born 29th April 1931) who was the first person to become famous playing skiffle music in the UK.  He was a guitar and banjo player who also played the washboard and the tea-chest bass and who had a lot of chart success in the 1950s and early 1960s.  Anecdotally it was Lonnie who inspired John Lennon to learn guitar and form his first group, The Quarrymen. 

What is strange about Lonnie singing the English World Cup song however is that although he was brought up in East Ham he was in fact born in Scotland.  I wonder where his loyalties were when Scotland beat England in 1967?  Apart from ‘World Cup Willie’, Lonnie is probably best remembered for another number one hit called ‘My old man’s a dustman’.

There’s a football fellah, you all know his name
And the papers tell us he’s in the Hall of Fame
Wherever he goes, he’ll be all the rage
‘Cause he’s the new sensation of the age

Dressed in red, white and blue, he’s World Cup Willie
We all love him too, World Cup Willie
He’s tough as a lion and never will give up
That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup
Willie, Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup

Well, we’re all football crazy and it’s plain to see
That we’re all so happy, like one big family
Now we’ve found someone who makes the rafters ring
Welcome to a brand new soccer King

All dressed in red, white and blue, that’s World Cup Willie
We all love him too, World Cup Willie
He’s tough as a lion and never will give up
That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup
Yes! Willie, Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup

All the fans are waiting, how they’ll spur him on
And those sixty nations will soon know Willie’s song
Wherever he goes, he’ll be all the rage
‘Cause he’s the new sensation of the age

All dressed in red, white and blue, that’s World Cup Willie
We all love him too, World Cup Willie
He’s tough as a lion and never will give up
That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup
Ev’rybody!
Willie, yes Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup
One more time!
Willie, Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup