Mascotgate – The Final Word

The Arsenal first-team has suffered a massive social media pile-on in the last 24 hours, following a well-intentioned Twitter post from the club showing the players signing a shirt held by the mascot for the game at West Ham as she looked wide-eyed at her heroes. What the players didn’t do in this clip was seem to acknowledge her in any way.

I don’t know his football allegiances, if he has any, but being a media personality you’d think he’d know the pitfalls of offering his opinion on a short video offering the briefest of snapshots of the mascots experience on her special day – I’ll return to this later.

Taken out of context that possibly looks bad. And of course it was taken out of context and copied liberally on Twitter, first by some pretty awful click-bait blogs, and then by the BBC’s own Nick Knowles (from DIY SOS I believe).

You might have guessed that TalkSport would pick up this Twitter furore, and so they did.

What’s disappointing is that, from what I understand, Arsenal supporter Laura Woods availed herself of their own sticking in of the boot. This is disappointing not just because she supports Arsenal and should be shouting down the clowns that pervade that channel, but because one of her previous jobs in the media involved her working in the area of the players tunnel on match days and she will absolutely know that this video was not representative of the experience of the Arsenal mascot at any game.

I guess when you take the dollar of the reactive phone-in type of radio show then you end up toeing the line.

How do I know that the matchday experience of the Arsenal mascot isn’t accurately shown in the video? Well the answer is simple – my nephew has been one.

At Sunderland in 2012, the final game of Thierry Henry’s second spell (at which the great man scored the last minute winner) our Freddie was the Arsenal mascot.

Like every other Arsenal mascot he was given the time of his life by Arsenal (and Sunderland). He met the players in the dressing room, had his photo taken with everyone, then was taken on to the pitch by the club photographer Stuart MacFarlane for more photos with the players.

Anyone who goes to watch Arsenal, home or away, will see this happening at every single game.

Freddie then led the team out with Robin Van Persie on to the Stadium of Light pitch, lined up with them for the pre-match formalities, and then met the Sunderland skipper and match officials at the coin-toss. Stuart took more photos. Then Freddie joined the family in the away end for the game.

Arsenal gave him a full away kit for the match. They sent through the photographs taken by Stuart.

He had an amazing, never to be forgotten day as the Arsenal mascot. And it didn’t cost a thing – as a member of the Junior Gunners he was selected at random for the day of his life.

The way in which the Quy’s, Debs Wakeford, Sue Campbell and others ran the Junior Gunners has thankfully remained part of the clubs main values.

Most of the other clubs charge for this experience, and it isn’t cheap – West Ham had 10/11 kids there the other day whose parents had paid literally hundreds of pounds each for the privilege.

A friend of mine had to pay for her boy to do the same thing at Spurs a few years ago, 500 quid plus, and she then had the option of buying a match ticket for herself to accompany the lad!

Now back to Mr Knowles and his Twitter platform, given to him by his role in the BBC, and his irresponsible use of it – all a bit Lineker, this.

He was tweeted by the father of the young girl who was the Arsenal mascot in the video. In this tweet we found out that she’d had a brilliant day and loved every single minute.

Mr Knowles has not apologised, nor has he deleted his own tweet that caused the pile-on to Arsenal’s players overnight. In a week where Bukayo Saka has once again been abused online for missing a penalty (and these idiots claim to follow Arsenal, albeit from afar) it shows a frightening disregard from someone who also lives in the public eye to ignore the power of social media as a stick with which to beat someone.

Shame on you Mr Knowles.

Dover Marksman


2 thoughts on “Mascotgate – The Final Word

  1. Bill Tyson

    Thanks for clarifying this but it still looks bad.

    Those that put this sort of thing out at Arsenal should have considered about the context of such before posting as even I, a “blood-runs-red-and-white” diehard arsenal fan was sorely disappointed.



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