Friday, 8 March 2013

My Lucky Mascot

We welcome back guest blogger Colin Gray who shares his experience of being the proud father looking on while his son is a mascot for the team at the Derby County game ...
Picture courtesy of @JayTheEagle
In my last article for The Eagles Beak, I wrote about how, for me, Palace and football is a family affair. With that exact thought in mind, I hit the M1 last Friday with my Dad and my son (who I'd pulled out of school early - with his teacher's permission!).

We were headed to Derby where we would meet my brother-in-law (a life-long Villa fan) and my friend & fellow 'Bucks Eagle' @JamesBoult and his wife Charlotte. I wouldn't quite call them family, but they're bl**dy lovely people.

The Derby game was my son's big night. His 9th birthday present. Alongside a full CPFC away kit, he ripped open the wrapping paper to find a home-made certificate confirming he'd be the Palace away mascot for what was rapidly turning out to be an important match. After a quick stop at KFC (yes, totally rank), we arrived at Pride Park just before the 5.45 deadline. From the moment we arrived, the staff were lovely. They took us around the ground for a quick tour, a few free (soft) drinks and then finally we got to pop into the away changing rooms.

What struck me was just how lovely the players all are. Jonny Parr and Jedi were basically in their pants as we stuck footie cards under their noses, which were happily signed. We talked to Moritz about the pet crab named after him. A real bonus was bumping into the gaffer on our way out. Ollie was polite, focused and a getting to say 'hello' was a real pleasure. What struck my lad was just how buff and athletic professional footballers are. He's been inspired to exercise every day and watch what he eats. A real bonus given today's news about sausages...

After that we headed out to the pitch where the little mascots got to have a kick about. The Derby girls grabbed the Palace players on their way back from their warm up to have a quick photo with my lad. He then headed into the tunnel alone. He got a little lost in there. Other kids in Palace home kits (that we were playing in that night) turned up. He panicked. Saw Wilf leave the changing late and in his excitement (he desperately wanted to walk out onto the pitch with Man United's bright new prospect) shouted "Wilfie". He was ashamed with himself for that but thankfully Wilf didn't seem to mind.

Of course, my camera broke on the night and somehow my Dad has managed to lose his. But those memories will be with us all to the end of our days. The icing on the cake was winning the game, despite a somewhat shambolic performance. Turns out, I breed tortoises, turtles AND lucky Palace mascots!

I should take this opportunity to thank the lovely Derby County staff and our very own @LiamCPFC for making the magical night happen.

Be loud. Be proud. Be Palace.

Article by Colin Gray @ColinGray1970


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