Minor British Institutions: Sammy the Shrimp

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The Independent Online

Of all the absurd mascots that populate English soccer, perhaps the strangest is the Southend United character, Sammy the Shrimp.

Most mascot creatures – birds, lions, bears, say – have the advantage that they can be plausibly impersonated by a human being, having just the four limbs and a recognisable head.

Trying to turn a human being via a funny suit into a crustacean has left the Southend team with a mascot that looks like nothing in particular except for a passing resemblance to a grand wizard of the Ku-Klux-Klan. Still Southend and its fans – or The Shrimpers as they are sometimes known – are proud of their maritime heritage and Sammy has been with the club for decades, though he apparently went missing for a time in the mid-1990s.

Perhaps because of his slightly forbidding appearance, Sammy has now been joined by a new mascot, Elvis J Eel, another selection from the 1981 Division Four Champions' seafood platter.