Uproar as tiger dons leather skirt

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The Independent Online

Not since Luis Figo, the world's most expensive footballer, switched sides from Barcelona to rivals Real Madrid for £40m this summer has there been such an uproar about a football club employee moving.

Not since Luis Figo, the world's most expensive footballer, switched sides from Barcelona to rivals Real Madrid for £40m this summer has there been such an uproar about a football club employee moving.

The protagonist this time, however, is not so much a lion-hearted player as a tiger. Roary the Tiger, to be precise, the mascot of Hull City, who has startled his fans by announcing that he is quitting the club and will next be appearingin the guise of Alexander the Greek, the skirt-wearing mascot of Third Division rivals Exeter. The historic move is believed to be the first ever transfer of a mascot.

The move came about after Hull played in Exeter on 17 October and a member of Exeter's commercial team talked to Roary, a 29-year-old painter and decorator known as Robbie in real life. "We haven't had a mascot for 10 years and have had some trouble recruiting one. I think it's the leather skirt they have to wear," an Exeter spokeswoman said yesterday.

"We were just asking him what kind of duties he performed and what qualities were needed. A couple of days after the game we got a phone call from him saying he fancied a change and asking if the job was still open. He's coming for a trial on Saturday and we'll take it from there."

Roary said: "I am a life-long Hull fan but the deal was too good to turn down."

Roary was once thrown out of a ground for stamping on an opposition supporters' scarf, and on another occasion had a set-to with Cyril, Swansea's rabble-rousing giant swan.

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