The Sweeper: Mascot on the mat

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The Independent Online
Name: Poacher the Imp.

Club: Lincoln City.

Appearance: White hair, large ears, toothy smile and horns.

Crime sheet: During the last two seasons the referee has, on two occasions, had to insist that Poacher leave the touchline and head off up into the stand. The problem is that Poacher wears the Lincoln strip during matches and this throws the linesmen into confusion, especially when it comes to making offside decisions. "It's been suggested that Poacher, who stands 6ft 6in with a head 3ft in diameter, should be easy to distinguish from the players," said a spokesman for the club. Whether the officials are myopic, or whether the players have some peculiar appearance-altering pre-match snack, we do not know, but identification appears to be a problem. Poacher's only alternative might be to strip off during a game but, given his description, perhaps it wouldn't be prudent.

In mitigation, your Honour: Poacher has been an Imp for the community for some time and has done great work for local charities. His greatest moment was leading out a long line of mascots from across the country before the last England Under-21 international at Pride Park, Derby.