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LearnEnglish Sport

Introduction: Chelsea FC’s Mascot is a big furry lion called Stamford. He is named Stamford after the stadium
where Chelsea FC play their games - Stamford Bridge. I wondered what sort of person dresses up in a big, blue
lion costume? I certainly wasn’t expecting a pretty young woman....

How did you get the job as Stamford?

“Well, I used to work in the Chelsea shop – the megastore – and one day the manager said “Does anyone want
to be Stamford?” because the person who did it had left. It wasn’t a matchday, but they wanted Stamford to walk
around waving to all the people on the tours of the ground. Everybody else was like, “You are joking!” But I
thought, “Well why not, it’s just for one day.” So they said I did a good job. I didn’t know how I could have been
bad or good, you know, being a mascot, but that was eight years ago, and I’m still doing it.”

How was your first day in the job?

I remember my first time on the pitch ‘cause I was so nervous. They said “Right Tash, this is it now. Get your
suit on and get ready to go.” When I walked out and saw all the fans I was so scared. All I saw were these little
kids saying “Stamford! Stamford!” So I just started shaking everyone’s hand. I waved at everyone, gave some of
the children hugs and did a little dance. When I came off the pitch I couldn’t stop smiling. It was such fun I
couldn’t wait to do it again.

How long do you take to get ready?

Getting dressed as Stamford takes about five minutes, and the hardest bits are the boots. They are so big I
have to keep my trainers on inside them. I have to walk carefully so that I don’t trip over. It can also get very hot
inside the costume and so there is a little battery fan inside Stamford’s head!

Does everyone love Stamford?

Well its not always fun and games and sometimes it can even be quite painful! The kids sometimes give me a
playful punch or naughty kids can even try and hurt me with punches and kicks. Then there are the grown-ups
who shake my paw. Because they think there must be a big bloke inside, they really give it a shake!

Stamford is not loved by everyone! The away fans like to give me stick. Liverpool, Man U and Arsenal,
Newcastle are the worst, for some reason. They chant “Who are yer?” and I even get stick from home fans
sometimes. Don’t ask me why. It is really quite weird. But the players are great to me. John Terry always pats
my head and when the teams come on it is my time to go off. I get changed and I go and watch the game.
Sometime I get a bit nervous, but once I’m out there with all the kids, with a really big crowd, I love it and I am
part of it. I hope to do it forever.”

© The British Council/Sue Clarke Spring Gardens 2004

The United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We are registered in England as a charity.