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Wednesday, September 8, 1999 Published at 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK


Desmond the Dragon loses his cool

Swansea's Cyril the Swan was fined for bringing game into disrepute

A clash between football mascots caused a pitch punch-up when Desmond the Dragon hit Freddie the Fox for cocking his leg against his rival's goalpost.

Rochdale Football Club's Desmond, played by its handyman Patrick Robinson, objected so much to the Halifax Town mascot's antics that he punched him on the snout in front of 4,000 fans.

Mr Robinson, who was led away by Greater Manchester Police from Rochdale's Spotland Stadium, may face public order charges.

Freddy, better known as Kodak district manager David Wells, 33, said: "We were pushing and shoving each other on the field after the prize draw at half time.

"I'd pulled Desmond's tail as we walked round the field so he pushed me. I thought he was joking so I pushed him back."

'Tail between his legs'

He added: "I think he got egged on a bit by the Rochdale fans and he pushed me again.

"I ended up in the goal, so I cocked my leg up against the post because that's what foxes do."

The six-foot father-of-two from Nelson, Lancashire, said he warned Desmond that "Freddy was bigger than him", and that he would "come off worse".

"He slunk off with his tail between his legs," he added.

He said he gave the police a description of a "bloke with long whiskers, big pointy ears and a bruise on his nose".

Cyril fined for celebration

A police spokesman said: "Desmond has been reported for a summons. No decision has yet been made on whether one will be issued, and no charges have been brought."

Rochdale director Richard Bott said: "I'm disappointed that the incident has become a police matter."

But Halifax Town had the last laugh - they won 1-0.

This is not the first time that football mascots have caused controversy on the pitch.

Cyril the Swan was banned from the touchline and fined £1,000 for a single-handed pitch invasion last April.

Swansea City's 9ft-tall crowd-pleaser was charged by the Football Association of Wales with bringing the game into disrepute after celebrating a home goal by dancing on the pitch.

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