Fanfare for Filbert
He has led Leicester City's match-day celebrations for the past 20 years and tomorrow Filbert Fox is set to soak up the applause from the Blue Army when he marks his anniversary.
Players, managers and owners have come and gone, but Filbert is still going strong – cheering on the team from the sidelines and entertaining the crowd with his antics.
Tributes have been pouring in for the furry Foxes stalwart, who hasn't missed a single home game since making his first appearance in a First Division (Championship) game against Brentford, on September 19, 1992.
They are led by friend and fellow City legend, Alan "The Birch'' Birchenall, club ambassador.
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"I've probably been to more events and functions with Filbert than anyone else at the club," he said. "We had a great time in the early days with his fiance Vickie the vixen before their split.
"They were halcyon days, I can't believe it's been 20 years. He's a hero to all the Junior Foxes and to see the smile on their faces when he turns up is priceless.
"I may have been here 20 years longer, but I always play second- fiddle to Filbert.
"I've been to dos with City stars such as Gary Lineker and Emile Heskey when they've been outshone by Filbert.
"He's a massive part of our football club and it wouldn't be the same without him.
"He's our Filbert and I'm sure he will get a rousing reception when he takes centre stage at half-time against Hull tomorrow. It's his day and our chance to say thank you."
City aficionado and Mercury columnist Gary Silke is also a big fan.
"For me, Filbert is the best mascot around," he said. "He's got the best expression and when you look at him you just have to love him.
"If ever there's a dull moment in a game I often end up picking him out and watching him for a bit.
"He never fails to entertain and has got a bit of edge to him, too, which I like. He pitches it just right, not like the ones at some of the places you go to as a fan.
"Filbert's a regular geezer and he'll do for me!"
Lance Tomlyn, chairman of City's Independent Supporters Association, said: "Filbert does a brilliant job and he's great fun for all the youngsters.
"That's what it's all about really. You can't knock him."
Filbert was one of the first modern football mascots, following a tradition of earlier mascots which variously included small boys in school caps with labels hung around their necks naming a favourite player and wooden cut-out figures held aloft on a pole.
Fans were invited to come up with a name for him, with entries, pre-internet days, dropped into the "special fox box'' in the Filbert Street Club Shop.
Other suggestions included Septimus, (after the famous pre-war player Sep Smith), Engelbert, Felix, Fearless Fred and Bluey the Brush.
Club historian John Hutchinson said: "Filbert has outlasted 14 managers and hundreds of players and made numerous visits to schools and to a variety of organisations around the city and county. Twenty years ago after his introduction to the people of Leicester he is going from strength to strength."