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Lion given marching orders

Reading mascot Kingsley Royal will wait to find out the extent of his ban having been sent from the field of play by referee Mike Riley during Reading's 1-0 home win over Newcastle United.

Kingsley Royal is sent off
Mike Riley dismisses Kingsley Royal

The giant lion, who wears Reading's blue and white hooped shirt at home games, was sent off by the referee because he was confusing him.

"I can see where the referee was getting confused," said Reading manager Steve Coppell after the game. "He does look like so many of my players."

Not the first

Kingsley is the latest in a long line of football mascots to fall foul of referees.

QPR's seven-foot feline mascot Jude the Cat was sent to the stands in similar circumstances in February 2005.

At the time Rangers chairman Bill Power came out in fierce defence of Jude. "This is a terrible injustice. We'll fight to clear Jude's name," he told the BBC.

Jude himself expressed concern over a touchline ban, but said that wasn't his worst fear.

"I've been told my smoked salmon and cream might be taken away. I'll be back on KiteKat and semi-skimmed milk."

Back in 2000, an assistant referee became embroiled in a row with Oldham Athletic's supersized owl mascot, having flagged the owl offside on more than one occasion. The owl had to go.

Dumbarton's mascot holds the record for quickest sending off, trotting in for an early shower after just four minutes when its yellow jersey was adjudged to clash during a game with Raith.

Robbie entertains

Michael Owen and Mike Riley
Newcastle's Michael Owen defends the lion

But the true champion of mascot dismissals is Bury FC's Robbie the Bobby who - ironically, given his appearance as a policeman - found himself sent off three times in as many months in 2001.

Robbie's third dismissal, during a game against Bristol City, came following a 30-yard dash and belly-flop when Bury scored from the spot.

The Bobby proceeded to pull his infamous "moon" celebration at supporters, leading the official to dismiss him for "stupidity".

He had been sent off for the same celebration against Stoke earlier in the season, and had walked a second time for a fight with Cardiff mascot Barclay the Bluebird.

He narrowly avoided a fourth red for pulling the ears off Peterborough's rabbit mascot.

Fans' favourite

At the moment it's unclear what penalty Kingsley will face, but fans have many memories of the lion's previous escapades.

'1871 Royal' suggests this may not be Kingsley's first dismissal, alluding to an occasion when the lion saw red for "handling the ball".

Although 'Royal Lady' suggests Kingsley deserved to see Reading captain Graeme Murty sent off for a violent attack on the lion.

"Murts flattening him has got to be up there," she says. "Especially when his head came off."

'Forbury Lion', who ought to have particular sympathy for his fellow big cat, adds Kingsley should previously have been cautioned for play-acting.

"He was play-fighting before one game and pretended to go down. He was on the ground for quite some time, not moving, and after about 15 minutes - when the team were out of the tunnel - a number of us in the stands were actually concerned.

"He might have been in need of urgent medical attention and was being ignored by officials because he was a big, furry lion. Just as I went to speak to a steward, though, he got up."

last updated: 30/04/07
 
Have Your Say
Did you see Kingsley get sent off? Did he deserve it? What sort of punishment does the lion deserve? Let us know your thoughts.
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jack
i was there...the ref shouldnt have sent him off...how can you mistake a lion for a human ?

Deano
Kingsley for PM. He is always messing about is our kingsley, greatest mascot in the world. Haha saw the match very funny.......

rob
that lion is nothing on syril the swan, but i think kingsley should be made to watch from the stands for the next match

max
i belive he should be let back out into the wild, its not healthy for a lion to stand on his back legs while being forced to watch fottie by his captors

Steve
I'm so glad Riley's working the West Ham-Bolton game this weekend.

Mr Angry
The incident summed up Riley's pathetic performance last night; just how stupid was he to go running across the pitch, 2 mins before half time, to send off a mascot! A quiet word at half time would have had the same outcome and let Riley keep what small remnants of respect and dignity he has left, intact.Of course, it would have meant that he wasn't the centre of attention, but hey, no-one could possible suggest that Riley enjoys the limelight........

RoyalsFan1469
I don't think he should have got sent off, he should have ,maybe been given a yelow card. You can't get confused, he jas a huge furry head, which I don't think any of the players have!

Vernon
This is another rediculous decision by an out of touch referee.....but steve coppell has seen through the lunacy and made light of it all.If the ref can't tell the difference between an 8ft hairy lion wearing reading a shirt, what hope is there for a accurate decisions!

Philip
I think Mr Riley needs to get a life. Next it will fans sent from the ground if they are wearing club shirts because it looks like to many players on the pitch. Maybe the FA need to look at this and set some ground rules so clubs & officials know the score.Come on Mr Riley see common sense and drop the case!!!!!

Harry Hobnob
Disgraceful decision,i will be reporting Mr Riley to the RSPCA.As for Kingsley give him lines,"I must stay by the corner flag only".

Peter Rudd
I had a good view of the incident. The linesman had given the ball out of play when in fact it had not crossed the linbe. Kingsley was merely pointing this out. He was being picked on because he has better eyesight then the match officials!

Dean Midas Maynard
Keep going Kingsley you are a legend in Reading.

pete west berks
what would it take to get kingsley on as a sub in the last minute of the game?

Barry Webb, Kaitaia, New Zealand
Poor Mr Riley, normally having no difficulty in showing the red card, had to result to sending off a Kingsley, a lion mascot, just because he couldn't find a player to send off instead.....sad enditment of the referee standard of the Premiership

buffunit
Its rubbish absolute pathetic like ive said before the referees a blind goose

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