Bradford Fanzoner Lee Norton provides one of the most entertaining blogs of the season, but he writes with serious intentions...
There's been a bit of a stir at Valley Parade over the last few weeks and it has nothing to do with our improved form on the field.
Health and Safety! It's something that is now dominant in the work place, often going too far, and now it seem, it's getting just as daft at football matches.
Lenny the City Gent
It recently came out that the Bradford City mascots had to sign a 'Code of Conduct' that ensured they behaved themselves, were politically correct and couldn't jeopardise the club in any way. This had a big effect on 'Lenny the City Gent'
I'm sure other supporters have noticed Lenny, he's a small, rotund man who walks around in a bowler hat carrying a briefcase. An odd mascot yes, but one that's been part of Bradford City since I can remember. Like any mascot Lenny's job is to get the crowd going but these new 'rules' have made his job extremely difficult.
Firstly, being slightly overweight, one thing Lenny used to do was to lift up his shirt and wobble his belly to the crowd. It's been part of Lenny's act for years, the supporters would chant for Lenny to show off his tummy, they'd wait in anticipation and cheer when he obliged. It was a bit of fun, a bit silly but it did no harm. He's no longer allowed to do this because it 'incites the crowd'.
Also, Lenny used to buy a large bagful of small sweets (wrapped up penny chews) and walk around the stands throwing these out to children. The club didn't provide these sweets, Lenny had to go and buy them himself, and as a child I remember waiting for Lenny to come to my stand so I could get some free sweets. Lenny is now forbidden to do this!
Why? Well because of Health and Safety grounds of course. A sweet that has been thrown into the stand could hit a small child in the eye and blind them. Also the rush of children trying to catch the sweets could cause a stampede and again cause injury. Either way, Lenny isn't allowed to throw anything into the stands anymore.
Now in my personal opinion this is absolutely ridiculous. I don't blame the club entirely, it's mainly down to the 'where there's a blame, there's a claim' mentality in society these days, and I guess the club are just trying to protect themselves but it's ludicrous!
A rush of children could cause a stampede? Well when we score a goal we jump around and cheer like crazy, surely that's more dangerous than a few children trying to catch some sweets? Are they going to ban celebrating a goal on Health and Safety grounds?
A flying sweet could injure someone? Well what about the footballs? They get kicked into the crowd a number of times during the game, and at some speed too. Aren't they more likely to injure someone? Surely they need to do something about that?
Well apparently so, because both before the game and at half time against Burton at Valley Parade there was a tannoy announcement... "Will supporters please be aware of flying footballs" - sigh, I give up!