The storied life as a Mascot
It's not every day you get to sit down and talk with a man who spends his Saturday afternoons dressed as an imp, winding up opposition fans and missing penalties at half time. Gary is Lincoln City mad.
In his 16 years of wearing the outfit, social media wasn't really a thing, behaviour wasn't regulated, and you could get away with just about anything - how it should be, right?
When Gary banged his Impish outfit on, he'd become a different entity. So much so, that he has even wrote a book on it - 'Suited and Booted', which is how he came to our attention.
An imp, in layman's terms (or Lehmann's to football fans), is 'a small, mischievous devil or sprite', and Gary became just t
his every time he donned the outfit. A rather shy, unassuming gent with mild manners and an affable demeanour would become a full blown menace - sticking his fingers up at the Scunny fans or pulling off the Grimsby Town mascot's head.
An imp, in layman's terms (or Lehmann's to football fans), is 'a small, mischievous devil or sprite'
His best story stems from a game against Swansea back in the day, with a certain Lee Trundle (for younger football fans, imagine Erling Haaland. Only better. And fatter) the brunt of the joke.
Poacher, whom we have now revealed to be Gary, started leathering penalties at a blow-up sheep in front of the Swansea fans... very obvious, but very good banter we'll all agree. Now add to the fact that he'd written 'Mrs. Trundle' on the sheep, and we can't believe we'd never heard of it before. Genius. Brutal. Savage. That's just Gary. It's worth adding that 'the game's gone'... you'd never get Gunnersaurus doing that these days.
He's more likely to help you find your seat or do a forward roll for no reason at all - pathetic.
The attention nearly got to Gary's head, though. He'd propelled himself into Lincolnshire superstardom. He'd be on nights out and he couldn't escape the women.
He'd propelled himself into
The fame that comes with being a lower league mascot is something to envy as well. Gary met his fair share of women through his friend, Lenny the Lion (Shrewsbury Town's mascot), and the two of them got up to no good in towns like Yeovil, Crewe and Wrexham on a regular basis.
Don't mention Sammy the Stag (Mansfield Town) to Poacher the Imp, whatever you do. "He was an a*seh*le him". They didn't stay in touch, but it's a dog eat dog world out there.
The future of mascots
It takes some thick skin to brave the outfit as well. 'Who's the paedo in the suit' still echoes in Gary's ears. It also gets proper hot in that suit and you become public enemy number one for away fans and players - putting yourself in the firing line... quite literally in Gary's case - as Darlo's Barry Conlan whalloped one right at his face on his 29th birthday.
There's no free reign for them, they can't get away with anything these days...
When we spoke about the future of mascots, sadly Gary only sees it going one way. There's no free reign for them, they can't get away with anything these days, and are more tools for club commercialisation than they are representations of the fans. Bring back Gary and co, we say.