The Fit and Proper Mascot Test

How it’s supposed to be done: Wrexham’s first ever mascot.

Tonight’s match might be our first game against Darford on their own patch, but it isn’t the first time we’ve played in Dartford, funnily enough.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s we went there three times to face Maidstone United, who had been promoted to the Fourth Division but weren’t in the best of financial health and had to rent Dartford’s old Watling Street ground. It was hardly a mutually beneficial arrangement, it would seem, as eventually both clubs would go out of business as United’s tenancy ended.

We did alright at Maidstone, but my clearest memory of them has nothing to do with a Wrexham game: what must have been one of the most bizarre sights you could imagine played out before The Stones kicked off their first ever Football League match in Dartford.

One of my mates in University was a big Maidstone fan. He was a mature student, in his late twenties, with a huge black beard and a bit of a tummy on him. He was about six foot two as well: hold onto this image as it’s heading somewhere!

After Maidstone were promoted from the Conference they held a raffle to decide who would be the mascot for their historic first match at that level. Clearly they didn’t think to put an age limit on the competition. I’d imagine you’re a long way ahead of me now: that’s right, my mate won!

The image of this Captain Haddock lookalike walking out alongside the Maidstone captain, who was probably shorter than he was, amuses me greatly. He told me there’s a picture of it, but trawling the internet hasn’t borne any fruit. I’d love to see it as, to top the image off a treat, apparently he’s holding the captain’s hand in it! The bemused look on the poor bloke’s face must have been a picture: he’ll never forget leading his side out for their first Football League match!

So keep an eye out for who’s leading the teams out tonight: if the Dartford mascot towers over Dean Keates, there’s something going on! You never know, maybe that’s the way they do things in Kent.

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