Sammy the Stag hangs up his antlers after 13 years of service.After 13 years of fantastic service, Doug Carroll performed the role of Sammy the Stag for the final time at last Saturday’s home game versus Portsmouth at One Call Stadium.
Doug, whose first game in the costume was a pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest in July 2002, has witnessed many memorable moments over the years.
Ahead of his final game, we asked our departing Sammy the Stag, the following questions:
Why are you leaving? I’m hanging up the antlers as I’m too old. If I was your pet, you’d have me put down.
Best moments? There are quite a few! Finishing the London Marathon in the torrential rain and then finding out that the material I had lined the inside of the head with contained pesticides – I wondered why I was ill for over a week afterwards. Another was completing the bike ride from London to Amsterdam last year for prostate cancer.
Funniest moments? Watching ‘Stevo’ (Mark Stevenson) trying to ride his bike from London to Amsterdam after a training programme of twice around the car park and then setting off on a bike ride over 150 miles. Another was joining the ‘Haslam Out’ march and joining the fans on the training ground, only to turn round and see Keith Haslam standing there looking out the window – I think he wanted me stuffing that day. Finally, when Harrogate Railway’s mascot ran off with the FA Cup at a game in 2007/08 and I chased him behind the BBC TV pundits, caught him and then ran back towards our fans – all of this was whilst the pundits including Carlton Palmer were trying to have a serious debate.
Any unexpected moments? My arrest at Meadow Lane (Notts County) and the threat that Sammy would be charged with inciting a riot if any complaints were made by their fans.
Your dream team? Marriott, Hassell, Baptiste, Hjelde, Barratt, Lawrence, Murray, Sellers, Corden, Greenacre, Barker. Subs: Pilkington, Curtis, Robinson, Day, Williamson, Disley. The manager would be Billy Dearden.
Best game? I would have to say the 2003/04 play-off semi-final games against Northampton Town, when there were 9,243 inside our stadium.
Doug said: “I’m proud and honoured to have been your mascot for the last 13 years. We’ve been through some high and low times, but one thing stays the same and that is that we’re all Mansfield Town fans and should be proud of it.
“I’d like to say a big thank you the SSA – one of the unsung heroes of the club. They’ve given Sammy tremendous support over the years and have helped to re-build him on more than one occasion with their generous contributions.
“A big thank you has to go to Football in the Community. Every game I see young adults, who when I started doing Sammy were the children that attended their activities. Many of these kids may never have become Stags fans if it hadn’t been for them, so long may their work continue.”