Jamie Bryson was football mascot

Published Thursday, 07 February 2013
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Loyalist Jamie Bryson played the role of Northern Ireland's football mascot just weeks before emerging as chairman of the Ulster People's Forum, amid the ongoing flags dispute.

Jamie Bryson was football mascot
Jamie Bryson at a flag protest and dressed as the NI football mascot. (© Pacemaker)

Mr Bryson donned the costume of 'Footie' for the World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in November and paraded around Windsor Park clapping and waving at supporters.

The Irish FA said the 22-year-old, who had previously been on work placement with the association, had filled in as a last minute replacement for the regular mascot, who was unavailable.

A statement stressed that it was a one-off and added that Mr Bryson had never been involved in any of the IFA's community relations projects.

"The Irish FA can confirm that Jamie Bryson was Footie mascot at the Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan game on 14 November 2012," it read.

"The regular mascot was unavailable for the game and his replacement took unwell on the afternoon of the game and Mr Bryson stood in at the last minute. This was a one-off."

Mr Bryson emerged as a leader of the loyalist Ulster People's Forum in the wake of the dispute over Belfast City Hall's flag policy.

The council voted to restrict the flying of the Union Flag to 18 designated days last December, prompting a series of protests across Northern Ireland, some of which have been followed by violence on the streets.

Footie the mascot is used by the IFA to promote local football and for a number of public relations events, including its cross-community Football For All campaign.

The costume is usually worn at matches by Ian Hughes, brother of Fulham and NI defender Aaron Hughes, but he was unavailable ahead of the Azerbaijan game.

When his replacement took ill the IFA sought a work placement volunteer and Mr Bryson, who is understood to have been going to watch the match, took up the role.

The statement from the football body continued: "Mr Bryson is not involved in, or has ever been involved in any of the Association's Community Relations projects."

When asked about it on Twitter, Mr Bryson replied: "Does it really matter?"

© UTV News
Comments Comments
44 Comments
sean.d in belfast wrote (657 days ago):
lmao,,,this cant get any better,we've had upside down flags,no surrender woman, Jamie and his magic head the ball,we've also had the red telly tubby marching into Belfast city center week 3.Please no more ,i cant take it.
Aoibhm in Belfast wrote (657 days ago):
William i would not give SF my vote. I am of the belief that people should be able to do what they want but when it comes to the illegal protests then the PSNI should be doing more and Jamie is a laugh. My facts are true. Ask anyone who had attended Irelands rugby matches they will tell you the same. Now honestly tell me that you have been to a 6 counties match and have not heard the lovley songs they sing. Now where do you think a catholic would feel safer. I hope this will help you understand things better.
utv wise up in n/abbey wrote (657 days ago):
WHY IS THIS NEWS SO WHAT HE WAS A MASCOT HOW MANY PEOPLE ON HERE MAKING COMMENTS LIVE PERFECT LIVES NEVER DRESSED UP FOR A PARTY GET REAL DON,T EXPECT THIS TO BE PRINTED AWAY TO GET A COSTUME
william in coleraine wrote (658 days ago):
aoibhm i dont believe you, all very conveniant for you to say that isnt it? look at the republicans commenting here. so full of naivety. what exactly has jamie bryson done again except for lead a few silly protests which are dying out. this coming from from the supporters of the great innocent sinn fein.
Fed up in Newtownabbey wrote (658 days ago):
l think Mr Bryson should stick to being a football mascot. He is the self proclaimed leader of the Ulster Peoples Forum. If he is serious about helping the loyalist cause, put himself forward as a candidate in next city council election.If he gets elected, take his seat in the chamber and help the community he claims to speak for, from within the democratic process, instead of shouting his demands from the outside. If he does not want to do this, please go away and let the people who are serious about solving the problems get on with it. It is a difficult enough job for all those involved without having to deal with him and Willie Frazer shouting from the sidelines!
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