As you can see, Gully looked rather different in its early 1990s form:
In the Seagulls News Autumn Edition 1991/92, the origins of Gully, the Brighton & Hove Albion mascot, was revealed:
Gully has been brought to life at the Albion by Mike Cuerden, the newly-appointed Press and Public Relations Manager.
Last year the character was used for the first time as a cartoon character in leaflets produced by Albion’s Lifeline Club.
Said Mike: “There was a good reaction to the character and I thought the club could benefit if the character
became life-size and was able to appear at various functions.”
He added that it was important that Gully should become a warm and friendly character which would enable the fans to identify with the image which “we at the Albion want to portray”.
“We are a friendly club who care very much for our fans, and if this enables us to get over the message all the better,” explained Mike.
According to the PR Manager, Gully also has an important role to play in ‘warming up’ the crowd before the kickoff. The appearance of Gully by the ‘dug-out’ heralds the arrival of the teams, encouraging enthusiastic support.
And to top it all, the magazine then shattered a million childhood illusions by revealing that Gully was a mere costume worn by a young woman:
The secret is out! Gully, the Albion’s friendly, feathery mascot, is pretty 24-year-old Alison Norris.
The cheeky Brighton character introduced at the Goldstone Ground at the beginning of the season has become the darling of the fans and an established part of the soccer scene.
Performing different roles is no new activity for Littlehampton-born Alison, who went from her local comprehensive to the Cardiff Drama School six years ago.
“I really enjoy playing the part of Gully and I look forward to the home matches so that I can don the outfit and go out and about around the pitch,” said the slightly-built actress.
Alison, who currently manages a local restaurant, explained that she has appeared in plays ranging from dramas to comedies. She has already written six shows that have been performed for children and young adults.
“When I was asked to do Gully I was delighted,” explained Alison, who added: “I love making children happy and there is no doubt that Gully is a real personality that the fans look forward to seeing at home matches.”
It takes Alison just five minutes to don the outfit that consists of yellow tights, plastic feet, body outfit and head.
She added: “I’m getting to know many of the fans by name now. They even feed Gully. They have found out how to push sweets and crisps through the beak!”
* And just a quick reminder: This blog is coming to an end as a daily blog in 49 days, on 25th June 2014. The entire archive will remain online, and there will be occasional new posts but it won’t be a daily beast any more!