The story behind Beau Brummie
The trend of mascots at football grounds began during the early 1990's when clubs up and down the country adopted fun, furry creatures to put a smile on young faces and generally help improve the atmosphere at games. Blues' first mascot was Bluenose, basically a blue blob with little hands and legs, which first appeared during home games at St. Andrew's in 1994. But three years later things took a marked turn for the better as the club introduced a new mascot by the name of Beau Brummie. However the Blues bulldog was not a revolutionary creation. He had in fact been invented some 31 years earlier.
When you next see the team troop out onto the St. Andrew's turf led by Beau Brummie as he leaps across the pitch in that groin-straining style, just remember it was not always this way.
Pre-match entertainment in the mid-sixties was pretty tepid stuff by comparison with today's Vegas-style razzmatazz. Before the team announcements at 2.55pm the fans were generally treated to 55 minutes of 'Record Requests' on 'Radio St. Andrew's' supplied courtesy of Carousel Records in Hay Mills and even that was criticised at times. "Why do you play so much pop music," wrote a Mr Alex Storey of Yardley to the matchday programme, "many supporters would very much like to hear some military band records or something like the Black & White Minstrels"!
But Saturday 29 October 1966 changed all that. With Blues lying 14th in the old Division Two - the club needed something to lift the spirits and the introduction of Beau Brummie as the new mascot provided just the tonic. Born two days earlier at the St. Andrew's Club, Beau made his debut in front of 17,626 against Blackburn and must have had some impact as the team managed a point thanks to a Malcolm Beard goal.
Beau was created on the back of the success generated by World Cup Willie during England's 1966 success. With the entire country still basking in the euphoria of England's historic achievement, many clubs recognised that commercial opportunities existed and set about creating their own individual identities too. Blues were not slow in coming forward commissioning Walter Tuckwell and Associates, a London-based creative agency who were the brains behind World Cup Willie himself, but it was a freelance associate by the name of John Barnett that can actually lay claim to being Beau's original creator, as depicted on the Blackburn matchday programme. Commercial activities at the time were limited to simple bingo or golden goal tickets, totes, one or two pitch perimeter boards, a couple of programme ads and, at St. Andrew's, the souvenir shop was a simple wooden souvenir hut which was located outside the secretary's office and only opened on matchdays.
The birth of Beau Brummie changed all that with the enthusiastic endeavours of David Exall and Denis Gilbert, the commercial pioneers at St. Andrew's, recognising that supporters were keen to identify with anything sporting Beau Brummie.
Beau was an overnight hit with fans young and old. The blue plastic 'sheriff stars' with insets of Geoff Vowden and Alex Jackson were now considered old hat and were quickly replaced by our new doggy hero portrayed on badges of all shapes and sizes together with rosettes, patches and car pennants. Roy 'Beau Brummie' Green sang about him on the pitch, with Blues fans joining in the chorus of "Beau Brummie, everybody loves him, Beau Brummie", and a new club shop heralding Beau's arrival was created on the ground floor of the Pools office in Cattell Road - an old house on the site of the present club superstore - and was fittingly named the 'Beautique'.
Beau had his own magazine 'Beau's Bulletin' which later became 'Beaunanza', and he was used extensively in advertising to promote the Pools Association. Inevitably a Beau Brummie Club was formed, the forerunner of today's Beau's Buddies and Blues Crew, and at one time was run by no less a famous Bluenose than Tommy Ross, as he was then known. In 1991 Beau was reborn on the back of the Wembley wave as Blues reached the final of the Leyland Daf Cup. The club engaged the services of local artist and long-time Blues nut Paul Jeffcoat, then of Central Graphics, to bring Beau's image into the 1990's by adding the name of the club sponsors, updating the style of kit, boots and ball whilst retaining Beau's original facial features, as created by John Barnett back in '66.
The new image was used on a myriad of souvenirs which featured Beau in front of Wembley's famous old Twin Towers and was used on mugs, hats, rosettes, t-shirts, sweatshirts, even inflatables which were the trend at the time. The Wembley bandwagon saw a whole new collection of Beau Brummie memorabilia, which also included the creation of 'Billy', Beau's son, who featured on a t-shirt with the wording 'My Dad's taking me to Wembley'.
Beau was brought ‘to life’ in furry form in the summer of 1997 and he appeared in public for the first time at the launch of the revamped ‘penguin’ kit at the club superstore, lining up alongside the ‘News Bunny’ from the now-defunct satellite channel L!VE TV. He subsequently bounded onto the St. Andrew’s turf for the first time in a pre-season friendly against Newcastle United in mid-July.In 2011 he was joined by his female companion Belle.
With his reintroduction in cuddly mascot form, Beau now plays an integral part in life at St. Andrew's with appearances on the pitch at every home game, along with other community and family-related events and his ambassadorial role for the junior supporters' clubs.