Why Banbury United have turned to wild animals such as penguins, lions and alligators to stop pitch invaders

Philip Hibblein Football

What began as a way of deterring rabbits and crows from damaging the pitch has turned into an unusual fundraising initiative for Banbury United.

Banbury United have made 2D images of monkeys, penguins, lions, kangaroos and alligators.

Over the summer months, rabbits were invading the pitch and crows were badly damaging the grass. It was becoming a real problem.

As one of the volunteer groundsmen, Roger Davis decided to create some 2D cut-outs of cats and a couple of foxes.

The cats were placed around the pitch while the foxes were placed in front of each goal - and it seemed to work!

Now the club have made 2D images of monkeys, penguins, lions, kangaroos and even alligators.

The cut-outs were made using redundant hard polystyrene advertising boards seen usually around the pitch perimeter.

Left: Roger Davis, BUFC volunteer with the grounds care team, with one of the fake foxes.

Mr Davis said: "Thanks to a very enthusiastic and determined commercial director, Mark Allitt, the football club is fortunate to have enjoyed fantastic support from the local business community and, over the years, has acquired a number of out-dated or damaged display boards.

"Difficult to dispose of environmentally the boards proved to be ideal material for creating animal art at Banbury United.

"This season was the first time in 47 years that Banbury United had reached the first round of the FA Cup.

"Despite losing the match (against Canvey Island) and with no spectators present, the animal art was clearly seen on the telly and attracted a lot of attention afterwards."

People wanted to purchase the 2D images of monkeys, penguins, lions, kangaroos and alligators as ornaments for the garden and work place - so Mr Davis was soon busily cutting out more shapes and painting them to order.

"The most popular image was of a wolf howling at a full moon followed by the monkeys", he said.

"Unfortunately, I quickly exhausted the supply of old advertising boards but not before raising just over £200 for the club.

"If only I had more material for creating the images I could have probably made much more, especially with Christmas coming!

"Some of the offcuts have been turned into Santas and Rudolphs and, if we ever get supporters into the stadium again, they will be available from the club shop. Plus, a Christmas cracker for the first team!"

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