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Roy Hodgson issues Harry the Hornet with a stinging warning not to provoke crowd against Wilfried Zaha by diving

Eagles boss slams 'disgraceful' taunting from Watford mascot in the past and says his main man Zaha is no diver

Roy Hodgson has given “disgraceful” Harry the Hornet a stinging warning – telling the Watford mascot not to provoke fans with more Wilfried Zaha antics.

Eagles boss Hodgson fiercely defended Zaha and berated Harry for mocking the pacy frontman with elaborate dives in previous heated confrontations.

Harry the Hornet has been brought back down to earth with a bump after a blasting from Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson

PA:Press Association
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Watford mascot Harry the Hornet has been brought back down to earth with a bump after a blasting from Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson

Ahead of Palace’s trip to fourth-placed Watford on Sunday, Hodgson issued what might well be the sternest rebuke ever from a Premier League manager to a mascot.

He said: “You ask me if Harry the Hornet should dive in that way. I think it’s disgraceful.

“That’s not what football matches are about. And certainly if it’s provoking the crowd into looking for something that isn’t there it should be stopped.

“Wilf Zaha does not dive.. Sometimes he gets knocked over or unbalanced without it necessarily being a foul or a penalty because he runs at such speed and has got such agility with the ball. But he certainly doesn’t dive.

Wilfried Zaha lost his cool with Harry the Hornet at Vicarage Road over Christmas 2016 and hopes to let his feet do the talking this time

Getty Images - Getty
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Wilfried Zaha lost his cool with Harry the Hornet at Vicarage Road over Christmas 2016 and hopes to let his feet do the talking this time

Palace manager Roy Hodgson wants clubs to ensure they do not have misbehaving mascots

Getty Images - Getty
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Palace manager Roy Hodgson wants clubs to act against misbehaving mascots

“But unfortunately teams try to take every advantage they can.”

Hodgson is clearly keen for football to stamp out mischief-making mascots.

He told reporters: “You’ve mentioned the mascot. I would be very disappointed if the Crystal Palace mascot was doing something like that to provoke a crowd against an opponent. And if I found out about it I’d stop it.”

Zaha’s alleged diving was all the buzz in football for a while.

And the attention peaked in December 2016 at Vicarage Road when he he was furious to be booked for simulation near the end of a 1-1 draw.

Zaha then had to be hauled away by Palace’s coaching staff at the final whistle after Harry the Hornet threw himself to the ground near the Ivory Coast star.

Wilfried Zaha had to be dragged away from a confrontation with Watford mascot Harry the Hornet

Reuters
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Wilfried Zaha had to be dragged away from a confrontation with Watford mascot Harry the Hornet

Seething Sam Allardyce, who was in his first match as Eagles chief, reacted remarkably similarly at the time to how Hodgson has now.

Allardyce said then: “The mascot is out of order because it could have produced the wrong reaction.

“It’s up to Watford to sort it out but the FA and Premier League can look at that and do what they want to do about it.”

Wilfried Zaha was booked for diving after going down under this challenge from Miguel Angel Britos

PA:Press Association
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Palace Wilfried Zaha was booked after tumbling under Miguel Angel Britos in December 2016

Meanwhile, Hodgson is tipping Zaha to get even better in front of goal – a month after Palace fought off interest from Tottenham to tie him to a new five-year contract.

Hodgson said: “Wilf is an enthusiastic trainer.

“He is working hard on his goal scoring this year. I have noticed a big difference in intensity when he has goal scoring chances.”

Now it’s up to Zaha to blow his own trumpet and keep Harry the Hornet silent.


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