BASINGSTOKE Town Football Club have unveiled their new signing – a seven-month-old puppy.
Doug the Pug, the World Cup tipster, put paw to paper on a one-year contract at the newly-named Soccer AM Stadium.
Instead of providing bite in midfield, the pint-sized puppy will predict the results of Basingstoke home games for the coming season.
Doug will make his predictions by choosing between treats placed on bowls that represent a win, loss or draw for Town, and his chosen scoreline will appear in the matchday programme.
As previously reported in The Gazette, Doug the Pug shot to fame this summer with his World Cup predictions for the Christian O’Connell breakfast show on Absolute Radio.
His owner, Basingstoke man Neil Ayling, said his latest role came after a conversation with Simon Hood, head of marketing at the club.
The 29-year-old said Doug is getting used to all the attention. He added: “When me and my girlfriend take him out for a walk, some of the kids in the area know him and will come over and say hello.
“Nothing fazes Doug really. He’s getting used to all of these photoshoots!”
Fans will be able to meet Doug the Pug on Saturday when Town host Woking in a friendly. Entry to the match is free. A special shirt is being made for him, with a squad number that will be retired.
The club, in Winchester Road, South Ham, has been raising its profile for the coming 2014-15 season.
Town signed a unique partnership with Soccer AM, the Sky Sports’ Saturday morning show, which saw the club’s ground renamed.
Town FC marketing chief Simon Hood said: “I thought Doug would be great because what I’m trying to do is to make the club more attractive for families, and having a dog as a mascot will hopefully achieve that.
“Some of the older fans have raised a few eyebrows. But it’s about getting exposure and trying to do something unique and different.”