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Club News

Ron Millar - aka Lenny the Lion - retires

5 September 2023

Club News

Ron Millar - aka Lenny the Lion - retires

5 September 2023

Shrewsbury Town would like to wish Ron Millar - aka Lenny the Lion - a happy retirement after he decided to step down from his role as our club mascot.

One of the longest-serving mascots in the Football League, Ron first put on his suit 30 years ago and has been a regular at home matches ever since. 

The businessman runs Castle Banquet sandwich shop and Castle Cobblers in town – with increasing demands to the mascot role and pressures away from football leading him to call it a day. 

With Lenny being at the heart of so many memories - and as a thank you for all his hard work – the club are making Ron a life member of Shrewsbury Town Football Club ensuring he will still be at the Croud Meadow every matchday. 

Looking back on three decades as Lenny the Lion, Ron said: “I’ve loved my time as Lenny - it’s been absolutely brilliant. 

“It was back in 1994 I started when, for a laugh, I thought it would be funny to dress up as a penguin. 

“There was a game where there had been heavy snow and all the supporters came down to help clear the pitch. 

“We had a player called Darran Rowbotham at the time who would do a daft penguin walk if he scored a goal. 

“He was one of the first players to really have a celebration for when he scored and the other players would go behind him and do it as well. 

“That celebration and the snow made me think: ‘I’m going to get a penguin outfit and - if he scores – I'll run on the pitch and do the walk with him.’  

“I just thought it would be a bit of fun.  

“At the same time we had another player called Dick Pratley. He picked up quite a serious injury so he would work in the community. 

“He got a bucket of sweets and some leaflets and told me to give them out to kids to let them know what was going on in the community. That’s how it all started.” 

 

AMA761904.jpgUnderstandably, Shrewsbury fans were a bit confused why the club suddenly had a penguin for a mascot. 

“Radio Shropshire did a show asking why Shrewsbury Town had a penguin as a mascot,” Ron continued. 

“They tracked me down and I went into the studio to talk about it. There was then a phone-in to find out what would be more suitable.  

“Everyone said lion and eventually we called it Lenny. 

“I agreed to do it but only for a week or two. I hired a suit from a fancy dress shop – I’ve actually still got the original suit. But I put it on and thought: ‘I quite like this - it’s great,” 

“The kids absolutely loved it; mascots were still a fairly new thing back then but you could see it brought them so much joy. 

“And I also got on great with the players. I used to get injured players coming up to me asking to wear the suit. Sometimes the supporters had no idea there was a player inside. 

“Luke Rogers was one that had a go at it – lots did just for a laugh.” 

As well as games, Ron has attended numerous events as Lenny including school fetes and even christenings. 

And he is still going to wear his Lenny the Lion suit from time to time – with the Lion now the mascot for Ron’s Exiles bowls team who play at Greenfields Bowling Club. 

“I’ve never been paid a penny but I’ve never wanted a penny, it was never about that,” he said. 

“It was for the fun and for the promotion of the club. Mascots are a good thing because they get kids interested. 

“But the role has changed in recent years. You can’t just turn up, put the suit on and go out anymore. 

“The EFL want you to attend safety briefings before every game and they also want all mascots to be accompanied.  

“It’s become very time consuming and I can’t commit to three hours on a matchday - my work commitments mean I just can’t do it. On a Saturday afternoon it’s just not feasible for me. 

“I’m sad to go, it’s a shame it’s coming to an end but I’ve had a great run, met wonderful people and I’ve got some great stories.  

“But I’ll still be at every game. I’m a Shrewsbury Town supporter and that will never change. 

“PS, I forgot got to mention the chairman, hello Roland. Where would we be without you? We go back a long way, we’ve had some great laughs and I hope we have many more.” 

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