Name: Jay (sometimes referred to as simply J).
Club: Juventus (Italian Serie A).
Mascot Since: 2015
Species: Zebra. Obviously.
Friends & Family: Being a Champions League sort of zebra, Jay has, of course, hung out with many of Europe’s biggest mascots, including Bayern Munich’s Berni the Bear and Sporting CP’s Jubas the Lion (although the latter slightly worries us – we hope Jubas had already had his lunch). He also appears to be great friends with Tottenham’s Chirpy, and the two hang out whenever Juventus and Spurs play each other.
Then there are his glamorous transatlantic mascot pals. During Juve’s pre-season tours of the USA in 2017 and 2018, Jay was caught on film swapping shirts and messing around with a bevy of mascots from various American sports – including the NFL’s Swoop the Eagle (Philadelphia Eagles) and TD (Miami Dolphins), MLB’s Teddy (Washington Nationals), and the NBA’s Harry the Hawk (Atlanta Hawks).
Social Media: Lots of YouTube videos of Jay on his travels and doing stuff with his celebrity mascot mates. He’s also the star of a 2016 Juventus Christmas cartoon, in which he involves himself in delivering a gift-wrapped football to a young fan whose letter to Santa gets lost, as well as what appears to be an online animated series for junior supporters of the Bianconeri called Team Jay.
Notes: Another mascot lifted straight from the club badge, Jay’s black and white stripes echo Juve’s iconic monochrome kit (which, as we all know, was ‘borrowed’ from Notts County in 1903 – the shirt definitely came first).
But why a zebra? Obviously because of the black and white stripes, but also because the creature is said to be a heraldic representation of ancient nobility, and there is nothing football clubs like more than playing up their storied histories…
Some commentators have described Jay as decidedly creepy. We’re not sure we would necessarily agree with that (he actually reminds us more of Donkey from the Shrek movies, although that’s probably just the general horsiness, toothy grin and excessive enthusiasm).
As zebras go, he seems friendly enough, and as a mascot, he seems pretty well behaved – compared to the bad boys of the mascot world that is. The likes of the manager-bothering Harry the Hornet (Watford) or even the frankly notorious Cyril the Swan (Swansea) don’t seem to have anything to fear from this cheery zebra.
However, like any young zebra who has had fame thrust upon them, he has occasionally been known to get up to no good. Revealing no specifics, but the spider on a string incident in Lisbon is probably best not discussed…