Bradford City can announce that after a period approaching 20 years performing as club mascot City Gent, Lenny Berry has decided to call time on his association with the role.
Lenny's decision was conveyed to Bantams Director Roger Owen at a meeting at the Coral Windows Stadium late last Friday afternoon.
Mr Owen told the club's official website:“I met Lenny late Friday and he gave me his decision, which he had been pondering for some three weeks.
"As the matter had been the subject of discussion at our Board Meetings over recent weeks, it was only right that I advised my fellow Directors of Lenny's decision, and this was done at Bristol City yesterday (Saturday).
"On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Lenny for his efforts over what has been a long time, in all weathers and through the various fortunes of the club.
"He has brought fun and enjoyment to many, particularly our fans at the younger end of the age scale, and he finishes with our best wishes for the future, which I understand will include being a Season Ticket holder somewhere in the stadium.”
Owen added: “Over the last week or so I have been made aware of various speculation around Lenny which has appeared on some social websites and fan sites.
"Without breaching the confidence I promised Lenny, I feel some explanation of the sequence of events should be made to avoid confusion and conflict which does seem to rule these sites from time to time.
“Following the end of last season we had two key Board Meetings, the first of which focused on Phil (Parkinson) and his plans going forward.
"The second meeting looked at more general issues, one of which was the issue of mascots - The City Gent and Billy Bantam.
"In the case of Billy, it was agreed that the purchase by him and upkeep of his outfit had been a great improvement last season.
"In the case of The City Gent, the main issue was his physical appearance, which was much changed from the original concept of the then-Chairman, the late Stafford Heginbotham, who styled The City Gent on himself.
"We agreed that action needed to be taken. It was also agreed that Lenny be formally contacted, by letter, to put our various points to him and to suggest that the club obtain a Sumo-type suit with character head piece to represent the Gent.
"The Football League had told us at the time of the (League 2) Play-Off Final that only animal or human mascots were now appropriate if they wore an anonymous headset. Dusty Miller at Rotherham is a good example.
"Lenny was given a deadline to respond, which was extended and then not complied with by our meeting on Friday.
"I had also explained to Lenny that he would cease to be part of the mascots match-day ground tour because of the size of his suit and as such he would cease to be paid and have his taxation affairs dealt with by the club.
"Lenny asked about the continuation of his appearance at charity events and he was told that these would cease as the club had not been given a full fix on his activities and we cannot have possible conflict.
"At that point Lenny advised me that he would cease his role as City Gent with immediate effect.
"The Board have now decided that as we are adequately covered by Billy Bantam, the Bantams being our real nickname, and that the City Gent name lives on in the excellent club Fanzine produced by Mike Harrison, we will not replace The City Gent as a mascot."