Can a leopard change its spots?

In recent days there has been a development on the Guildford City web forum, referring to The Sweeney’s most recent recruit, the leopard!

It has been making appearances at Guildford away games with its first sighting, alongside a penguin, at Cirencester. Guildford went on to win this game 3-2 but there has since been a staggering dip in form when the leopard has been pitch-side. And let’s not forget that City saw two players red-carded in the aforementioned match!

The statistics make interesting reading:

With leopard:
W1, D1, L2
Points per game: 1
Goals scored per game: 1.5
Goals conceded per game: 3.5

Without leopard:
W9, D0, L3
Points per game: 2.25
Goals scored per game: 2.5
Goals conceded per game: 2

This makes depressing reading for any Guildford City fan, and sends optimism running through opposition fans if they are lucky enough to see this beast at their ground!

We have therefore being trying to find what is behind this drop in performance and ask the question; is the leopard cursed?

It has been speculated players are being put off by its icy stare or the simple confusion as to why a stuffed leopard has turned up at a football match!

One player who could vouch for this is Jack Guilford, who has been sent off on both occasions he has played when the leopard was in attendance.

A better supported idea could be a case of mistaken identity – is it really a leopard? Leopards are similar to jaguars and cheetahs but this creature has no wheels, so leaves only the possibility of a cheetah. We think the answer is pretty obvious but you can make up your own minds with the comparisons listed below:

Feature Leopard Cheetah
Spots Rosette-shaped Round
Tear lines None Black line
Habitat Trees Grassy plains (i.e. football pitches)
Key attribute Stealth Speed
Characteristics Bulky, strong Light, tall

Guildford’s specialist cat handler (or ‘Prat with a cat’ who wishes to be unnamed) says that the leopard/cheetah will have one final chance of redemption, away at local rivals Chertsey Town on Tuesday 6th November. Otherwise the Cats Protection Agency will be called, to try and re-home the creature at a new club (how about Godalming Town?!)

Until then we ask a few simple questions: Can a leopard change its spots? Is it cursed? Is it even a leopard?

Sources: Howell’s fountain of knowledge, The Russell Big Cat Encyclopedia, Masters’ database™, Lucas’ boredom