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Roy Hodgson hits out at Watford mascot Harry the Hornet over ‘disgraceful’ Zaha taunt

2:55 am, 25th August 2018

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s game, the Crystal Palace manager said the kind of behaviour displayed by the oversized wasp in 2016 “should be stopped”.

When the two sides met on Boxing Day two years ago, the mascot mocked Zaha by diving in front of him at the end of the match, during which the forward was booked for simulation in the penalty box.

In April, Zaha was again booked for going down too easily in a league game between the two teams.

Hodgson said: “If you’re asking me whether Harry the Hornet, who I presume is the mascot, should dive in that way, I think it’s disgraceful, because that’s not what football matches are about.

“Certainly if it’s provoking the crowd into looking for something that is not there then it should be stopped.”

He added: “Wilfried Zaha does not dive for penalties – he gets knocked over sometimes. Sometimes he gets knocked over or unbalanced without it necessarily being a foul or a penalty because he runs at such speed and he has such agility with the ball but he certainly doesn’t dive.”

Sam Allardyce, who managed Crystal Palace during the 2016 incident, condemned the comedy dive as “out of order” at the time but the Football Association decided against taking any disciplinary action.

However, Zaha appeared not to take Harry the Hornet’s swipe to heart as he posted a photo of judges holding up scores on Twitter, mentioning the mascot, Gareth Evans, and sending a thumbs up emoji.

But during Friday’s news conference, Hodgson made his feelings clear as he added: “I would be very disappointed if a Crystal Palace mascot was doing something like that to provoke the crowd against an opponent and if I found out about it I would stop it.”