There can be few greater pleasures for young football fans than walking out alongside their heroes ahead of a match and representing their club ahead of the action.
However, there is a cynical side to such simple enjoyment. Whilst the youngsters realise their dreams as they stand side by side with their favourite players, their parents are required to fork out large sums of money to make it happen.
Ironically, a number of the bigger sides in the country charge nothing for children to be handed that once in a lifetime opportunity. According to BBC Sport, that includes the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Everton and Newcastle United.
However, many other English clubs are guilty of matching the excitement of being a matchday mascot with a price tag to reflect the privilege. Here is a list of the 11 clubs that charge the most money to be a matchday mascot in the Premier League.
11. Bournemouth – £185
Eddie Howe’s side may be enjoying a strong season, with the Cherries currently 12th in the Premier League and making good strides towards cementing their Premier League status, but representing Bournemouth as a mascot does not come cheap.
Any young fan wanting to walk out alongside their heroes at the Vitality Stadium would be required to spend £185 for the day. Moreover, the price does not even include a ticket to the selected game.
At those prices, Bournemouth will recoup the £19m they splashed out on Dominic Solanke with the kind of subtle efficiency that has made Eddie Howe’s side such a success this season.
10. Watford – £250
Another surprise package of the season so far, Watford have made good progress under Javi Gracia this term, and currently reside comfortably in the top half of the Premier League in eighth.
Unfortunately for the Hornets’ fans, that progress is reflected in their mascot pricing almost as much as by their position in the table. Watford fans have to cough up £250 for their children to represent their side on any given matchday.
Watford may need to continue in matching positive recent results with their the high prices.
9. Cardiff City – £255
Cardiff City may be nine places below Watford in the Premier League and fresh from promotion to the top flight just this season, but the Bluebirds still charge £5 more than the Hornets for the luxury of being a matchday mascot.
Still, fans have not been put of, as places have apparently sold out for most of Neil Warnock’s side’s biggest home matches this season.
After losing 3-0 at home to Tottenham last time out in the Premier League, followed by a 1-0 defeat to Gillingham in the FA Cup on Saturday, Cardiff may need to improve on the pitch to have any chance of justifying the £255 price tag for mascots.
8. Fulham – £270
Having made a flurry of expensive summer signings, Fulham have endured a dismal first half of their Premier League campaign after being promoted from the Championship last term.
With Slavisa Jokanovic, Premier League veteran Claudio Ranieri was brought in as the new manager at Craven Cottage, but results have hardly improved under the Italian. The west Londoners are second from bottom in the league and are running out of time to survive.
Should Fulham be relegated, the Cottagers would struggle to offset the financial outlay on their raft of big money signings. Even the £270 they charge for each matchday mascot would do little to help the cause.
7. Burnley – £300
After the heroics and considerable over-achievements of last season, the £300 mascot charge at Burnley may have at least reflected the considerable strides made by Sean Dyche’s side in the Premier League.
However, after remarkably finishing seventh last term, the Clarets currently loiter in 16th place.
Fans who splashed out the £300 for the pleasure of seeing their children step out onto the pitch alongside the Burnley stars as Dyche’s side went on to be hammered 15-1 at home to Everton on Boxing Day may have regretted a significant portion of their Christmas spending.
6. Brighton – £350
A side who are at least providing results on the pitch this season to give their fans value of sorts, Brighton are enjoying a strong campaign under Chris Hughton.
After finishing 15th in the to solidify their Premier League status following promotion to the top flight last season, the Seagulls have kicked on this season and currently sit 13th in the table after a run of resolute performances.
Unfortunately for Brighton fans, those performances have also been matched by a rather lofty £350 mascot charge.
5. Crystal Palace – £375
Back in the capital, Crystal Palace are charging fans £375 to represent the team in south London.
Roy Hodgson’s side are struggling to move forward on the pitch this term, with the Eagles currently 14th in the league, and Palace will be keen to push towards the top half of the table, with just six points separating them from the relegation zone.
However, after watching their side stun champions Manchester City with a 3-2 win at the Etihad before Christmas, Palace fans may be all the more encouraged to pay the price for mascot admission.
4. Wolves – £395
Another side who are punching above their weight this season, Wolves fans have seen their side defy expectations by climbing to ninth in the Premier League table.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have claimed stunning wins over Tottenham and Chelsea this season among numerous other huge results, having been promoted from the Championship last season.
However, with a mascot charge of £395, fans may be paying the price for those great results, as well as for the expensive influx of Portuguese stars that now grace the Molineux turf.
3. Tottenham – £405
The only one of the Premier League’s ‘bix-six’ to charge for the mascot privilege, Tottenham are at least giving their fans results for their money this season.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are lurking on the periphery of the title race as the only other side among the league’s big hitters keeping pace with Liverpool and Manchester City at the top.
The cost of building a new stadium and the decision not to make any senior signings last summer suggest that money is an issue for the north London side, and perhaps Daniel Levy and co will look to the £405-per-head mascot income to generate some funds.
2. Leicester City – £600
Leicester City have experienced ups and downs on a huge scale this season, with the tragic helicopter crash involving owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the uncertainty over the future of manager Claude Puel and incredible back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Manchester City.
The King Power Stadium has been home to an incredible range of emotions this season, but their £600 charge for matchday mascots is the third highest in the country.
With the euphoria of winning the 2015/16 Premier League title having passed, Leicester need to buck their ideas up if they are to return to former glories – and justify their heavily inflated mascot charge.
1. West Ham – £700
At a whole £100 more expensive than the second priciest charge in the country, West Ham charge fans a whopping £700 for their children to walk out alongside their heroes on matchdays.
Manuel Pellegrini has brought steady improvement at the London Stadium this term after being appointed in the summer, with the Hammers currently 10th in the Premier League and pushing to at least secure a top half finish.
However, after a summer of heavy spending in the transfer market, the cost of improvement clearly is not cheap, and it appears that the Hammers are looking to source greater income by all means – including their fans.