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Oldham Athletic mascot Chaddy the Owl is attacked - by one of his own fans

Chaddy the Owl was punched in the face by a fellow Oldham Athletic supporter before the club’s clash with Preston North End.

The 7ft bird was posing with a young fan for a picture in the concourse of the away end at Preston’s Deepdale stadium before kick off on Tuesday night when, without warning, a thug walked over and hit him before calmly walking to the bar.

Oldham club bosses have launched an investigation and have asked Preston for CCTV footage in a bid to trace the offender.

But the man behind the mask, 37-year-old Wayne Hurst, does not want to see the culprit hauled before the beak.

He said: "I don’t even want him banned because we need as many fans as we can get. I just want an explanation and an apology."

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