Sam Allardyce has criticised Watford's mascot for his antics that followed the Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Boxing Day (26 December). Harry the Hornet made headlines following that televised 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road by mockingly diving in front of frustrated winger Wilfried Zaha when he went to applaud the travelling supporters after the full-time whistle.
The taunt, while said to be accidental, was thought to be in reference to an incident that took place in the 87th minute, when Zaha was denied a penalty and shown a yellow card for simulation by referee Mark Clattenburg after going down under a challenge from Miguel Britos. Christian Benteke had earlier spurned the chance to add to Yohan Cabaye's first-half opener from 12 yards after seeing a weak spot-kick easily saved by transgressor Heurelho Gomes.
The miss proved costly as Watford captain Troy Deeney, introduced as an early replacement for the injured Valon Behrami, smashed home his own penalty attempt to secure a share of the spoils after Damien Delaney was penalised for pulling back fellow defender Sebastian Prodl.
While that result saw Allardyce collect his first point since being appointed as successor to the sacked Alan Pardew and Deeney join the likes of Luther Blissett as only the fifth Hornets player ever to reach a century of goals for the club, much of the post-match discussion has been fixated on Harry's tumble which left Zaha visibly angry and needing to be ushered down the tunnel by a member of Palace's backroom staff.
"The mascot is out of order, isn't he? If someone is diving, they don't get that angry," short-lived England boss Allardyce was quoted as saying by The Telegraph. "That was a penalty. There may be an argument that the first contact is outside the box, but it would have been difficult to judge. To get nothing at all, and Wilfried booked, is very disappointing."
Allardyce, who said it would be a "black mark" against referees if indeed they were making decisions regarding Zaha based on his previous reputation. He reportedly said of any potential sanctions for the mascot: "That's up to Watford to sort that out, really. The Premier League and FA can look at that and do what they want to do. It could have made the wrong reaction, as we know. But I didn't see it. I'm more concerned about my team, the overall performance."
Opposite number Walter Mazzarri added: "Let's laugh all together about this. Football is also nice for these things. Everything doesn't have to be a drama."