World Cup 2022: Meet Joey the parrot from Preston - he thinks it's finally coming home for Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and England!
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African grey parrot Joey, possibly a distant relative of escape artist parrot Chanel from Liverpool, is football obsessed and chants "It's Coming Home" repeatedly to his owner and is never one to miss a match on the TV. Naughty Joey is described as a "bit of a nightmare" and is always causing his owner problems. He also thinks Three Lions star Jack Grealish is a right sort.
Owner Jemma Louise, 37, who has had Joey for 12 years is something of a Doctor Dolittle as she also owns two cockatiels, two budgies, two rescue crows, three dogs, three rabbits, three guinea pigs, two tortoises and a hamster. She said: "He's not the prettiest bird as he has had a tough life. He was a bad plucker and was in a surgical fire at the vets earlier this year, so he shouldn't be here really. He started singing the day England lost at the Euros and hasn't stopped since.”
Jemma, who works as a sales manager for a controls company called Detail Design in Manchester, and also has two girls – Lillie-Mai, 7, and Bellatrix, 5, who both attend St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School in Preston, added: “I work from home but if I go into the office I take Joey with me as he is a character and everyone loves him. He swears a lot and also asks do you want a beer and can say the dogs and the children’s names.”
Because of their intelligence and ability to mimic human speech, African greys are the most popular pet bird in the world. The birds breed well in captivity, and at least 1.3 million grey parrots that have been exported legally from Africa over the past four decades, particularly to countries in the Middle East.
Joey, who will be keeping a close bird's eye on the TV for every match, is convinced that this is England's year to raise the World Cup trophy in Qatar - let's hope he is right.
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions play their second group game against the USA at 7pm on Friday night.