Briggsy - The Legend Behind The Badger

Last updated : 30 August 2004 By Alex Gaywood
Since Elgin City's induction into the Scottish League over four years ago. a period which has seen the club transformed from the "whipping boys of the Third Division" into "Third Division strugglers", no-one has helped spread the club's reputation as much as the now legendary mascot Briggsy the Badger. Regularly described in the national press as "as popular as Beckham", "as skillful as Pele" and "as having an alcoholism problem to rival George Best", Scotland's favourite badger has grown from strength to strength.

However, few football fans let alone Elgin supporters know the full story of the life of one of the most extraordinary badgers known to the civilised world.

Briggsy was born in the mid 1920s, the fourth of eventually fourteen badgerlets, at a set which is though to be located close to the current Borough Briggs stadium. The young Briggsy showed an immediate talent for football, progressing his way through the Elgin youth ranks, before making his debut in the 35/36 season.

Over the next five seasons Briggsy established himself as the first choice right back for Elgin. Described as "tough in the tackle, an excellent distributor of the ball, although lacking in the air" Briggsy enjoyed an incredible run of 136 successive games for the Black and Whites, despite the protests from some opposing teams who often refused to play against a badger. Briggsy was not unique in being a footballing badger though - distant cousin Edgar actually played league football with Dunfermline.

However the outbreak of the Second World War saw Briggsy called up, leaving his new wife Emma behind. With his ability to sneak around German officers unnoticed used to great effect, Briggsy was able to gain much vital information that helped out the war effort. However, his cover was blown when he was spotted sitting in on a meeting of top German officers with a pencil and scrap of paper. Realising his potential to disrupt the German war effort, Briggsy was captured and sent to the impregnable prison camp of Colditz.

The camp wasn't as impregnable as the German believed it to be. Using skills gained throughout his youth, Briggsy's assistance was vital in digging the tunnels which were used to help many prisoners escape. Briggsy realised that he was needed in the camp and stayed there until the end of the War. This story was then recorded as the motion picture "The Great Escape" although much to the disappointment of his family, Briggsy was cut out of the film, as it was believed the involvement of a badger in the story would be too absurd for the American audiences.

After the war ended, Briggsy returned to Elgin and settled down with his wife. He took up a role as a player/coach at Elgin City and although his best playing days were behind him, he helped to produce some of the finest players ever to wear the Black and White of Elgin. His greatest disappointment was that none of his children ever followed his footsteps onto the playing field.

Unfortunately the story of Briggsy the Badger does not have a happy ending. In the summer of 1957 Elgin City Football Club announced to relocate to its current position, which was the site of Briggsy's home. As the law at the time did not recognise the rights of badgers, there was nothing that Briggsy and his family could do and were made homeless. The following day Briggsy turned up for training wearing a tutu. He was sacked on the spot. As he left Elgin for the last time he was struck by a combine harvester and died immediately.

Despite the club's attempts to honour his memory by naming the new ground after him, Briggsy's family left the area and like all badgers refuse to have anything to do with the club.

So the next time you attend an Elgin game, don't just cheer on the team, cheer on the memory of Briggsy, one of Elgin's true heroes who did more for the club than almost any human ever did. And when you go for your pie at half time, just think that it could be one of Briggy's descendants, another potential footballing genius that you are eating!