Badger Baiting

Dear NTV,

I came across the above tweet the other day and was instantly transported back to a happier afternoon that saw me attending an away game at Ibrox some time ago. Whilst in a reverie during the warm-up at Mordor, prior to giving the Orcs six of the best, I found myself abstractedly watching Broxi Bear’s asinine antics and my thoughts flitted onto the question, where does the name Ibrox originate? (Well it beats listening to the Zombie DJ playing ‘The Theme From the Great Escape’ and ‘Sinply Bereft of Sense’)

Fortuitously, I was accompanied by Lord Chuffnel, an Old Etonian chum who just happened to be a former minister in charge of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who was able to shed some light on the subject. He explained that Ibrox is actually derived from the Gaelic term for a badger’s ford and that ‘Old Brock’ is a common epithet given to badgers by environmentalists.

Fascinated by this insight into Mordor’s history, I resolved to find out more. At the conclusion of a splendid match, chuffy and I hastened to Chuffnel Hall where we made for the library and immediately immersed ourselves in dusty tomes about badgers and their antecedents. Not only that, so focussed were we, that we spurned our evening repast, consisting of the chef’s most famous entree, lobster Thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce, served in the Provençal manner with shallots and aubergine, garnished with truffle pate. Notwithstanding, Chuffy and I did imbibe several bottles of the ripest as we leafed through the weighty tomes.

After a lengthy period of time, I emerged from the pages of ‘The Compendium of British Badgers’ to apprise Chuffy that ‘badger’ is the common name for any animal of three sub-families belonging to the family Mustelidae – the same mammal family as ferrets and weasels (makes sense, thought I). Moreover, there are eight species of badger in three sub-families: Mellivorinae, Taxidenae and Melinae, which includes the genus Mydaus, commonly known as ‘Stink badgers’ (having spent the best part of two hours down-wind of the Boche that Sunday it’s not difficult to ascertain the species which inhabited Ibrox in days of yore).

On returning to the hearth after my peregrinations, I poured myself a balloon of brandy, donned my smoking jacket and cravat, had my man Carruthers nip the end off a King Eddie and settled down to peruse the Oxford English Dictionary. The scales immediately fell from my eyes on reading that in addition to ‘badger’ being described as, “A carnivorous, burrowing mammal of the family Mustelidae, bearing a coarse black and white coat,” it gave the definition of badger thus:


1. To annoy

2. To persuade through constant efforts.

Both of these the Orcs did to me and the referee respectively that 2nd January.

Any of you chaps up for a spot of badger-baiting? Tally-ho!!

Yours in Celtic

Clarence Montague Threepwood, KBE

9th Earl of Emsworth

Blandings Castle

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