This film is part of Free

Footballing Tortoise

A proud owner shows his spritely tortoise playing football in Weymouth, but what are the odds?

News 1966 1 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


FIFA World Cup fever has gripped the country with some slower to catch on than others. In Weymouth, Willie the spur-thighed Mediterranean tortoise is honing his touch in the back garden. His owner Ronald Braisher is keen to point out “he might not be fast on his feet, but his ball control is superb.” Tortoises used to be a popular pet but imports are now subject to strict controls under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

FIFA World Cup took place in England from 11 to 30 July 1966. England won the title 4–2 after beating West Germany in extra time. Eusebio of Brazil won the golden boot for the most goals scored, Bobby Charlton was named best player and West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer received the best young player award. The best tortoise player award has to go Willie Braisher. As opposed to animals playing sport, recent world cups have offered a new wave of animals predicting sporting results with many countries putting forward psychic pets; who could forget Paul the Octopus from Germany or Achilles the Cat from Russia? Some species, however, just prefer to watch.