Express & Star

20 years ago: When Wolfie scrapped with three pigs

A 'burly bloke' in a cuddly wolf costume, three cuddly pigs from a double glazing firm and a friendly kickabout on a pitch in front of 15,000 football supporters...what could go wrong?

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Twenty years ago today Wolves beat Bristol City 6-1. It was Colin Lee's first match as Wolves boss, loan striker David Connolly ended his 15-game goal drought by scoring FOUR and Wolves equalled their biggest away win for 33 years.

But even that remarkable victory was overshadowed, in the national media at least, by a quite bizarre turn of events at half-time.

Wolfie the Wolves mascot was doing his usual routine of entertaining fans and larking about on the pitch. Also on the pitch were three pigs, provided by double glazing company Coldseal for some promotional banter. A wolf, three pigs, hilarity ensues, right?

As the fable goes, the big, bad wolf blows down two pigs' houses but can't blow down the third, made of bricks. Cute. In the real life version, the wolf gives a pig a bit of a smack and causes a furore that's still talked about today.

At the time the scuffles seemed like one big publicity stunt, but it was no joke for one of the pigs who received a split lip for his troubles before stewards (and a cuddly cat, obviously) intervened.

The thoughts of one of the pigs, Patrick Kelly, reads like a police statement: "At half time the wolf approached me, struck a blow to my head which resulted in my head becoming detached from the pig body.

"I then picked it up, retreated back to the Bristol half, followed by the wolf which then again punched me during the penalty shoot-out."

The man behind Wolfie, Steve Bird, later took up his (somewhat remorseful) side of the story."I fouled the pig, quite badly. One of the pigs lost his head

"I always had my own fans in mind, I was defending the honour of my club.

"At the time of the whole story it was said I was totally not to blame, which is obviously not true.

"I hope nobody got injured, I heard there was a split lip involved. I regret the whole incident getting out of proportion."

For anyone from a younger generation who hasn't heard any of this, it really isn't a porkie pie, honest.

After the match it all got a bit serious with the two clubs releasing statements as the threat of police action was seriously considered.

Coldseal marketing director Ross Smith revealed: "We actually told our guys to be aware of Wolfie. He's a big, burly bloke who takes the whole character far too seriously.

"He was goading the pigs and one went over and said 'calm down mate, we're supposed to be entertaining people here', but Wolfie lashed out."

Coldseal pigs wouldn't turn up at any game Wolfie attended again, Mr Smith confirmed: "It's not worth the bother."

Wolves even carried out their own investigation and decided no further action would be taken.

"The club is now completely satisfied that Wolfie was not the instigator of the apparent scuffle between the Wolves mascot and the Coldseal pigs," the club said.

"Wolfie has been working for Wolves for two years and the club is entirely happy with his performance as the official mascot."

Wolfie and the pigs never met on the football field again, but were reunited during a Davina McCall chat show some years later when Mr Bird offered a sincere apology to the 'pigs' and closed one of the more peculiar football stories of recent times.