Wombwell, near Barnsley, Yorkshire born outside right Fred Briggs began his football career with Mexborough Athletic in 1930 and played for Wombwell in 1931 before joining Third Division (North) Rotherham United in May 1932, making his Football League debut against New Brighton the same August. While most regularly appearing at outside right, he operated across the forward line at Rotherham, often appearing at inside left and sometimes at centre forward, scoring 11 goals in 1933-34 as Rotherham struggled towards the bottom of the League.
After 19 goals in 80 appearances over three seasons at Millmoor, he joined Reading in June 1935, where he struggled to get a regular run in the first team over three seasons at Elm Park, where he mainly played on the right wing, scoring 6 goals in 27 appearances before he was signed on a free transfer by Second Division Southampton in May 1938.
Manager Tom Parker saw him as the ideal player to pair with Harry Osman up front, playing all along the line but mainly at inside left. Briggs made his first start on 24th September 1938 in a defeat at Newcastle United, but soon settled into the side, forming a “useful partnership” with centre forward Reg Tomlinson. In a run of twelve matches from mid-October to Christmas, he scored ten goals including a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory at home to Swansea Town on 26th November. By the end of the season he was the Saints’ top scorer with 14 goals in 37 appearances.
He had scored once in three matches for Southampton at the outset of the 1939-40 season when outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 forced its abandonment and then effectively brought Briggs’s playing career to a premature end. Although he played for The Saints in the first wartime season, he moved on to guest for several clubs, including Wrexham, Accrington Stanley, Fulham and Watford, but retired before the War’s end.
NB In the photograph Briggs stands on the left with Reading team mate George Johnson.