Top 10 big club nicknames explained, they weren’t given by chance

The Gunners, the Merengues, the Red Devils, yes we too are lost. At the same time it must be said that “Real Madrid”, “FC Barcelona”, “Chelsea”, it’s a bit boring, it needed a little more inventiveness all the same. In short, so that you stop making a fool of yourself by calling the wrong club by the wrong nickname, here is a little guide to help you.

1. Real Madrid – Les Merengue

So there you will see, the explanation is really zero. Merengue in Spanish means “meringue”, and if the people of Madrid have this nickname, it is because their outfit is white and therefore looks like meringue. Well, they didn’t look any further. Boriiiing.

2. Arsenal – Les Gunners

If you’re somewhat bilingual, you should understand the nickname, but if you’re not, I’ll explain it to you, don’t panic.

“Gunners” in English means “guns”, and no, the founders of Arsenal did not think that they would give themselves that as a nickname because they upset everything like guns, because already that is not the case and the explanation would still be very disappointing. In fact it refers to the history of the club which was founded by workers from an arms factory in the Arsenal district of London. This is also why there is a small cannon on their crest, everything is explained.

3. Manchester United – Les Red Devils

The Mancunians are not called Red Devils just for fun, saying that “Red Devils”, it was slamming. In fact, this nickname would come from rugby and above all would be originally French. When the Salford rugby team toured France in the 1930s to democratize rugby, the French, impressed by the level of the English, gave them the nickname of “red devils”. And the nickname stuck and was taken over by Matt Busby, manager of Manchester United in the 1950s. That’s the whole story, and proof that the English really can’t manage on their own, even to come up with a nickname.

4. Tottenham (Hotspur) – Spurs

This nickname comes from Harry Hostpur (yes I too believed for a moment in Harry Potter, but no, let’s calm down). Harry Hotspur is a character in a Shakespeare play but also a 14th century English knight. He was nicknamed “Hostpur” for his impulsive and combative character (the guy also died on the battlefield), the founders of Tottenham were therefore inspired to make a nickname: the Spurs.

5. OM – Marseille

Originality level we are at -8000 but we must admit that the nickname “the Phocaeans” sounds good.

As you probably know, Marseille is called “the city of Marseille”, hence the nickname of its football team. And the name “Phocaean city” comes from the ancient city of Phocaea, a Greek city located in present-day Turkey. It was the Phocaeans who founded Massilia in -600, which then became Marseilles, hence the nickname of the city. And for the record, they are also the ones who created Antibes (Antipolis), Avignon (Avenio) or Nice (Nikaïa).

630px logo olympique de marseille. Svg
Credits photo : Olympic Marseille

6. Juventus of Turin – The Old Lady

A nickname that your mother would not like to wear, and yet that would suit her so well. Juve call themselves the old lady only because they are one of the oldest clubs in Italy. Founded in 1897, Juve is 125 years old today. The only concern is that ‘Juventus’ means ‘young’ in Latin, so it would be a matter of agreement between you guys.

7. Villarreal CF – The Yellow Submarine

To understand why Villareal is called the Yellow Submarine, you have to think of the group Los Mustangs (which no one knows) who took over the title “Yellow Submarine” from the Beatles. This cover was a success in Spain, and when Villarreal played in the 3rd division they used to play this song during their victory. That’s it, you know everything, you don’t have to look any further (also note that Villarreal generally plays in yellow so it was fine).

8. Flamengo – The most beloved in Brazil

Flamengo, also nicknamed Rubro-Negro (for the colors of the jersey), is one of the most popular clubs in Brazil, hence its other nickname “O mais querido do Brasil”. Not very complicated to understand, I’m not doing the translation for you so that you can exercise your little brains.

9. Bayern’s hidden nickname, FC Hollywood

Bayern’s official nickname is “die Bayern”, which is particularly rotten. So I looked a little further to discover that Bayern was also nicknamed FC Hollywood.

The nickname was born in the 90s, when the players were particularly known for all their stories outside the stadium. The players didn’t all get along very well, got confused among themselves, and that’s how this nickname was born. Super flattering!

10. FC Barcelona – Les Cules

This nickname is surely the craziest of this top since “els culers” means “the butts” in Catalan. And sorry to disappoint you, but the Catalan fans weren’t nicknamed like that because they all had a good ball, but quite simply because at the time (at the beginning of the 20th century) the stadium of FC Barcelona did not consisted of only one stand and the supporters of the row above were seated with their buttocks in a vacuum (we are a long way from the current Camp Nou). From the outside, we could see all their little buttocks overwhelmed (and probably in pain, because it doesn’t look comfortable).

Otherwise the official nickname of Barça is the “Blaugrana”, but as it sucks we will not talk about it.

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