UEFA Europa League sides’ nicknames: A to K – UEFA Europa League – News
AC Milan – Diavoli (Devils)
We all know the fairly anodyne Rossoneri (Red and Blacks), but those colours also inspired a rather more sinister moniker. English founder Herbert Kilpin explained: “Our colours will be red, because we will be the devils; and black, signifying the terror we will strike into the hearts of our opponents.”
AEK Athens – Double-Headed Eagle
The Greek team are known as Enosis or ‘union’ (the E in AEK), but perhaps more evocative is Double-Headed Eagle, taken from the club crest. AEK were established by refugees from Constantinople (the K of AEK) and the Byzantine eagle was their symbol.
Arsenal – The Gunners
Arsenal were formed by armament workers in 1886 in Woolwich, an area of south-east London then associated with the military. Hence the name Arsenal, the cannon on the badge and, for consistency’s sake, the nickname.
Astana – none
The club came into being in 2009 and nothing has stuck yet. They are sponsored by Kazakhstani state railway and started out as Lokomotiv but the Railway Men didn’t fit; Citizens, inspired by their new name, was trialled but the more prosaic Yellow and Blue appears to have more staying power.
Atalanta – La Dea (The Goddess)
The club were named in honour of a huntress and athlete from Greek mythology, hence the nickname La Dea – The Goddess. Happily single, Atalanta told suitors she would marry them if they could outrun her, but kill them if they failed. Plenty tried and failed before Hippomenes timed his dip perfectly.
Athletic Club – Leones (The Lions)
Athletic’s stadium sits next to the church of San Mamés, named after a saint who, legend has it, the Romans threw to the lions. Instead of gobbling up the prisoner, the beasts lay at his feet. Athletic’s players are the lions, defending their stadium, San Mamés.
Atlético – Los Colchoneros (The Mattress Makers)
In the post-civil war period in Spain, mattresses had a uniform design of red and white stripes, making this material cheap. Atlético promptly ditched their blue and white and in an instant became the mattress makers.
Braga – Os Arsenalistas (The Arsenal fans)
Braga wore white and green until Hungarian coach József Szabó visited Arsenal in 1935. He was so impressed with the north London club that he convinced Braga to spin the colour wheel 180º. Also known as Bracarenses, a nod to Braga’s Roman name of Bracara Augusta.
Celtic – Bhoys
The club were founded to raise money for the poor and improve social integration between Irish immigrants and native Glaswegians – the name Celtic a reminder of their common heritage. Bhoys was a name Irish incomers used to call themselves.
Crvena zvezda – Crveno-beli (Red-and-Whites)
‘Red Star’ were established from the remains of the disbanded SK Jugoslavija. They were given Jugoslavija’s stadium, offices, players, and even their red and white colours.
CSKA Moskva – Armeytsi (Army Men)
The club began life as part of the Society of Ski Sports Amateurs, but in 1923 were taken under the wing of the Soviet army. CSKA, their official name since 1960, stands for Central Sports Сlub (Klub) of the Army.
Dortmund – Die Schwarz-Gelben (The Black and Yellows)
Dortmund once wore red, white and blue but switched in 1913 following serious lobbying from future club president August Busse. Yellow and black were the colours of Britannia, a side that had merged with Dortmund a few years earlier. For a while they were known as ‘The Lemons’.
Dynamo Kyiv – Bilo-Syni (White-Blue)
The Ukrainian giants’ moniker is a reference to the colours they have donned for much of their 90-year existence.
FCSB – none
A long, complicated story but the club were only renamed last March and do not yet have a nickname.
København – Byens Hold (The City’s Team)
Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of one-upmanship? København and Brøndby dominate the Danish football landscape, but as FCK fans are wont to remind their great rivals, only one is in the heart of Copenhagen – and thus in Copenhagen’s hearts. Brondby is a suburb.
The remaining teams, L to Z, will be revealed tomorrow.