Wednesday, January 17, 2007

We Love You Limerick 37, We Do!

One of the groups mooted as contenders for the available spot in the brave new FAI eircom League of Ireland (league in trouble? This situation calls for a rebrand! But League of Ireland? Surely that's an old name! No it's not; it's a classic heritage refocus!) has called itself Limerick 37. This name is not, in fact, a statement of the embryonic club's ambition to overhaul Arbroath's record score in a club football match (36-0 against Bon Accord in September 1885) in every single match they play, but a reference to the first year in which senior football was played in Limerick.

It's about time, though, that we had some kooky, screwball club names around these parts. For too long have the Cities, Uniteds and Rovers' exercised their stern hegemony over team monikers.

Do they even mean anything? United - against what? The opposition? You don't say.
Rovers? Where, and to what purpose, do you rove? "The length and breadth of the country in search of vital points, of course!" A brave quest indeed. I expect you bump into those Wanderers from time to time.

Athletic? Oh you are, are you? Isn't that self-evident? You're a football team. I should hope you wouldn't be calling yourselves Charlton Couch-Potatoes.

The standard club names are, of course, historical artefacts from the Victorian genesis of the game in organised form. Back then, to be United, and to Rove, and certainly to be Athletic were considered important virtues in the perennial struggle against juvenile masturbation, which was not as fondly regarded then as it is now.

But the pre-eminence of these handful of tags demonstrates a shocking lack of imagination which the existence of the odd Wednesday and Argyle does little to redress. Some have excused Scotland this criticism, due to the exoticism of some of their club names. Not true.
Stenhousemuir, Cowdenbeath and Alloa are merely the actual names of real places, not planets visited by the Starship Enterprise. The Academicals of Hamilton and Queen of the South are excused, of course. Well done there.

No, like health ministers attempting to curb the binge drinking culture, it is to the continent we must look for inspiration.

The Dutch, like in so many areas, lead the way when it comes to institutionalised craziness. Go Ahead Eagles, now there's a team I'd drag myself out of a coffee shop to support. "Go Ahead Eagles, Make My Day!" the banners would read.

Stormvogels Telstar. Wow, man! I only wanted a mellow high!

Heracles Almelo. "By the power of Heracles, son of Zeus, I command thee to SCORE!" they presumably chant.

FC Omniworld. Now there's a club Captain Kirk would be happy to land the Enterprise on.

Switzerland, despite Orson Welles' claim that in 500 years of peaceful democracy they have only produced the cuckoo clock, nonetheless gave us the Confucianist tactics of the Grasshoppers of Zurich and, of course, the Young Boys of Berne (whom we pray never meet Queen of the South in a UEFA Cup tie).

But enough of tired Old Europe. The far east is the land of promise when it comes to club names. The little heralded Hong Kong league is dominated by Happy Valley F.C., rivals of whom include Double Flower. Imagine it: "The supporters of Happy Valley and Double Flower were involved in vicious running battles after last nights meeting of the two sides....." Not likely.

The Korean league is now sadly dominated by company-named entities such as Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, but for a brief spell in the 1980s, Hallelujah FC ruled the domestic scene. Japan is home to Shimuzu S-Pulse, not, it seems, a model of Range Rover, and the mysterious Kyoto Purple Sanga.

But the finest, most evocative, place for club names is the one that gave the world Kaizer Chiefs. No, not Yorkshire (and its Kaizer with a 'z' too), South Africa. Battling it out with the Chiefs are the fearful sounding AmaZulu; the equally warlike Golden Arrows; the more honeymoon-focussed Mamelodi Sundowns; Oscar Wilde's favourite team, the Bidvest Wits; and those advocates of summer football, the Moroka Swallows. Indeed it is also South Africa which utilises the only acceptable use of United: Pretoria based Supersport United gloss over the dullness of the latter word with the craziness of the former.

After all that, Limerick 37 seems positively tame. Nothing less than Super Limerick Fandango Adventurers will do, I'm afraid.


Anonymous sportcrazy said...

Ah, you're not familiar with Roscommon's own Dynamo Rooskey then?

9:40 p.m.  
Blogger Tommy77 said...

Yes, Dynamo Rooskey, famous for their fierce rivalry with despised crosstown foes Torpedo Rooskey...

9:13 a.m.  

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