Sunday, July 26, 2009

On footballers names, with particular emphasis on "Alan".

My vow to put less about football on the blog is failing miserably. My only excuse is that this is probably the finest season of footy in living memory and its hard not to be excited about it. I hope everyone in Qatar will bear with me - blogs coming soon on oil, dates, camels and your 2016 Olympic bid.

First: Alans. I have long had an interest in historical Alans. "The written sources suggest that from the end of the 1st century to the second half of the 4th century the Alans had supremacy over the tribal union and created a powerful confederation of Sarmatian tribes."

Then at some point in the 1930s they began playing football. I have nutted out a team, in position, of all the greatest Alans.
Many were called Alan, but few were chosen. Sorry Alan Mangels. I did find room for promising young Alan Obst on the bench. Alans have excelled over the decades particularly as rovers and goalkickers - I had to fill the key defensive positions with ruck rovers and the like. I don't want anyone to think this was easy, or that there is some AFL database on the net of Alans. THIS is the database of Alans.

Next subject - trends in footballers names. When I was a kid they were all Shanes and Waynes. Like me, you may have noticed that now they are all Danes and Kanes, with a few Zanes thrown in. In addition I am concerned about Brady, Brody, Cody, Cale, Cade, Jaiden and Chance. Where are the Ians? Where are the Steves? Every club should have a mandated minimum of one Colin, one Barry and two Kevins. I must stress I am welcoming of Setanta, Jarrhan, Andrejs and Alipate who have come on board in recent seasons. Diversity. But I am really concerned about Sharrod, Jamason and Ayce.

And Ayce brings me to my third point - footballer's sons. Footballers seem to give their sons shocking names. Ayce Cordy, Steele Sidebottom and Jaxson Barham come to mind. Jobe Watson. Dustin Fletcher. Gary Ablett got around it by naming his son Gary Ablett.

Finally - while searching for Alans I came across a very early Greg. Greg Stockdale of Essendon, carbon-dated to 1929. How hard would it have been to be a Greg in the 20s? All the basic Greg accoutrements (bodyshirt, suntan, flappy jeans, medallion) weren't invented until the seventies. Can anyone find an earlier example, or have I stumbled upon the Invention of Greg?


joe19crawford said...


Did a bit of AFL/VFL research re: 'Greg', and came across an entry for Pope Gregory the Great, also known as Gregory the Dialogist, who was Pope from 590 to 604. He is listed as a pacy winger who played 4 games for Footscray before a medial ligament rupture cut short his career. I guess he may be the first Greg to achieve the AFL/VFL-Pope double.


PS The Shaw family has contributed a lot to 'dodgy names in footy history' i.e. Heath, Rhys and Brayden.

Nobody said...

Clearly the next step in this name-game is nicknames, or is that too easy?
I'll start with Blue 'Alfred E (Topsy)Waldron'

chris.dadness said...

Joe - spot on. He would also be one of the few Catholics to get a run with Footscray in the early days - they were proud Proddies I believe. Those were the days when footballers had real jobs - I'd like to see some of these modern day Jaydens retake the holy land, or excommunicate the Cathars. As if!

Nobes: That's a whole 'nother spreadsheet, pal. I'll have a stab though - off summit of noggin.

FF. Hungry Plugger Dids
HF. God Sticks Skinny
C. Baron Diesel Dinger
HB. Mad Dog Ghost Pants
B. Sheeds Sos Crackers
Foll. Captain_Blood Mopsy Soapy
Int. Piggy Duck Horse Flea