Manchester United logo
By Tunde Sulaiman
I got a somewhat touching text from a reader reacting to my piece last week titled: “Bracing Up for Man United without Fergie” in which I mentioned Manchester United’s nickname “Red Devils”.
While the reader did not put his (or her) name, he did say he was a Christian supporter of Manchester United and made it abundantly clear that he was unhappy with my use of the Old Trafford’s nickname.
“Do you know it’s from hell to glorify Satan the devil…and those jubilating with are indirectly worshiping devil also (sic)” is part of the text message he sent. He further said: “Hence the Christian fans of Man U are trying hard to change the name. Pls repent and leave that club.”
While I will not join issues with the reader (especially since religion is a very touchy subject) I will only like to point out that the club Manchester United predates all of us having been founded in 1878 as Newton Health LYR Football Club before adopting its present name Manchester United in 1902 and moving to its present ground “Old Trafford” eight years later.
Although it only adopted the nickname “Red Devils” in the 60s, I still feel it will be a bit difficult arguing about the merits or otherwise of a nickname now almost five decades old!
Yes, while the nickname is associated with everything bad religious wise, those who choose to use it must have had their reasons for adopting it and not something more religiously acceptable like “The Gunners” (Arsenal), “The Blues” (Chelsea) or the “Red” (Liverpool).
Unfortunately, there is virtually little we can do about it other than accepting to support United or switching to another club, whose nickname is more palatable.
And on a lighter note, anyone remember this memorable scene from the 1973 James Bond movie, “Live and Let Die” when Bond was being interrogated by “Kananga” in the presence of Kananga’s soothsayer, “Solitaire” and his chief bodyguard “Tee Hee”?
The narration goes thus:
James Bond: “There seems to be some mistake. My name is...”
Mr. Big (Kananga): “Names is for tombstones, baby!”
So please let’s try not to take offence over a nickname and felicitate United’s triumphs while those with “better nicknames” are celebrating qualification for the UEFA Champions League!