As we near the end of our quest to find the greatest footballing names, there’s some good news. Well….good news if you like reading this blog, which I assume you do otherwise….yeah! The number of wonderfully named forwards is so vast that I’ve decided to split them into two posts. In my time doing this, I’ve discovered new players that were originally left out. For example, Czech defender Milan Fukal is known for his six years in Germany and in his career won….several things, actually. The 97/98 Czech Cup with Jablonec, the 99/00 Czech League with Sparta Prague and the 2003 Ligapokal with Hamburg.
South Africa have given us 28-year-old Two-Boys Gladstone Gumede, whilst Reading’s Steve Death once held the English league record of 1,074 minutes without conceding a goal. He played alongside winger Wayne Wanklyn in the 1970s. Dutch defender Johan de Kock amassed 13 international caps and played for Groningen, Utrecht, Roda JC and Schalke. He made commentators all around Europe sound judgemental and nasty.
Carlos Roberto de Oliveira played in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups for Brazil and is the all-time leading goal scorer at Vasco da Gama. After scoring a spectacular debut goal, a local journalist nicknamed him Roberto Dinamite and it stuck with him. He went on to have a successful political career before it all blew up in his face. Not really, the kid did well.
Another nice tidbit was when, in the 2001/02 season, Charlton Athletic’s back four read Young-Fish-Costa-Fortune. This actually happened several times. Time for part one of the strikers!
He turned water into wine, fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish and chose to rise from the dead, so it only makes sense that he’d be a talented drummer. Born in Zaire in AD 1976, Bongo played for the Congo four times. He wouldn’t play to anyone else’s beat, which explains his nomadic career consisting of German, Swiss and French clubs. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to raise his career from the dead and retired in 2008.
Also born in Zaire, Assombalonga is a wonderful rhythmic name to say aloud. Aged just 20, this summer saw Britt become Peterborough United’s record signing at £1.5m. Scoring 15 goals on loan at Southend United brought him to Darren Ferguson’s attention, as his path at Watford was blocked by the Pozzo family using their connections to bring in mass amounts of foreign players. A pacy striker, he’s the son of former Zaire international Fedor Assombalonga, who decided to move his family to England when Britt was eight months old. His Peterborough career has started phenomenally well and hopes a promotion will thrust him onto a bigger stage, allowing Posh fans to continue chanting “Let’s all do the conga, Britt Assombalonga”.
Stefan Kuntz/Uwe Fuchs
Some of us might remember commentator John Motson awkwardly stumbling through Kuntz’s name during Euro 96, instantly gaining iconic status. Of course, he then cancelled out Alan Shearer’s goal at Wembley to help Germany eliminate England in the semi final. His career took him to Bochum, Uerdingen and Kaiserslautern but the reason he’s paired here with Uwe Fuchs is their time together at Arminia Bielefeld. Imagine lining up against a Kuntz-Fuchs strike force! Middlesbrough fans may be familiar with Fuchs, as the German scored 9 goals in a 13 game loan spell to help Boro get promoted to the Premier League. Who said that Germans don’t have a sense of humour?
It’s unconfirmed whether the current Doncaster manager’s middle name is ‘Mei’, or has any Chinese heritage at all. A Bulgarian report legitimately claimed that his surname is due to a Bulgarian grandfather! What we do know is that Dickov scored once in 10 caps for Scotland. A bit part role in Arsenal’s Cup Winners’ Cup win in 1994 was followed by a move to Man City, where he became a club legend. In the Division 2 play-off final, City were 2-1 down to Gillingham but Dickov’s epic stoppage time goal took the game to extra time, a game that City won on penalties. Scored past Vince Bartram (best man at Dickov’s wedding), it was voted ‘City’s Greatest Ever Goal’ in 2005. He spent several years in the Premier League with Leicester and Blackburn before becoming Oldham manager. In 2013, they shockingly knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup, although he resigned shortly after.
Andre Muff – Swiss striker that prefers to do the penetrating.
Andreas Weimann – Only moderately funny if you’re Geordie and pronounce his name “Whey Aye, Man!”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Pacey Gabonese striker currently playing for Dortmund, his name can be chanted to Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty’ or Skrillex’s ‘Bang-a-rang’.
Next week is the final installment of the Team of Funny Names, so thanks for sticking with this and keep the feedback coming in!