Top 10 Club Nicknames

As part of our Top 10 series, published every Tuesday and Friday, we look at ten unforgettable team nicknames...
10) Cowdenbeath (Scotland) - The Blue Brazil

Brazil's population: 191,000,000.
Cowdenbeath's population: 12,000.

Brazil's crowning achievements: Five World Cups and a worldwide army of fans.
Cowdenbeath's crowning achievements: Scottish second level title, 1939; Third Division title 2006 (with an average crowd of 471.)

Brazil's coach: Dunga, penalty scorer in a World Cup final.
Cowdenbeath's coach: Danny Lennon, once scored against Bayern Munich for Raith Rovers.

The similarities are endless. No wonder Cowden are the Blue Brazil!

9) Zambia - Chipolopolo

The Zambian national side leave nobody in any doubt as to their capabilities by self-describing as the 'copper bullets'. The country exports a lot of copper and presumably makes a lot of bullets, too. Shame they've been unable to fire themselves to a World Cup just yet.

8) Galatasaray
(Turkey) - Cimbom

A nickname that earns its place due to its being unbelievably ubiquitous yet completely inexplicable. Nobody knows where Cimbom came from. Oh, sure, you'll have people swear on their cat's life that it comes from a Swiss football chant of 'Jim Bom Bom' or that it relates to some American boxer or something, but the fact of the matter is that all the people marching around with Cimbom scarves in fact know nothing except that it is probably the catchiest two-syllable word in any language ever. Seriously: say it out loud. You'll never want to stop.

7) Estudiantes (Argentina) - Las Pincharattas

'The rat stabbers' would, in other countries, perhaps come from a rival club accusing their enemies' fans of being unclean, and reduced to spearing rats for the evening meal. In fact these students are rat-stabbers because of their link with the medical profession, and their anatomical experiments carried out on small rodents.

6) Chievo
(Italy) - Mussi Volanti

This name really was applied by rivals. 'ChievoVerona', to give their full name, are known as the 'Flying Donkeys' because fans of the historically larger, more successful side, Hellas Verona, said that donkeys would fly before they were ever overtaken by the upstarts of Chievo. Hellas, Scudetto holders of the mid 1980s, now languish in the third tier while Chievo remain in Serie A.

5) Malaga (Spain) - Los Boquerones

'The Anchovies', far from losing anything in translation, sounds even more awesome in English. Malaga, being a centre of the fishing trade, is home to the delightful white anchovies that are prized so highly locally that they lend their name to the resurgent local team.

4) Enyimba International
(Nigeria) - Enyimba

In English, the Igbo language word Enyimba translates, quite gloriously, as "The Peoples' Elephant". As well as being the nickname of Nigeria's top clubs, it's also an affectionate name for the team's city, Aba. Enyimba finished the 2008-09 season in third place, this particular Elephant being a weighty force in Nigerian football in recent years.

3) Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) - Die Launische Diva

The side forever synonymous with losing 7-3 to Real Madrid in the 1960 European Cup final in Glasgow is known as the 'Moody Diva'. Why? Because in recent years the big-time Charlies in Hesse would put in great performances when the limelight was on them - against Bayern or Borussia Dortmund, say - then flounce their way through routine matches against Uerdingen and St. Pauli. (Another showbiz nickname in Germany is Bayern Munich's "FC Hollywood" moniker, which would make this list if it wasn't so painfully true.)

2) Albacete (Spain) - El Queso Mecanico

Yet another Spanish name, it's hard to beat 'The Clockwork Cheese' for a nickname that, while pedestrian in its origins, throws up an amusing image. Albacete are the cheese because the city's status as the cultural and economic centre of La Mancha makes it the capital of the Manchego cheese-producing region; and it's clockwork because their spell in the early 1990s in the top flight saw them produce consistent performances to remain in the Primera for five years. Wind them up and watch them go.

1) Hartlepool United (England) - Monkey Hangers

Yes, you read it right. And yes, it means exactly what it says. A local urban legend has it that during the Napoleonic wars, a small ship washed up on the east coast of England near Hartlepool, and the only survivor was the ship's mascot - a monkey in full French uniform and regalia. The townsfolk, mistaking the creature for an actual Frenchman, held a trial on the beach, and with the monkey quite unable to present a defence, they had him hanged. The story's almost certainly a load of rubbish, but it's given rise to the the top nickname in our list. Inevitably the legend is so popular that the club mascot is "H'angus the Monkey", with the local mayor having made something of an electoral platform of his wearing the costume...

What are your favourite club names? Any not listed above that you like? wants to know what YOU think

Ewan Macdonald,