What’s in a name? Almost everything it seems
At its heart, names theory is very simple: an individual’s name has a significant influence on their success in a particular role or position.
Historically, particular professions or manual activities defined family or clan names. Today, this relationship is reversed. Particular names are suited to success in particular occupations, sports and positions within a team. If we may exaggerate just a little: the name alone can be the difference between success and failure.
And so it is in football.
Who would you rather have up front in a decisive cup match – Henry Ramsbottom or Diego Panucci? Knowing just the names, we’d all pick Panucci (except for, perhaps, Henry’s mother).
So what makes the “right” name?
This is our challenge. You can approach names theory from different angles. For example:
- The sound of the name
- The popularity of a name among successful practitioners of a particular position (or sport)
- First names versus family names
- First letters and last letters
- First syllables and the number of syllables
…not to mention professional names, which are common in football, and play a special role in names theory. The Brazilians were the pioneers here, of course. Such names as Garrincha, Pelé, Rivaldo, Zico, Socrates, Ronaldo or Ronaldinho are music to our football-enthusiast ears. But other football names from outside Brazil conjure up their own positive impression: consider such names as Müller, Maradona, Messi, Xavi, Zinedine Zidane oder Delle Alli.
Surely, then, it is a small step to suggest that with these kind of names, you can’t help but become a world-class footballer. Or if you again allow us a little exaggeration for effect – can you become a world-class footballer without a world-class football name?
Irrespective of all the above, the power of a name is clear enough – why else is the name printed on the back of the shirt,usually between the shoulders for all to see? Such shirts drive billions in sales. All football fans, and not just the kids, want their team’s shirt with the name and number of their favourite player on the back.