With a nod to Jeff Stelling, Giles Metcalfe looks at football clubs named after things or companies, such as Total Network Solutions FC, Airbus UK Broughton FC, Bayer 04 Leverkusen , FC Traktar Minsk, Semen Padang FC and, erm, Ajax!
Total Network Solutions FC
The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club was known as Total Network Solutions FC from 1997 to 2006. The club was the first UK side to incorporate the name of their sponsor into the name of the football club. In early 2006, Total Network Solutions (TNS) was taken over by British Telecom, and the sponsorship arrangement lapsed at the end of the 2005/06 season. It then became necessary to find a new name for the club, and, after a trawl for ideas including an attempt to sell the naming rights on eBay, the name ‘The New Saints’ was agreed upon.
Sky Sports’ Jeff Stelling mocks the trend for naming clubs after sponsors. When the result are in, and if TNS played and won at home, Stelling invariably said “They’ll be dancing in the streets of Total Network Solutions tonight!”, which has since been updated to “They’ll be dancing in the streets of The New Saints”. Stelling’s poke at the sponsors was also often applied to fellow Welsh side, Airbus UK Broughton FC.
Airbus UK Broughton FC
Airbus UK Broughton FC originated as the works team of the Airbus UK aerospace factory, based in Broughton, Flintshire, Wales. Originally called Vickers-Armstrong, the factory and side has variously been named de Havillands, Hawker Siddeley, British Aerospace, and BAE Systems. Nicknamed ‘The Wingmakers’, the club was promoted to the Welsh Premier League for the first time in 2004, and play at The Airfield, Broughton – featuring unique retracting floodlights as the ground is adjacent to an operational runway.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Bayer 04 Leverkusen, also known as Bayer Leverkusen, Leverkusen or simply Bayer, is a German football club based in Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia. Originally formed as the Bayer pharmaceutical company’s sports and social club, Turn- und Spielverein Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 1904, later SV Bayer 04 Leverkusen after 1907, the team has played in all four German professional football divisions. The team has been Bundesliga runners-up five times – in 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2001–02, and 2010–11 – bitter pills for the club’s fans to swallow!
FC Traktar Minsk & FC Traktor Bobruisk
FC Traktar Minsk is a now defunct football club from the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Founded in 1947 as the Minsk Tractor Plant (MTZ)’s sports club, and playing at Traktar Stadium, the team turned pro in 1948, competing in the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic Championship until 1992, along with FC Traktor Bobruisk. Following the break-up of the USSR, both teams then played in the Belarusian Premier League, with FC Traktor Bobruisk now known as FC Fandok Bobruisk (later FC Bobruisk before disbanding altogether). In 2002, FC Traktar Minsk merged with RIPO (“Trudovye Rezervy”) to create FC MTZ-RIPO Minsk, a feeder club for Ipswich Town.
Semen Padang FC
Semen Padang FC was founded in 1980 and play in the Indonesian Premier League. PT. Semen Padang are the oldest, some might say seminal, cement company in Indonesia, and sponsor the club plus give it its name. Champions in 2012, the team is built on the strong foundations of star striker Edward Junior Wilson, goalkeeper Jandia Eka Putra, vice-captain Hengky Ardiles, and Argentine playmaker Esteban Vizcarra.
Ajax – Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax, Ajax Amsterdam, or AFC Ajax – are named after the legendary Greek hero of the Trojan War depicted on the club’s crest. However, when I was a kid, I was under the impression that the club was named after the brand of bleach my mum used – Ajax!
Other noteworthy teams
Other noteworthy teams named after their sponsor or factory of origin include, Red Bull Salzburg, Red Bull New York and Red Bull Leipzig; Toyota Automated Loom Works FC; Toyota Motor SC (later Nagoya Grampus Eight, one-time home to Gary Lineker, now Nagoya Grampus); FC Carl Zeiss Jena; Wofoo Tai Po FC; OOH Lincoln Ladies; SCG Muangthong United FC (one-time home to Robbie Fowler); SV Wacker Burghausen; Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors; KPMG United FC; and Technogroup Welshpool Town FC.
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