It’s every football-mad dad’s dream: to be able to pay tribute to your favorite club or player by giving your child that same name, regardless of how it sounds.
The latest hero to be nominally acknowledged, perhaps inevitably, is Leicester City’s league top scorer Jamie Vardy.
Ashley Marriot, a 28-year-old Foxes fan from Leicester, was permitted by his girlfriend to use Vardy as the middle name of their unborn daughter on one condition: that he reach 5,000 signatures on an online petition.
Marriot took just a week to hit his target, a strike rate befitting of Vardy himself.
It’s peculiar, but in the rich history of football-inspired baby names, Marriot’s tribute is heart-warming.
It isn’t uncommon for babies to be named after songs – ask any Jolene, Maggie or Cecelia – but YNWA, an acronym which stands for You’ll Never Walk Alone, is certainly a new one. It was chosen as a middle name by a committed Liverpool fan from Norway. It’s unclear yet whether he intended the letters to be pronounced as rhyming with ‘quinoa’, but we like to think so.
In 2012, 13 baby boys in the UK were named after Barcelona’s former midfield general. It was generally a plum year for footballer-inspired monikers, in fact: there were 25 Thiagos, 19 Andrés and even eight Neymars.
Are these the eyes of a future midfield maestro? Beram Kyal hopes so. The Celtic midfielder announced last year that his first child is named after Andrea Pirlo.
Kyal pointed out, helpfully: “My wife was fine naming the baby after a footballer. She picked a footballer for a husband after all!”
Leandro Lampard Martins Guedes
During the build up to the 2013 Brazil-England friendly in Rio de Janiero, media happened upon a one-year-old home fan with a less than Latin name: Lampard. His father, a huge Chelsea fan, explained that the boy (nicknamed Lampardinho) was born on the 24th April 2012, the same day the Blues knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League.
Zinedine Yazid Zidane Thierry Henry Barthez
Lampardinho won’t be alone when he has expectation heaped upon him at his first football trials. Spare a thought for Brazilian eight-year-old Zinedine Yazid Zidane Thierry Henry Barthez, named for his father’s favorite former France internationals. Zidane, as he’s simply known, cannot even pronounce all his names, and can scarcely remember them. “I don’t know them yet. I never learned them,” he told G1 news in 2014.
The England captain famously named his second-born Klay after a sporting hero (Cassius), but Rooney has himself inspired numerous namesakes. In 2014, four-year old Rooney Scholes (the surname is coincidental, his Man United-mad mother said) made headlines when he was told by staff at a Thorntons store in Bury that he could not have his name written on a personalised Easter egg because of ‘copyright issues.’
And finally, the one that got away: earlier this year Gunners fanatic Mo revealed that he tried to give his new-born son the middle name Arsenal, only to be stopped by his disapproving wife, Tania.