Almanack: Giving football a very bad name

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FOOTBALL often draws out the eccentric side in its fans, whether this manifests itself as a tendency to tote inflatable vegetables or becomes apparent through membership of the Association of Football Statisticians. But Pete May has deviated further from the norm than most: he is an expert on unusual football club names.

'I have played in the London Relegation League,' Pete declares, parading his credentials, 'among the likes of Homerton Academicals and Inter the Valley. I played for Time Out magazine's team.' And what wacky name did the team have? 'Time Out,' he says, morosely. 'It's pathetic.' Inspired by the imagination of his team's rivals, Pete decided to search the country for similar gems. He was assisted in his quest by the files of the Football Association's magazine, FC, which undertook to publish his results.

It was gruelling work: 'They say there are 47,000 football clubs in this country,' says Pete wearily. 'It's a lot to choose from.' Discarding London's Brixton Moenchengladbach and Crouch End Vampires, tossing aside Gateshead's Cheese on Toast, Liverpool's Lobster FC and the depressingly inevitable Gazza's Bellies, Pete finally chose his Top Ten silliest names, reproduced below. (A couple of pointers to comprehension: a Geordie accent helps with No 5, and No 8 is a women's team).

1 Real Ale Madrid

2 Imaginary Madrid

3 A3 Milan

4 Inter the Valley

5 Norfolk Enchance

6 Borussia Munchenflapjack

7 JCB Eindhoven

8 The Old Fallopians

9 AFC Bacon Sandwich

10 PSV Hangover

'There's thousands more out there,' Pete concedes. 'This is probably only the tip of the iceberg.' No doubt Almanack's readers will have nominations of their own: let's have them.

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