Exotic names from Germany

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The Independent Online
Q. It is customary for the media to refer to the football club Bayern Munchen as Bayern Munich. Why is Munchen translated as Munich, but not Bayern as Bavaria? Are any other sports teams half-translated? And what is the foreign custom; what is the German for Preston North End?

A. It would appear that a translation of the city is always used in English if it is available: Munich, Cologne, Nuremberg, Seville, Rome, Naples, Vienna, etc, but other parts of teams' names are ignored, i.e. Bayern, Borussia (neo-Latin for Prussia), Real (Royal), Atletico, Internazionale, Stade (City), Rot-Weiss (Red and White), etc. Perhaps the most notable exception is Red Star Belgrade.

German also uses Roter Stern Belgrad but otherwise usually translates the name rather than the team: AS Florenz (Fiorentina), AC Mailand (AC Milan) - not Milano). It also incorporates the name of the city even where it is not in the original: Celtic Glasgow, Arsenal London (but only if this does not become too unwieldy - no Tottenham Hotspur London or Aston Villa Bir- mingham). Prominent exceptions are FC Everton and RSC Anderlecht.

At present there are only two members of the Bundesliga whose names make no reference to their home towns: FC St Pauli (in the fun part of Hamburg) and the inimitable FC Schalke 04 (in unfashionable Gelsenkirchen). In 1974 I saw my first Bundesliga match when Schalke surprisingly lost 2- 0 at home to Offenbach Kickers (no translation necessary). Offenbach's two-goal hero was Siggi Held, now the trainer with Gamba Osaka in Japan. Siegfred the Hero indeed. - Andrew Wood, Wallacestone, Stirlingshire

Q. I remember a "refined slogger" playing for Somerset in the Fifties, Harold Gimblett. I have just missed a play about him on Radio 4. Can anyone tell me the tragic circumstances leading to his suicide?

A. Harold Gimblett was much more than a "refined Somerset slogger of the Fifties". He was, at his best, a brilliant opening batsman whose career from 1935 to 1954 brought him more than 20,000 runs at an average of almost 40 and included 50 centuries. He played three times for England.

Though his cricket entranced many, he was, it seems, a gloomy, introspective man who suffered from bouts of severe depression, during one of which he took his own life, on 30 March 1978.

Full justice to Gimblett is done by David Foot in his biography Harold Gimblett - Tormented Genius of Cricket. This book, one of the finest cricket biographies, also explains fully Gimblett's tragic death. Foot had access to tape recordings in which Gimblett revealed his innermost thoughts. A short account of the Gimblett tragedy is to be found in David Firth's By His Own Hand which tells the stories of cricket's surprisingly large number of suicides. - Edward Liddle, Wolverhampton

Q. As the football season gets under way, what is the heaviest defeat suffered by a club on the opening day of the league programme?

A. Middlesbrough not only defeated Brighton and Hove Albion 9-0 in the opening game of the 1958-59 season but also won 6-4 in the return game.

These sort of results came during a legendary period of prolific goal scoring feats by Brian Clough in the Fifties. In the same season Boro drew 6-6 with Charlton Athletic at The Valley with Clough scoring most, if not all, of the goals. Reportedly he went into the dressing room after the match and said to his defenders: "If we score seven at home next week, do you think we might win?" - Wilf Hylton, Scarborough


Q. For the first three matches of the present season, Queen's Park Rangers have played using the old familiar shirt numbers of 1 to 11. This led me to think which team over the years, since squad numbers began, have stayed closest to the old system. I can think of two methods of deciding, the lowest mean squad number total, and the team with the most shirt numbers between 1 and 11. My choice would be QPR again for the first method, and Manchester United for the second. Am I right? - Christopher Cole, Aberdeen

Q. Did the former German city of Breslau (now Wroclaw) have a football team before 1945? If so, who were they? And, what if any, were their achievements? - Adrian Crawley, Doncaster

Q. The death was recently announced of Len Martin, the voice of Grandstand's classified results. Reference has been made to the fact that few people would have recognised his face, but many people would not have even known his name, since it was never announced before the reading of the results or given on the programme's closing credits. Why was this so? - John Francis, Altrincham

Q. I understand that in the case of animals - horses or dogs for example - there is no difference in the speed of male and female animals. If this is true, why does the same not apply to human beings? - Alan Stewart, Lymington

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