Check Out Why And When Man United Were Nicknamed “Red Devils”.
Manchester United is officially recognized as the Red Devils. Although the majority of football lovers and even some fans of the club do not know why, when, and how Manchester United earned this nickname. In a bid to understand and unravel what is looking like a mystery, I, Amazigboi decided to go back to memory lane to provide you with answers to these questions.
You should know that while Manchester United is not the only club bearing this nickname, they appear to be the most famous of all teams that use “the Red Devils” as their nickname. While the reason for which these teams use the phrase varies, that of Manchester United is our concern in this article.
With that in mind, let us take a look at how, when and why Manchester United adopted this nickname. Here I go. To understand this very well, we have to trace how Manchester United have changed since it was established over 100 years ago.
Remember that Manchester United was formed in the year 1878 when they were simply called “the Heathens”. In that era, the official name of the club was “Newton Heath Football Club”. This means that the first nickname of the club was “the Heathens”. It was until 1902 that the club renamed itself as Manchester United as part of a club rebrand. At this time, they were just called “united”.
When former legendary manager, Sir Matt Busby, took control of the club in 1945, he brought in some talented players into the Manchester United academy. Many of these players developed into exciting world-class players at the time.
For this reason, the press began to call this group of famous players “the Busby Babe”. Hence, Manchester United adopted it as their nickname.
However, in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958 which is known today as the darkest day in Manchester United history, eight of these players namely — Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman, Geoff Bent, Billy Whelan, Tommy Taylor, Mark Jones, Roger Byrne and David Pegg all died.
After this incident, the nickname “Busby Babes” was judged to be inappropriate. Then the search for a new nickname began.
Busby, a survivor of the Munich Air Disaster, went searching for a new nickname. He was said to have drawn inspiration from the Salford City Rugby team who had gone on a tour of France in the 1930s. The rugby team’s shirt is red, this made the French press brand them as “Les Diables Rouges” which is translated to “Red Devils”.
Busby then liked this nickname. He felt that the allusion to the devil is more intimidating and menacing to the ear, unlike “Babes” which sounds tender and more angelic. He then announced that the club will now be nicknamed “the Red Devils”. They began implementing the devil logo into matchday scarves.
In 1970, the club officially redesigned its badge, which now includes the devil with a pitchfork. This badge is what the club adopts to date. As it is, the club may never change this nickname again.
If you ask me, I share the opinion of Sir Matt Busby, the nickname “the Red Devils” is indeed intimidating to the ears. After all, the word “devil” should strike fear into our opponents. Did I reveal something there? Never mind that.
Meet Fred the Red, Manchester United’s official mascot who dons number 55. He is an anthropomorphic Red Devil as a nod to the team’s nickname.