Several dozen clubs in Brittany have an original name. It’s very Breton …
It is true that there is a sacred menagerie. The Marcassins, the Squirrels, the Leopards of Ploërmel, the Rabbits of Guengat, the Blue Butterflies of Spézet. These flowery names are a Breton specificity. There is no very rational explanation, except that it surely comes from Breton and the Breton language is a very colorful language. When it comes to religion or sex, well Bretonnants often use images that refer to nature. Even when clubs, after mergers, become “FC” for Football Club, the old names remain (in people’s minds).
In the 30 clubs chosen by Le Télégramme, sometimes the name has a known origin, sometimes they are rather hypotheses. Mystery fuels the imagination, right?
Yes ! Club archivists, who know everything about their club’s history, have an explanation. Otherwise there is a part of mystery, of dream! I have always thought that in the imagination of Breton sport, dreams are very important.
These original clubs are mainly found in the countryside, in the Center-Brittany. Very little in Ille-et-Vilaine, in the Côtes-d’Armor and on the coasts. Why ?
In big cities or coastal towns, we are more classic. “Football Club”, “Union Sportive”, “Stade de”, we are much less in the imagination. I still believe that it is due to the practice of Breton which was much more present in the center of Brittany. I’m from Huelgoat, it was the USH, for Union Sportive, but for everyone, it was the Sangliers d’Huelgoat. “Moc’h Gouez”, the wild pig. After the mergers, a name was needed that would create a consensus between “Cathos” and lay people.
Forward Guingamp, Brittany also has the only pro club with an original name …
I went to a lot of stadiums in France. When you say En Avant, people mean Guingamp. Inevitably.
The history of these club names is marked by stories of matches: squirrels against the last cartridges, hunters against rabbits, etc. It helps to create their legend, doesn’t it?
I haven’t read all the press literature on this subject, but our fellow press correspondents must have had a lot of fun. Very often, the town hall secretary was also a teacher and the duck correspondent. So they had a certain style of writing and were Breton. After mass, for some, the Sunday match was the big Sunday meeting. The reviews were tasty …
Among all the quirky club names, which one do you prefer?
I often spoke of Gourlizon Sport when I was working. But it’s not original, so I would say the Rabbits of Guengat, the Squirrels of Plogonnec or the Diables du Juch. Even a Catholic club like this could laugh at religion, imagine the “Diaouled” of Juch at the time!
The leaders of the “Rah Koed” of Plaudren, the “wood rats” almost traded their name for the classic “FC” before backing down. Identity is the last thing left when you lose your licensees and volunteers …
“Rah Koed”, I did not know! It’s a beautiful name. Literally, it means the beasts that jump in the woods. That’s good, they were right! I’m going to tell you a story: in Guingamp, at the start, the Breton identity was a bit sluggish, they didn’t want to hear too much about it, they wanted to be chic. But, after a while, they realized at the club that the name was really important, that the name had to be put forward!
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