Where Did You Get That Name……Douglas Haig?

After a 13-year absence, it’s been a decent return to Argentina’s Primera B Nacional  (second tier of the domestic league) for Douglas Haig, with the club (based in Pergamino on the outskirts of Buenos Aires), sitting in a relatively comfortable mid-table spot (both in terms of the current campaign and the percentage table that dictates relegation matters) as the season reaches its latter stages.

They did look to be in serious danger of a swift return to Torneo Argentina A (one of the two feeder leagues for Primera B Nacional), until a recent eight-match unbeaten run in which they amassed 20-points saw them pull clear of the danger-zone.  Another handful of points over their final eight league matches should be sufficient to ensure survival.

The very idea of an Argentinean football club being named after a WWI British Field Marshall (and one with a highly contentious reputation at that) seems a fairly unlikely scenario, particularly given the strained relationship between the UK and Argentina over recent decades.  The explanation is relatively straightforward though.

On the one hand, the naming of the club is in part explained by the date of its formation – 18 November 1918 (it’s probably fair to say that the fact that Haig had overseen the death of nearly 20,000 British troops on the first day of the Somme offensive wouldn’t have been portrayed in the media in quite the same way then as it is today).  Secondly, as with many clubs in the Americas, Douglas Haig were formed by British workers (in this case, those working on the Argentinean Central Railroad).  After the end of the war, they decided to form a club to compete in the local championship, but required permission from the head of the railway, Ronald Leslie, to do so.  Leslie agreed, but on condition that the club adopted the name of Douglas Haig.

Even by Latin American standards, there do appear to be more Argentinean clubs named after individuals than elsewhere.  Newell’s Old Boys take their name from Isaac Newell, with the club named in his honour.  Newell had founded the Colegio Comercial Anglicano Argentino and, given his own passion for football, it was no great surprise that the popularity of the sport caught on at the college.  Newell’s Old Boys itself was founded on behalf of the college in November 1903, with Claudio Newell (Isaac’s Argentinean-born first son) being one of the principal founders.

Another top-flight club, Colon are named after Christopher Columbus (or Cristóbal Colón as he is known in Spanish).  Elsewhere, Aldosivi  (one of Douglas Haig’s Primera Nacional B rivals) apparently derive their name, according to Wikipedia, from “the first two letters of the last name of their founders, Allard, Doulfus, Sillard, and Wiriott (the w was changed to a v because there was no W available to telegraph the official announcement)”.  The idea of a missing letter and the potential for all manner of hysterical misunderstandings sounds perilously close to a Two Ronnies or Benny Hill sketch.

There is one individual who puts all others in the shade when it comes to popularity though, with no less than four clubs being named in his honour.  William Brown was born in County Mayo, Ireland in 1777, but it is in Argentina where he is regarded as a national hero as creator and first admiral of the country’s maritime forces.  Brown helped secure victories in the Independence War (against the Royalist forces loyal to the Spanish crown), the Cisplatine War (sometimes referred to as the first Argentine-Brazilian War), and the Anglo-French Blockade of the Rio de la Plata (a five-year naval blockade on the Argentine Confederation imposed by France and Britain).

As part of Brown’s legacy, Argentinean football has Almirante Brown (Primera B Nacional – “Almirante” translates as “Admiral”); Guillermo Brown (Primera B Nacional – “Guillermo” being the Spanish version of “William”); Brown de Adrogué (Primera B Metropolitina) and lower league Almirante Brown de Arrecifes (Liga de Fútbol de Arrecifes). Ironically there is speculation that Brown was actually illegitimate and took his mother’s surname.  His father’s surname may have actually been Gannon.

With the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher in mind, perhaps the Argentineans could look at naming a new club in tribute to her?  It might be asking a bit much for them to pay homage to her directly, but I quite like the idea of Douglas Haig facing Douglas Hurd.

We should probably be thankful that the trend for naming football clubs after individuals has never caught on in the UK.  Had it done so and given today’s apparent obsession with “celebrity”, we could be looking at any new clubs formed in recent years being named in honour of the likes of Gok Wan, Pippa Middleton and Dom Littlewood.  Zenit St. PeterAndre anyone?

It's worth noting that the name Douglas Haig has even been used in the world of online dating. Some dating sites cater to a particular demographic or interest, and it's not uncommon to find sites that use military or historical themes. Given the association with bravery and leadership, it's not surprising that the name Douglas Haig has been used for a dating site where women can meet brave men. Of course, it's up to each individual to decide whether they feel comfortable with the use of such a controversial historical figure in this context.

In the case of Douglas Haig, it may evoke associations with bravery, courage, and military prowess, which could appeal to some women seeking a partner who embodies these qualities. However, it's important to keep in mind that using a name alone is not enough to convey one's personality, values, and traits. It's essential to provide a clear and honest description of oneself and what one is looking for in a relationship to attract compatible matches.

It's worth noting that the use of names in online dating sites can have different connotations and meanings, depending on the cultural and social context. For instance, in some cultures, names that sound exotic or foreign may be seen as more attractive or desirable, while in others, names that are more familiar or traditional may be preferred.

Apart from the football club and online dating site, there are other things that have been named after Douglas Haig. There are also streets, squares, and monuments named after Douglas Haig in different parts of the world. Finally, Haig whiskey is another example of something that has been named after Douglas Haig. The name is said to be inspired by the field marshal's love of fine whiskey and the fact that his family has a long history in the Scottish whiskey-making industry.

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