Wow, what a weekend of football that was and it occurred to me as I was watching Juventus get thrashed by Real Madrid in the Champions League final, that I didn’t know so much about the history of these 2 mighty clubs, for example what does Juventus mean even???
With this in mind, I thought it was time for me to do a bit of digging and find out a little bit more about the history of the Old Lady.
My first stop was of course wikipedia, where I found out that Juventus were first formed in Turin in 1897 and since that time they have become the most successful club in Italy winning 63 trophies to date and are the fourth most successful club in Europe.
What is the Meaning of Juventus?
Lets start by having a look at the actual name ‘Juventus’, which is defined as:
“Roman god of youth, personification of iuventas "youth," from iuvenis "ayoung person"
source - http://www.dictionary.com/browse/juventus
Origins of the Juventus Name
Great so, we know that Juventus literally means ‘Youth’ but what on earth has that got to do with this Italian football club?
I did a little more digging and found a wonderful little story about the history of the name Juventus.
So the story goes….
On a beautiful day in September 1897 in a high school in Turin, a boy called Domenico Donna, who wasn’t particularly interested in the Latin lesson, was passing a note around some of his friends in class, which was caught by the teacher and read aloud to the whole class.
The note read: "Meet me at four o'clock by the usual bench at Corsa Re Umberto".
Knowing what the boys were like, the teacher gave a big sigh and said:
"Che Juventus" - what a youth!
Of course, later in the day the boys all met up anyway and decided to form a football club, which became the legendary Juventus that we know today, originally starting out with the name “Sport-Club Juventus”
The names ‘Juventus’ was particularly appropriate as back then, most of their team was made up with 16 and 17 year old boys.
Now, of course we are talking about an Italian team, so the story doesn’t end here and since the inception of the Club in 1897 Juventus have had a number of different nicknames, which resemble the flair and passion that the fans have with the club.
Most people in modern times will know Juventus simply as ‘Juve’, which is just a shortening of the word Juventus, however, the next most popular nickname of this club from Turin is…
‘La Vecchia Signora’ or ‘The Old Lady’
Yes, this does sound beautiful for a Club’s nickname, when you compare it to a lot of modern day nicknames such as the ‘Blues’ or the ‘Stripes’, but why on earth would you call a club the ‘Old Lady’?
Well the ‘Old’ part of the nickname is just an ironic play on the ‘Juventus’ or ‘Youth’ name, and was given to the team in the 1930’s when most of their players were ageing a bit!
Juventus had a tendency to keep on to their players in the past, hence the nickname, and to be honest this tradition has continued into the modern era… think Del Piero (705 appearances) or Buffon (622 appearances).
Before the 1930’s the passionate fans used to lovingly refer to their club as the ‘Lady’ so it wasn’t a great leap of faith to put the two together and come up with a nickname for the club that has stood the test of time ‘The Old Lady’ or ‘La Vecchia Signora’
‘La Fidanzata d'Italia’ or ‘The Girlfriend of Italy’
This is the nickname that Juve was given for a short time after the 1930s as well, when a large number of immigrant workers from Naples and Palermo came to work for FIAT and fell in love with the club! Oh yes, the Italians sure love their football!
‘I bianconeri’ or ‘The Black and Whites’
We all know that Juventus play in their famous black and white strip, however, did you know that when they first formed they played with pink shirts, black shorts and black ties… yes, they had to play with ties back then.
Rumour has it that when visiting England one of the Juve officials saw Notts County playing and fell in love with their black and white kit so adopted it for Juventus, who have played in that kit ever since 1903.
‘I Gobbi’ or ‘The Hunchbacks’
This is more of a nickname that is given to the Juventus supporters, but sometimes also to their players, and stems from the 1950s.
Apparently in the 50s the team jersey was particularly large and had a lace tie up on the front of it. This meant that when the players were running or on a blustery day, the shirt inflated like a parachute and gave this hunchback effect!!!
I can’t imagine that this could have been particularly good for the aero-dynamics, but hey, the nickname stuck!!!
This comes from the Piedmontese language in the North West of Italy and was sometimes used as a nickname for the club
‘Le zebre’ or ‘The zebras’
Not too hard to figure this one out, but this is a less commonly known nickname in reference to the club colours.
What is in a name?
So, I hope you enjoyed the rich history of Juventus’ name today, but what about your favourite club or the club that you play for.
If you have got any good nicknames for your club or your supporters or have any great stories you can tell us about how your club formed, then we’d love to know.
Just drop a note in the comments below as we’d love to hear from you!