Quentin Newark, in his critique of the Manchester United crest, (DW 29 August) states: ‘The team used to be known as Newton Heath, and its nickname was The Heathens, so the devil is a kind of joke’.
Mmmm, interesting theory. In fact, it was during the 1950s that Salford Rugby Club impressed the natives during their tour of France so much that they were nicknamed Rouge Diables.
On their return to England the supporters made the nickname their own, and then, in turn, supporters of the the ‘local’ football team caught on to the name and adopted it for their team. In the years since, the club began using the devil, and it first appeared on the ‘official’ club crest in 1971.
So the French had a major impact on Manchester United, before Eric was even a twinkle in Monsieur Cantona’s eye.
The Open Agency