Earlier this week, the Premier League published this season's players retained/released lists. While the usefulness of this information is a bit suspect - not only is the list outdated, players aren't officially out of contract until June 30th anyway and thus could very well be offered new contracts anyway (right, Super Frank?) - it always makes for a fun read since we get to see the full names of all the players. Or at least I'm assuming these are their full names; the fact that Eden Hazard does not have a middle name and Thorgan Hazard has two (Ganael Francis) strikes me as a bit odd. Considering that, you know, they come from the same set of parents...
While not every player has a middle name - they are not common in every culture after all - some of the one who do, have rather amazing ones. Here's our definitive ranking of the ten best.
One of the most common names in the English-speaking world. A strong name, fit for Kings and Saints. And also for no less than four Chelsea players: Frank James Lampard, Gary James Cahill, Patrick James Bamford, and Alex James Davey. In James we trust.
Another common name, it edges out James because of its easy transferability between languages. Case in point: Andrew Alexander Kiwomya and Ulises Alejandro Davila. Cristian Alejandro Cuevas is another Alejandro, while Jhon Pirez goes for the mixed language route with Jhon Alexander Pirez. Just another piece of the puzzle in the mystery of Jhon Pirez.
Sounds cool. Lithuanians think it's how you spell Manama, capital of Bahrain. Weirdos. Also an excuse to get Romelu Menama Lukaku onto this list. What's crackin', Kraken?
Means 'male fox' in French. Also the name of a cool character in Gargoyles. So, basically, Lewis Renard Baker has a blank canvas with which to work with as he quests to become the greatest.
Hypens are cool! Plus it doubles as a proper name in and of itself. Clint Ross, meet Jamal Clint-Ross Blackman. Jamal Clint-Ross Blackman, meet Clint Jamal-Blackman Ross. Whoa.
I'm assuming this is some Sierra Leonean name, which is where Nathaniel Nyakie Chalobah hails from originally. I'm also assuming it means something along the lines of Future God Of Defensive Midfield But Maybe Not Because Youth Development Ain't Easy.
I made a life-changing discovery a few months ago: if you hold down a button on the keyboard in OS X for a few seconds, you get a pop-up menu of all the special characters hidden underneath that button. Look: øôöòóœōõ. I know, right! (Though some of these might not come across in the final published version for reasons that probably have to do with Unicode or gremlins or David Luiz.) I wonder if Andreas Bødtker Christensen knows this trick.
Teehee, it sounds like Sally. (Does it?) Isak Ssali Ssewankambo gets special bonus points for having two esses in a row at the start of not only his middle but his last name as well. Which does beg the question, why not Issak Ssali Ssewankambo? Or, even better, Ssak Ssali Ssewankambo? Talk about a missed opportunity!
A middle name so awesome, Van Ginkel had to hide it along with his real first name. The world is not ready to be trusted with this information! Don't worry, your secret is safe with us, Wulfert Cornelius... I mean Marco van Ginkel.
Despite Pharrell's best efforts at ruining this word, the fact that freakish man-child and part-time angry mountain (it's his hobby) Kurt Happy Zouma is called KURT HAPPY ZOUMA is the greatest thing ever. Oh man, I can't wait to scream "Go on, Happy!," while he casually nukes the opposition's striker. GET SOME!
N.B. Honorable mention goes to John David Swift. David is a quality name, some might say the best even.