10 of football’s cruellest nicknames: Potter, Anelka, Capello, Wenger…

Football and nicknames go hand in hand and it’s fair to say that there have been some brutal ones handed out over the years.

From fans in the stands to players dishing them out themselves, there are countless examples of footballing nicknames throughout the years. Some have probably been kinder than others.

We’ve gone back through the years and picked out 10 particularly cruel nicknames from the footballing world.

Graham Potter

The former Brighton man only lasted eight months in the job at Stamford Bridge, but that was enough time to cook up some creative nicknames.

The Athletic reported that several players called Potter ‘Harry’ and ‘Hogwarts’ behind his back. Comparisons between Mykhailo Mudryk and Draco Malfoy were also made as Potter struggled to get the best out of him.

Savo Milosevic

Previously known as ‘Savo Miss-a-lot-evic’, the former Aston Villa frontman will always be remembered for the chances he missed, rather than the goals he scored.

“I knew about my nickname and it did upset me. I can laugh about it now because I’ve coped with much more difficult things,” he told The Telegraph.

“Maybe I didn’t score as many goals as everyone would have liked, but the team did well when I was at Villa and I scored some important goals and also made a lot of goals.”

Steve Bruce

Bruce was well aware that his days at Newcastle were numbered as the new ownership came in and it’s fair to say that some of the playing squad weren’t his biggest fans.

He was reportedly referred to as ‘Mike Bassett’ by at least one senior player towards the end of his reign. Plenty of fans also saw the resemblance between Bruce and the comedy character.

Arsene Wenger

The war of words between Wenger and Jose Mourinho was legendary back in the day. The Portuguese manager is best known for his outlandish remarks and he had everyone’s attention when he named Wenger a ‘specialist in failure’.

“If he is right and I am afraid of failure it is because I didn’t fail many times. Eight years without silverware, that’s failure,” Mourinho told reports in 2014.

“He’s a specialist in failure,” continued Mourinho. “If I do that in Chelsea, eight years [without a trophy], I leave and don’t come back.”

Gerd Muller

Having scored over 700 professional goals, Muller is one of the most prolific forwards of all time. However, that still doesn’t mean he’s immune to a jibe or two.

The German forward was dubbed as ‘little fat Muller’ by his first Bayern Munich coach Zlatko Cajkovski, which isn’t exactly the most endearing of nicknames.

Nicolas Anelka

The Frenchman’s moody exterior promptly earnt him the nickname ‘Le Sulk’. Anelka was never the most bubbly of characters, but he was one hell of a player.

READ: Nicolas Anelka: ‘Le Sulk’ who inspired smiles at Arsenal & Chelsea


Abou Diaby

The former Arsenal midfielder was a fine player in his pomp, but injuries hampered him throughout his career. As a result of this, the French media promptly game him the nickname ‘Glass Man’.

“They say I’m ‘L’Homme de Verre’. It means that I’m made of glass,” Diaby told JOE. “It can be painful, on a psychological level.

“They don’t know how much I give every day of my life to try and recover. But hey, what can I do? This is my life story.”

Darren Anderton

The former Tottenham winger also struggled with injuries throughout his career and earned the nickname ‘sicknote’. In fairness to him, he did make over 350 appearances for Spurs in the end.

Carlos Bilardo

Bilardo enjoyed a successful career in Argentina which spanned over 12 years from 1958-1970. After hanging up his boots, he went on to manage Argentina and win the 1986 World Cup.

Despite all of his achievements in the game, he could never escape his nickname of ‘Big Nose’.

Fabio Capello

Things never clicked for the Italian manager whilst in England and it’s no wonder when the players called him ‘Postman Pat’ behind his back.

David Bentley revealed in an interview with Soccer AM: “He did look like him, didn’t he?

“It was just classic, and then it became a thing, he couldn’t speak English, could he? So we’d be going ‘alright Postman Pat? How’s your black cat?’

“We’re in team meetings and you get all the lads going, [getting progressively louder] ‘Postman Pat’.”

READ NEXT: 11 of the best nicknames in English football: Hall, Smalling, Maguire…

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every Chelsea manager in Premier League history?