Nicknames are a crucial part of football. Whether it be fan-given, or passed down through the generation, these names give the fans a feeling of closeness to their club. For their rivals, it is trolling material. What can’t be ignored is that they are a part of the fabric of the game. There have been many famous nicknames, like Manchester United’s “Red Devils”, or Arsenal’s “Gunners”. In Italian football, the most iconic one is Juventus’ “Old Lady”.
This nickname immediately incites curiosity about its origin. Why are Juventus called the “Old Lady”? We answer the question here-
Why are Juventus called the “Old Lady”?
The answer to this question is two-fold. One is the story behind “Old”, and the other is the story behind “Lady”. First the “Old” story.
There is a beautiful language quirk to this. “Juventus”, in Latin, means “Young”. Then why is Juventus called “Old”? They got this nickname as a result of a pun on their name.
Juventus is one of the oldest clubs in football history. Founded in 1897, they are anything but “Young”, Therefore, their Latin meaning was the direct antithesis of reality. Furthermore, Juventus have never really been renowned for having a young team. Their spine has always been built on seasoned campaigners. During the late 1930s particularly, most of Juventus’ star players were on the wrong side of 30. Consequently, they began to be called “Old” as a pun on their “Young” meaning, old existence, and their playing squad philosophy.
Now to the story of “Lady”. In Italian football, most clubs are considered female by the largely male support. In fact, Juventus were also called “La Fidantaza d’Italia”, meaning “The girlfriend of Italy”. Therefore, the “Lady” part of the nickname stuck to Juventus.
Combining those two words, and the iconic nickname of “Old Lady” was born for Juventus.
Juventus’ other nicknames
Of course, “Old Lady” is not the only nickname for Juventus. They are also known as “i Bianconeri”, i.e., “The Black and Whites” due to their signature black and white jersey colour.
Similarly, due to their jersey pattern, they are called “Le Zebre” or “The Zebras” as their kit pattern resembles the pattern on a Zebra’s body.
Liked this story? Below is a deep dive into football’s most iconic nicknames. So sit comfortably, and take a deep dive into the origin story of these famous nicknames-