Did you know that our Devils haven't always been red?

28/06/2018

Where do our national team players get their 'Red Devils' nickname from? The origin of the name dates back to the early 20th century. At the time, it was customary to organise matches between neighbouring countries. In 1905, a selection committee was set up, and our players received their red jerseys. Belgium subsequently took on the Netherlands on 29 April 1906, at Antwerp. The predictions favoured the Dutch, but our players were in fine form and, against all expectations, won 5-0. Pierre Walckiers, editor-in-chief of "La Vie sportive" (the official newspaper of the Belgian football league), was impressed by the speed of our players in their red jerseys, writing: "The Dutch were the favourites. That was enough to fire up the necessary courage in our little Red Devils". It was the first time this expression had been used.

The speed in the movements of our players apparently reminded him of a Belgian engineer and racing driver, Camille Jenatzy, who was famous for having been the first person to go faster than 100 km/h, on 29 April 1899, in a car he designed himself, "La Jamais contente" ("Never satisfied"), which was an electric car in the shape of a shell or torpedo. Easily recognisable by his fine red beard, Jenatzy, who won the fourth Gordon Bennett Cup in the United Kingdom in 1903, became famous in motor sport as the "Red Devil".

But the "Devils" haven't always been red! This nickname only became official much later. In the 1970s, they were called the "White Devils" when coach Raymond Goethals was in charge. In 2000, their black shirts for their away games led to them being called the "Black Devils". Before reverting back to red.

Finally, it is worth noting that the term 'Red Devils' is not the exclusive preserve of our national team, it also refers to other national or regional teams, including the Congolese national football team (Congo-Brazzaville), as well as Manchester United Football Club in England, or the Football Club de Rouen in France. The nickname can also be found in other disciplines: the Welsh rugby team... as well as the Belgian Air Force aerobatics team.

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