Nicknames have been a part of sports for as long as balls have been thrown, hit or kicked. In Philip Roth's Great American Novel, about a traveling baseball team, one novice player begs to have a nickname so that he can feel truly accepted among the senior players. Much to his fury, they oblige by calling him 'Nickname.'
Chelsea's new manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, shows no such desire for acceptance, and has served notice to the English media that he no longer wants to be referred to as "Big Phil." "The 59-year-old, who assumes control at Chelsea on July 1, has said that he will be able to acclimatise to British football, food, even the weather," writes Sandy Macaskill, "but one facet of our culture he will not be interested in adopting is a propensity for nicknames."
Scolari said he does not want to see his name spelled with a "Ph," insisting that "it is Felipe, not Phil. I will not allow anyone in England or anywhere else to change my name." This is perhaps an indication of how well the manager knows the English media. For his next trick, Mr. Scolari will stand in front of a herd of enraged bulls waving a large red flag.