ONCE upon a time, you couldn’t move for Bobs and Berts in the Football League.
You couldn’t turn round without bumping into a Walter, a Wallace or a Donald – and their name would invariably be linked with a grand old surname like Arkwright, Mainwaring or Shuttleworth.
But those days are long gone, more’s the pity, and times have changed considerably.
A study by the Football League this week found out that you are more likely to come across a Daniel than anyone else in the 72 clubs outside the Premier League.
There are 60 of them, apparently, but a quick straw poll on The Bolton News sports desk identified five, and two of them play for Bury.
The Shakers have Daniel Nardiello and Danny Mayor, while hats off to Dave Pye for recalling Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Danny Ings (Burnley) and Danny Webber (Accrington Stanley).
I’d hoped for a half-mark for Neil Danns but was over-ruled.
Among the other “answers” we got on the desk were Danny Blanchflower, Danny Mills – both long-since retired – and Danny Boy, which is frankly, a song.
Danny Ward was the last Daniel that Wanderers actually owned, and he left three years ago.
Before that, there was a big Nigerian defender by the name of Shittu and a ball-juggling Norwegian international by the name of Braaten. Actually, now I come to think of it, it’s no wonder we stopped collecting them.
And before you start bombarding me with tweets or emails, yes, Daniel Sturridge was much, much better than those mentioned but he belonged to Chelsea at the time, so didn’t count.
In a list of the players registered to the 72 clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two, the name Daniel pipped James to top spot by one, erm, Daniel, and were several players ahead of joint-third David and Matthew.
But in the future, they too will go the way of Wilfred, Brian and Stanley, to be replaced by whatever is the modern vogue.
Recently, baby boys these days all seem to be named after octogenarians, so on the horizon in a decade or two, we have a wave of footballers called Harry, Oliver, Jack and Charlie, just like the good old days.
Quite why we don’t have any Shuttleworths or Arkwrights playing professionally I’m not sure – as while Christian names come and go out of fashion, you would imagine surnames to have a bit more longevity.