RCD Espanyol are known by one of the funniest nicknames of all the Spanish football teams: “periquitos” or “pericos”. “Periquitos” means budgies in English, a name which is both strange and funny for a football team. However, what makes this nickname even more special is its unknown origin. There are different theories regarding why “periquito” is used to refer to Espanyol.
The most popular story used to explain why Espanyol and their fans are known as “periquitos” or “pericos” comes from the early 20th century. At that time Espanyol used to play their matches in the neighborhood of Sarrià (Barcelona), in which there were a lot of palms trees with budgies. Therefore the team came to be known as “periquitos”.
The other story behind Espanyol’s nickname is less well-known but both stranger and more realistic. Valentí Casanys was a Catalan graphic humorist from the first half of the 20th century that used to make graphic cartoons for the football newspaper El Xut (“The Shoot”).
At that time FC Barcelona were the most popular team in the city of Barcelona. Because of this, Casanys used to call Espanyol and their fans the “four black cats”, because the team had so few fans, compared to Barça. At that time the popular creation Felix the cat (Pat Sullivan) was released in Spain. It was translated into Catalan as “gat perico” or “gat periquito” so Casanys began to name Espanyol and their fans as “els quatre gats periquitos” (“the four budgie cats”).
From that point on the name “periquito” used to refer to Espanyol became popular.
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