Red Devils, Toffees, Hatters, Gunners, Blades, Canaries….English football clubs have a plethora of nicknames beloved by their supporters.
But how did they come about?
Some come from their home towns and the industry around them, like the hat makers of Luton and the cutlery manufacturers of Sheffield.
And some have monikers whose origins have simply become lost in the mists of time.
Here are a few to whet the appetite:
Everton Toffees – from a sweetshop near their home at Goodison Road
Ipswich Tractor Boys – from local links to agriculture
Not Just a Play on Words
West Ham Hammers – not just a play on words; crossed hammers on the club crest signify iron-making tools used by original founders Thames Ironworks
Southampton Saints – from the local St. Mary’s Church Young Men’s Association
Norwich Canaries – originally due to the local popularity of breeding canaries; also associated with the team’s bright canary yellow strip
Middlesbrough Smoggies – refers to the industrial pollution from steel and chemical plants surrounding the town
Bolton Wanderers Trotters – possibly from their 19th century pitch situated next to a piggery. Players had to ‘trot’ through the pigsties to retrieve wayward balls
Chelsea Pensioners – originally a tribute to the war veterans living at the nearby Royal Chelsea Hospital
West Bromwich Albion Baggies – either from the players’ baggy trousers in the club’s early days, or named after the ‘bagmen’ who carried the matchday takings away from the turnstiles in large leather bags
Charlton Athletic Addicks – a corruption of ‘haddocks’ in reference to the local chip shop
Come On You Blues
Birmingham City Blues – from the colour of the club kit
Sheffield United Blades – from the club’s links to the local steel and cutlery industry
Arsenal Gunners – a reference to the local military arsenal – the club’s founders were workers at the Woolwich Arsenal Armament Factory
Plymouth Argyle Pilgrims – named after those who set sail for the New World from the south coast port
Watford Hornets – from the colour of the strip
Blackpool Seasiders – the club is based in the tourist resort on the northwest coast
Newcastle Magpies – from the black and white home strip; also known as the ‘Toon’ from the local pronunciation of ‘town.’
Stoke City Potters – a reference to the local pottery industry in Staffordshire
Nicki Williams is an armchair football fan writing for Gear-Zone, specialists in sportswear and equipment for football, cricket, rugby, tennis, fitness, running and athletics