View Full Version : Annual Update of EPL Team Names, 2014-2015 Edition

Cali Ed
07-22-2014, 12:33 AM
It's that time of year when I provide this annual update to the team nicknames post. For those not in the know, I used to post an update of EPL team nicknames for those who were new to following "the beautiful game". Hope to capitalize on the growing popularity of the EPL here in the states, particularly after the World Cup. Some years ago, I was asked how the Premier League teams got their nicknames. I provided a response via sources indicated here. This is the annual update, as the new season is just about upon us. The information is principally provided by Ken Ferris' book Football: Teams and Terms, published in Manchester in 2005. The rest I found via various web sources.

Arsenal - Gunners (club was founded by members of the Royal Arsenal)
Aston Villa - Villans (kinda obvious)
Burnley - Clarets (colours of team strip )
[U]Chelsea - Blues (colours of team strip)
Crystal Palace - Eagles (name chosen in 1973 by then-manager Malcom Allison to promote a "progressive image"); Glaziers (historic team name, now less known. Reference to the club's original site, at Crystal Palace Park, a London suburb named after the site of the famous 19th century glass-encased exhibition hall.)
Everton - Toffees (years ago, a local toffee shop proprietor [Old Ma Bushnell] received permission to sell her toffees inside Goodison, the club's home stadium. Her granddaughter dressed up to sell them, hence the tradition of the Everton Toffee Lady/Ladies. The nickname Toffees naturally followed)
Hull City - Tigers (colours of the team strip, a black-and-amber strip)
Leicester City - Foxes (a reference to Leicestershire's fox-hunting traditions. The county is the home of the Quorn, the oldest foxhunt in the country)
Liverpool - Reds (colour of team strip)
Manchester City - Citizens or Blues ("City-zens"; Blues for colour of team strip)
Manchester United - Reds or Red Devils (less common) (Reds for color of the team strip; Red Devils was adopted in the early 60s after Sir Matt Busby, legendary team manager, heard it in reference to the red-shirted Salford rugby league side.)
Newcastle - Magpies (from the black-and-white colours of the team's strip, said to resemble the plumage of said bird); Geordies (a regional nickname for Tyneside, the part of England where Newcastle-upon-Tyne is located).
Queen's Park Rangers (better known as QPR) - Rangers (Queen's Park is the area of London where a large number of players from the earliest days were from. Rangers was the nickname of a prior club, Christchurch Rangers, who merged with another to form QPR)
Southampton - Saints (the club's original name was it was founded in 1885 was "Southampton St. Mary's". The "saints" reference comes from that original team name).
Stoke City - Potters (for the pottery and ceramics industry, Britain's main center for those industries since the 16th century)
Sunderland - Black Cats (chosen by fans in 1997 in reference to black cat legends around the team dating back to 1903); Mackems (less common; reference to local ship building industry, "we make 'em" which in local dialect sounds like Mackem)
Swansea City - Swans (kinda obvious); Jacks (less common) (reference to a local dog from early in the 20th century who rescued people from several sinking ships. A local pub is called The Swansea Jack)
Tottenham Hotspur - Spurs (Spurs is a reference to Harry Hotspur, a character in a couple of Shakespeare's history plays who liked to use his spurs when riding his horses through the countryside)
West Bromwich Albion - Baggies (origin unknown: some say it was the baggie shorts players originally wore, some say it was in honor of the "baggies" pants the local ironworkers wore. Club historian Tony Matthews however suggests that it derives from the "bagmen", who carried the club's matchday takings in big leather bags from the turnstiles to the cash office on the halfway line. Locals would shout "Here come the bagmen", shortened to "Here come the baggies".) Also Throstles (less common; reference to the "Black Country" word forthrush, a song bird that a local landlady owned. Legend has it that when the bird sang, the team almost always won. A thrush features on the team badge.)
West Ham - Hammers, Irons (less common) (both derived from the fact that the club were founded as Thames Ironworks FC in 1895 by employees of the shipbuilding company. Hammer symbolized the tools of the trade, Irons a reference to the Ironworks)

[I]Hope this helps!

07-22-2014, 08:47 AM
A warm welcome back to little Burnley, even though we need a third claret and blue side like we need a 6th toe, and to the Leicester Foxes, although we need another West Midlands side like we need ... ah, you get it. Burnley's been away since 2010, but have always somehow managed to field competitive teams in a tiny market town in Lancashire. I think they still have the record of being the smallest town to host a Premiership match. Leicester has a fairly rich history, but hasn't been in the top flight since their financial problems in the early 2000s, despite some pretty stout ambition climb back over the last 4-5 years.

A less hearty greeting to QPR upon their quick return. And they're already showing their colors with expensive signings of older EPL pros. Never change QPR. Never change.

07-22-2014, 10:16 AM
A guide to the alt nicknames that rival sides use would be entertaining...

07-22-2014, 12:24 PM
A guide to the alt nicknames that rival sides use would be entertaining...

I'm pretty sure they'd be the same except for an adjective in front...

07-22-2014, 12:25 PM
A less hearty greeting to QPR upon their quick return. And they're already showing their colors with expensive signings of older EPL pros. Never change QPR. Never change.

You don't like their signing of Rio Ferdinand?

07-22-2014, 01:25 PM
You don't like their signing of Rio Ferdinand?

Well ... he's still going to make huge wages and he's clearly on the back side of a career that was in large part predicated on mobility. So no ... not a move I'd make. And they've already got the partially fossilized Richard Dunne on the squad in addition to Caulker. Just take a quick peek at the roster ... Barton, Wright-Phillips, Taarabt, Zamora, Jenas, Hoilett, Armand Troare, Robert Green ... it's like a collection of "almost was" guys and or out and out nutters.

Cali Ed
07-24-2014, 06:33 AM
By "out and out nutters" I'm guessing Taarabt and Barton are exhibits 1 and 1A? ;)