List of English football club nicknames

English Football Nicknames

A list of nicknames for English league football clubs, some are well known, other nick names are rarely used anymore and have become obsolete. Updated for the 2008-2009 season.

The tradition of football clubs having a nickname often extends back to when the club was first created. Reasons for clubs being called particular names are varied, some develop from a well known local industry. (Where often the early supporters were employed.) Or the name might be related to a local landmark, or the nickname may be based on the colour of the strip. Sometimes it's just not known why a football club has a certain nick name.

Premiership Football Clubs

Football Team Football Club Nickname Reason for nickname
ArsenalGunners, GoonersThe club started out as woolwich arsenal, and guns are stored in an arsenal so... the gunners.
Aston VillaVillainsclub named after Villa Cross church in Aston, villains developed from that
Blackburn RoversRovers, The RiversidersRovers - common team name like rangers or wanderers implies teams are willing to travel great distances for glory. Riversiders - named after a stand in the ground.
Bolton WanderersTrottersAnother way of describing travelling - from the official name wanderers
ChelseaBlues, or PensionersNamed after the well known chelsea pensioners - war veterans living in a nearby hospital.
EvertonToffees, or The Toffeemen, or Blueslocal sweet shop gave away toffees and mints, or slang term for Irishmen.
FulhamCottagersTheir ground is Craven Cottage
Hull CityTigersBlack and orange striped kit
LiverpoolRedskit colour
Manchester CityCitizens, City, or Sky BluesCitizens developed from City, sky blues from kit
Manchester UnitedRed DevilsThe club chose the name because they liked it and incorporated a devil into the club badge.
Newcastle UnitedMagpies, The Barcodes, The Toon based on colour of kit - black and white. Toon - Geordie pronounciation of town.
PortsmouthPompeyA nickname for the city of navel extraction
Stoke CityPottersLocal pottery industry
SunderlandBlack Cats, The Lads, The Mackems, Rokerites (obsolete)Black cats voted for by fans. Mackems because shipbuilders used to mak(e)‘em ‘n’ tak(e)‘em. Roker park old ground, so rokerites became obsolete.
Tottenham HotspurSpurs, Cockerels and Lilywhites (obsolete)A shortening of hotspur, club originally played at Northumberland Park - Northumberland in Shakespeare gave rise to Harry Hotspur, so some literate public schoolboy element appended Hotspur. The story that the club was called Hotspur after an Earl who lived locally is apparently false.
West Bromwich AlbionBaggies, The Throstles (out of use)Throstle means thrush in the black country and these birds were often seen in the hawthorn bushes around the ground. There are several theories about the nickname the baggies. From supporters wearing baggy clothing, to the players wearing very baggy shorts.
West Ham UnitedHammers, The IronsTeam started life as Thames Ironworks.
Wigan AthleticLaticsCorruption of athletic

Championship football club nicknames

Football Team Football Nick name Reason for nickname
BarnsleyTykes, The Reds, The ColliersRed kit colour
Birmingham CityBluescolour of kit
BlackpoolTangerines, The SeasidersKit colour, famous beach resort.
Bristol CityRobinsA Robin featureed on club badge
BurnleyClaretskit colour
Cardiff CityBluebirdskit colour
Charlton AthleticAddicks, the ValiantsA corruption of the word athletic, or named after a local fish shop or because local fish man would shout “Haddocks”. Valiants after the name of the ground.
Coventry CitySky BluesColour of kit
Crystal PalaceThe Eagles or Glaziers (obsolete)Glaziers because crystal palace was made of glass, and the eagles because management liked the name.
Derby CountyRamsRam on club badge
Doncaster RoversRovers, Donny, VikingsAbbreviations, viking appears on club badge
Ipswich TownBlues or Tractor BoysKit colour, association with farming community
Norwich CityCanariesNorwich formerly famous for canary breeding, kit colour from this
Nottingham ForestReds, Forestkit colour, famous forest
Plymouth ArgylePilgrims, The GreensThe pilgrim fathers last port of call before they left for the new world
Preston North EndLilywhites, North End or PNE. Early days known as The Invincibleskit colour
Queens Park RangersThe 'R's or The HoopsAbbreviation, hoops - kit
ReadingThe Royals or Biscuitmen (obsolete)The "Huntley & Palmers" company had a biscuit factory in Reading. The Royals comes from the royal county of Berkshire where Reading is situated.
Sheffield UnitedBladesSteel industry, famous for knives
Sheffield WednesdayOwlsFormer ground at Owlerton
SouthamptonSaintsTeam originally called St Mary's YMA
Swansea CitySwansAbbreviation
WatfordHornets, Golden BoysYellow and black football kit
Wolverhampton WanderersWolvesAn abbreviation of Wolverhampton

League One club nick names

Team Football Nickname Explanation of nickname
BrightonSeagullsA coastal football club, so named after a sea bird
Bristol RoversPirates, The GasPirates - City's seafaring history. Gas - nearby gasometers
Carlisle UnitedThe CumbriansCounty of Cumbria
Cheltenham TownRobinsbased on red and white kit
Colchester UnitedThe 'U'sAbbreviation of United
Crewe AlexandraRailwaymen, The AlexTown renowned for building trains. Alex - an abbreviation.
Hartlepool UnitedPools, The PoolAbbreviation
Hereford UnitedThe BullsWell known breed of cattle
Huddersfield TownTerriersYorkshire Terrier on club crest
Leeds UnitedUnited or The Whites or Peacocks (obsolete)Abbreviation, kit colour, peacock - local pub, ground name
Leicester CityFoxesLarge local fox hunting industry
Leyton OrientThe'O'sAbbreviation
MillwallLionsLion on club crest
Milton KeynesMK Donsincorporates past club history as Wimbledon dons
Northampton TownCobblersLocal shoe manufacturing industry
Oldham AthleticLaticsA corruption of the word athletic
Peterborough UnitedThe Posha former manager wanted "posh players for a posh team"
ScunthorpeThe Ironlocal iron foundries
Southend UnitedShrimperslocal shrimping industry
Stockport CountyThe Hatters, CountyFamous hat making industry
Swindon TownRobinsclub crest used to feature a robin
Tranmere RoversRoversAbbreviation
WalsallSaddlerslocal saddle manufacturing industry
Yeovil TownGloversTown renowned for glovemaking

League Two football nicknames

Team Football Nickname Explanation
Accrington StanleyThe RedsKit colour
Aldershot TownShotsabbreviation
BarnetThe Beeskit colour
BournemouthCherrieskit colour
Bradford CityBantamskit colour suggests plumage of bantam
BrentfordBeesB for Brentford
BuryShakersclubs chairman once said "We will shake them. In fact, we are the Shakers."
Chester CityThe SealsOld ground named Sealand Road
ChesterfieldSpiritesFamous twisted spire on church in town
Dagenham & RedbridgeThe Daggersderived from Dagenham
DarlingtonQuakersA large local population of Quakers
Exeter CityThe GreciansUnknown reasons, parishioners of a local church also known as Grecians
Grimsby TownMarinersAssociation with fishing industry
Lincoln CityThe Red Impsfrom the legend of the Lincoln imp
Luton TownHattersThe town had a famous straw boater hat industry
Macclesfield TownSilkmenOnce had a large local silk industry
MorecambeThe Shrimpslocal shrimping industry
Notts CountyMagpiesblack and white kit
Port ValeValiantsderived from "Vale"
Rotherham UnitedMillersderived from the name of the ground - Millmoor
Shrewsbury TownShrewsabbreviation
Wycombe WanderersChairboyslocal furniture factories

Conference - National Football Clubs

Team Football Nickname Explanation
AltrinchamThe Robinskit colour
BarrowThe Bluebirdskit colour
Burton AlbionThe BrewersTown renowned for the brewing industry
Cambridge UnitedThe U's, The Yellowsabbreviation, kit colour
Crawley TownThe Red Devilskit colour
Eastbourne BoroughThe Sportsbased on an old name of the club
Ebbsfleet UnitedThe Fleetabbreviation
Forest Green RoversRoversabbreviation
Grays AthleticGraysabbreviation
HistonThe Stutesoriginating from the club's previous name Histon Institute,
Kettering TownThe Poppieskit colour
Kidderminster HarriersThe Harriersabbreviation
LewesThe RooksChess piece on club crest
Mansfield TownStagsderived from the own’s old coat of arms
Northwich VictoriaThe Vics, The Greens, The TrickiesAbbreviation, kit colour green and white
Oxford UnitedThe 'U'sabbreviation
Rushden and DiamondsDiamondsabbreviation
Salisbury CityThe Whiteskit colour
Stevenage BoroughBoroabbreviation
Torquay UnitedGullsseaside town
WeymouthThe TerrasThey play in a terracotta coloured strip
WokingThe Cardinals, The Cardsnamed after their red and white strip
WrexhamRed Dragons, Robins (obsolete)kit colour
York CityCity, or the MinstermenYork Minster is visible from the ground

Thanks to several Pub Quiz Help users who pointed out a few less well known nicknames and/or provided explanations. Drop me an email if you know of any good explanations for why a team has a particular nickname. There are quite a few gaps, so any help would be appreciated!

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