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Vitamin Q: the book!

~ Monday, May 16, 2005

Explanations of the nicknames of some British football teams:

Aberdeen (The Dons) – their ground is close to the river Don
Alloa (The Wasps) – due to the gold and black strip
Arsenal (The Gunners) – the cannon on their badge reflects the fact that the team once played near Woolwich arsenal
Ayr United (Honest Men) – from a line about the townsmen in Robert Burns' poem 'Tam O'Shanter'
Barnsley (The Tykes) – from a word meaning rascal, kid, or Yorkshireman
Berwick Rangers (The Borderers) – although they play in the Scottish league, this side are based just over the border in England
Blackpool (The Seasiders) – the town is England's most famous traditional beach holiday resort
Bolton Wanderers (The Trotters) – from a name for Bolton natives relating to their apparent habit of 'trotting' (using tricks or scams)
Bournemouth (The Cherries) – from a red strip and the proximity of the ground to a cherry orchard
Bradford City (The Bantams) – after the chicken which has vaguely similar colours to the club strip
Brentford (The Bees) – due to yellow and black strip and the letter B
Bristol Rovers (The Pirates / The Gas) – from a pirate (rover) on the club badge; from their ground next to a gasworks
Bury (The Shakers) – religious group the Shakers, a Quaker offshoot, were founded in the Bury area
Celtic (The Bhoys) – from an early nickname 'the bold boys' rendered in a supposed Irish accent
Chesterfield (The Spireites) – from the famous bent church spire in the town
Clyde (Bully Wee) – apparently from their being a fine ('bully'), small ('wee') club from a large city (Glasgow)
Crewe Alexandra (Railwaymen) – the town has a famous railway junction
Crystal Palace (Eagles) – a hopeful nickname applied after their former nickname 'The Glaziers' (relating to the Crystal Palace building) became redundant
Darlington (Quakers) – due to the great influence of Quakers on the town economy
Derby County (The Rams) – after the mascot of an army regiment in which many Derby men served
Dumbarton (The Sons) – a contraction of 'sons of the rock' – the town is built around a castle built on an extinct volcano
Dunfermline Athletic (Pars) – unexplained (despite much research) nickname; the most common suggestion (that they were once so awful they were dubbed 'paralytic') seems unlikely
Everton (Toffees) – due to Everton mint toffees made in the area
Exeter City (The Grecians) – it is said that an 18th century re-enactment of the battle of Troy in the town meant people in some areas were known as Greeks / Grecians
Fulham (The Cottagers) – after their former ground, Craven Cottage
Heart of Midlothian (Jam Tarts) – rhyming slang for 'Hearts'; the team is named after a stone cobble formation in the centre of Edinburgh marking the county centre
Luton Town (Hatters) – from the town's involvement in the hat industry
Mansfield Town (The Stags) – from a stag on a former coat of arms of the town which is close to the famous Sherwood Forest
Northampton Town (Cobblers) – the town was famous for its shoemakers
Norwich City (The Canaries) – Norwich are one of the few top teams to play in yellow
Partick Thistle (Jags) – because thistles are jaggy plants
Peterborough United (Posh) – supposedly from a 1920s advert asking for 'posh players for a posh team', a forerunner of the current club
Plymouth Argyle (The Pilgrims) – the Mayflower pilgrims set off from Plymouth
Portsmouth (Pompey) – a nickname for the town as well as the team, this is the most debated of all: so many suggestions have been made that the truth will probably never be found
Sheffield United (The Blades) – due to the city's famous steel industry (esp. cutlery)
Walsall (Saddlers) – the town had a big leather industry
West Bromwich Albion (Baggies) – from bags used to collect money at early games or patched trousers worn by their ironworker supporters

Source: various

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