List of football club nicknames in the United Kingdom

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This is a list of nicknames for United Kingdom football clubs. Nicknames are usually preceded by 'The'. The origins of some nicknames are unclear with various stories being put forward.

The usual basis for nicknames are:

  • Local industry
  • Colour(s) of home strip
  • Name of club
  • Name of area or ground
  • Logo


England[edit]

Main article: Football in England
Nickname Club(s) Reason
Addicks Charlton Athletic A corruption of the word 'haddocks', named after a local fish and chip shop
Ash Trees Ashford Town (Middlesex) The emblem of the town, derived both from the name of the town and from the large tree that stood in the centre of the town for many years
Cottagers Fulham As the stadium has a Cottage in the corner of the ground
Baggies West Bromwich Albion Acquired when the players played in long shorts (debatable - see the club's article for more details!)
Bantams Bradford City A reference to the claret and amber colours of the club's strip[1]
Bees Barnet Based on colour of home strip
Bees Brentford Misinterpretation of an 1890s chant "Buck up Bs"
Biscuitmen Reading Referred to former Huntley and Palmers biscuit factory in the town (not used since 1980s)
Black Cats Sunderland Named after the Black Cat gun battery which stood on the river Wear. Also references the lucky black cat which led to the team winning the FA Cup[2]
Blades Sheffield United Local links with steel and cutlery
Blues Birmingham City Colour of home football kit
Blues Chelsea Colour of home football kit
Blues Chester Colour of home football kit
Blues Everton Colour of home football kit
Blues Grays Athletic Colour of home football kit
Blues Ipswich Town Colour of home football kit
Blues Shrewsbury Town Colour of home football kit
Blues Southend United Colour of home football kit
Blues Wycombe Wanderers Colour of home football kit
Boro Middlesbrough Short version of name
Boro Stevenage Short version of original name, Stevenage Borough
Brewers Burton Albion Local links to the brewing industry
Bulls Hereford United After the local breed of cattle
Biscuit Men Reading An old nickname from a prominent biscuit manufacturing business in the town
Bury St Margaretsbury
Canaries Norwich City Initially due to popularity of canary breeding in Norfolk, later home strips are the same colour as the bird, and is now used in the club's logo
Cardinals (Cards for short) Woking From the Cardinal red of the red and white shirt halves[3]
Chairboys Wycombe Wanderers Local links to the furniture making industry
Cherries Bournemouth Stadium built on a cherry tree orchard
Citizens Manchester City Developed from 'City'
Clarets Burnley Colour of home strip
Cobblers Northampton Town Local links to the shoe making industry
Cottagers Fulham From club's ground, Craven Cottage
Cumbrians Carlisle United From Cumbria, the county the club are from
Daggers Dagenham & Redbridge Based on club name
Dale Rochdale Short version of name
Diamonds Rushden & Diamonds Short version of name
Dolly Blues Lancaster City Derived from the fact that team originally played in the same colour as the 'Dolly Blue' washing tablets
Donny Doncaster Rovers The regional nickname of the town
Dons MK Dons A continuation of Wimbledon. See Wimbledon F.C.
Eagles Crystal Palace Taken from nickname of Benfica
FC FC United of Manchester
Filberts Leicester City Seldom used, derives from previous ground being located on Filbert Street
Fleet Ebbsfleet United Short version of name
Fosse Leicester City Original name was Leicester Fosse, which derived from The Fosse Way. Name still in use by commentator Stuart Hall
Foxes Leicester City Outline of Leicestershire on a map resembles a foxes head, Hunting tradition of the county [4]
Gas Bristol Rovers Old ground next door to a Gasworks
Gills Gillingham Short version of name
Glaziers Crystal Palace Reference to The Crystal Palace. No longer used
Glovers Yeovil Town Local links to the glove making industry
Grecians Exeter City Grecians was, for centuries, the nickname for people from the St Sidwells parish of Exeter where the ground is situated
Gulls Torquay United Seaside link
Gunners Arsenal Local links to military arsenal/due to the founders was in fact workers on a local arms factory
Hammers West Ham United Although this may initially appear to be based on a simple shortening of the name, observation of the club's crest will reveal crossed metalworking/rivetting hammers, indicating the club's origins as the football team of Thames Ironworks
Harriers Kidderminster Harriers Short version of name
Hatters Luton Town Local links to hat making industry
Hatters Stockport County One of Cheshire's and Britain's main hatting industry towns
Heed Gateshead Based on shortening of Gateshead, and the local pronunciation of Head
Hoops Queens Park Rangers Design of home strip
Hornets Watford Colour of strip
Imps Lincoln City Legend of the imp statue in Lincoln Cathedral (also "Red Imps")
Iron Scunthorpe United Local links to the iron industry
Irons West Ham United The club's origins as the football team of Thames Ironworks
Knitters Hinckley United Local links to the Knitwear and Hosiery industry
Lads Sunderland Fans use this all the time Gonna watch the Lads, also the clubs fans motto is Ha'way the Lads which is also seen on the stand at the Stadium of Light.
Lambs Tamworth Team plays at The Lamb Ground, named after a local pub
Latics Oldham Athletic Short version of name
Latics Wigan Athletic Short version of name
Lilywhites Preston North End Colour of home strip
Lilywhites Fulham Colour of home strip
Lilywhites Tottenham Hotspur Colour of home strip
Linnets Burscough Name of a bird sometimes known as the 'green linnet'; nickname used for teams that play in green
Linnets Runcorn Name of a bird sometimes known as the 'green linnet'; nickname used for teams that play in green
Lions Aston Villa Featured on badge
Lions Millwall Featured on badge
Magpies Newcastle United Based on black and white colour of home strip
Magpies Notts County Based on black and white colour of home strip [5]
Magpies Maidenhead United Based on black and white colour of home strip.
Mariners Grimsby Town The club is based on the coast
Millers Rotherham United Based on ground name (Millmoor)
Minstermen York City York Minster is a famous landmark in the city
Monkey hangers Hartlepool United During the Napoleonic wars the citizens of Hartlepool allegedly hanged a monkey believing it to be a French spy.[6]
Mushrooms Hayes & Yeading United Due to the fact that the club's Board keep the club's supporters in the dark.
Nailers Belper Town The manufacture of nails was formerly a widespread cottage industry locally
O's Leyton Orient Before Squad numbers on shirts, Orient Players wore Large Letter Os on their shirt backs
Owls Sheffield Wednesday Based on name of local area (Owlerton), after a visitor to the city drew a cartoon depicting Sheffield Wednesday as an owl
Peacocks Leeds United (Virtually obsolete). Stems from the former name of the Elland Road stadium, The Old Peacock Ground, which was in turn named after the nearby The Old Peacock pub[7]
Pensioners Chelsea Originates from the Chelsea pensioners, based at the nearby Royal Hospital Chelsea Official nickname till 1952
Pilgrims Boston United Local links to the pilgrims who went to the New World
Pilgrims Plymouth Argyle Local links to the pilgrims who went to the New World
Pirates Bristol Rovers Local links to shipping
Pompey Portsmouth The nickname for the city
Pool Blackpool Short version of name
Pool Liverpool Short version of name
Pools Hartlepool United Short version of name when known as Hartlepools United
Poppies Kettering Town Stadium built on a former poppy field
Posh Peterborough United Believed to derive from former manager Pat Tirrel proclaiming that he was looking for: "Posh players for a posh team" [8]
Potters Stoke City Local links to the pottery industry
QPR Queens Park Rangers Abbreviation of club name
Quakers Darlington Local links to religious movement
R's Queens Park Rangers Final initial of club abbreviation, QPR
Railwaymen Crewe Alexandra Local links to railways
Rams Derby County Folk song "The Derby Ram", and by extension an emblem of the city [9]
Rebels FC United of Manchester The club having been formed by disaffected fans after the takeover of Manchester United by Malcolm Glazer. None of the fans refer to the club by this, it is purely a media name, primarily used by the Manchester Evening News.
Red Devils Crawley Town
Red Devils Manchester United Nickname originally belonged to nearby rugby league team Salford
Red Imps Lincoln City Colour of home kit and legend of the imp statue in Lincoln Cathedral
Reds Liverpool Colour of home kit
Reds Nottingham Forest Colour of home kit
Riversiders Blackburn Rovers After a side of the ground adjacent to a river
Robins Altrincham Colour of home kit same as a robin's chest
Robins Bristol City Colour of home kit same as a robin's chest
Robins Charlton Athletic Colour of home kit same as a robin's chest
Robins Cheltenham Town Colour of home kit same as a robin's chest
Robins Swindon Town Colour of home kit same as a robin's chest
Royals Reading The town is in the Royal County of Berkshire
Saddlers Walsall Links to the saddle making industry
Saints Southampton St Mary's Young Men's Association[10]
Saints St Albans City
Salop Shrewsbury Town Traditional name for the town of Shrewsbury and also Shropshire as a county (Latin name Salopia)
Sandgrounders Southport Town is on a stretch of coast known for its expansive sandy beaches
School of Science Everton 1928, comment of Everton's attractive style of play with the team being called 'scientific' or 'the school of science
Seagulls Brighton & Hove Albion Based on coast, also a response to the similar sounding nickname 'Eagles' of their arch rivals Crystal Palace
Seals Chester City Old ground named Sealand Road
Seasiders Blackpool Based on coast
Shakers Bury Club's first chairman, JT Ingham, said before a Lancashire Cup game with Blackburn, "We will shake them. In fact, we are the Shakers." [11]
Shaymen Halifax Town Originates from the club's ground
Shots Aldershot Town Short version of name
Shrimps Morecambe Related to the fishing/shrimping industry in the region and Morecambe Bay's famous "potted shrimps"
Shrimpers Southend United A historic local industry; alliterative
Silkmen Macclesfield Town Local links to the silk industry
Skunks Newcastle From black and white home strip
Sky Blues Coventry City Colour of home strip
Sky Blues Manchester City Colour of home strip
Smoggies Middlesbrough From the industrial pollution, or smog, from the steel and chemical plants surrounding the town
Spirites Chesterfield Reference to famous crooked spire in the town
Sports Eastbourne Borough Due to team's previous name of Langney Sports F.C.
Spurs Tottenham Hotspur Based on the spurs that the fighting cockerel wears on its leg, of which comes from Harry Hotspur's fighting cockerels in Shakespeare's Henry IV Part1
Squirrels Formby Formby's nature reserve is home to one of England's largest remaining populations of red squirrels
Stags Mansfield Town Stag head on their crest
Stripes Stevenage Borough Based on the pattern of the home strip
Super Hoops Queens Park Rangers Based on the pattern of the home strip
Tangerines Blackpool Colour of their home kit
Terras Weymouth Club plays in a terracota coloured kit
Terriers Huddersfield Town Named after the Yorkshire Terrier breed of dog - based on a vote of their supporters to create a nickname
Teyn Northampton Town Town said in a Northampton accent
Tics Oldham Athletic Shorterned version of 'Latics' (Which is a nickname in itself)
Tigers Gloucester City Colours of home strip
Tigers Hull City Colours of home strip
Toffees / Toffeemen Everton Back in the 1950s and 1960s a woman in a blue and white dress used to walk around before the game and throw toffees to people in the crowd, a tradition since revived. The other league teams then referred to them as the "Toffees" [12]
Toon Newcastle United Local pronunciation of 'Town', meaning City Centre where the ground is situated
Tractor Boys Ipswich Town Local links to agriculture[13]
Tricky Trees Nottingham Forest Crest is a tree
Trotters Bolton Wanderers In the 19th century, one of their pitches was adjacent to a piggery and clearances often end up in there. Players had to 'trot' through the pig-pens to retrieve the balls.[14]
Tykes Barnsley Colloquial name for a Yorkshireman.
Tynesiders Gateshead Gateshead is located on Tyneside
U's Cambridge United Initial of name
U's Colchester United Initial of name
U's Oxford United Initial of name
Valiants Port Vale Based on official name
Vics Northwich Victoria Based on shortening of official name
Vikings Doncaster Rovers Based on the club badge, as well as Rovers being a term for Vikings
Vikings Goole AFC Based on the Viking history around the town.
Villans Aston Villa Based on official name
The Wednesday Sheffield Wednesday Original name of the club
Whites Fulham Colour of their home strip. Sometimes referred to as the Lillywhites
Whites Leeds United Main colour of home strip
Whites Salisbury City Whites Preston North End
Wolves Wolverhampton Wanderers Based on shortening of name
Woolwich Wanderers Arsenal Refers to the club's original South London roots.[15] One of the earliest recordings of the name appeared in The Guardian in 2006 [16]
Yellows Cambridge United Colour of home kit
Yellows Mansfield Town Colour of home kit
Yeltz Halesowen Town Origin of the name has been lost track of
Yids Tottenham Hotspur For the club's North London Jewish heritage

Northern Ireland[edit]

Nickname Club(s) Reason
The Bannsiders Coleraine River Bann is close by
Blues Linfield Original kits were blue in colour
Red and Blues Ards Kit colour is blue and red
Glens Glentoran Abbreviation of team name Glen(toran)
Hatchetmen Crusaders
Reds Cliftonville Kit colour is red
Seasiders Bangor Bangor (Co. Down) is a sea-fronted town
Sky Blues Ballymena United Colour of team shirt
Stute Institute Abbreviation of Intstitute
Whites Lisburn Distillery Kit colour is white
Candy Stripes Derry Kit colour is red and white stripes

Scotland[edit]

Main article: Football in Scotland
Nickname Club(s) Reason
Accies Hamilton Academical Short for Academical
Arabs* Dundee United Coined after a Scottish Cup game at Tannadice in 1963 when copius amounts of sand was put on the frozen pitch. * This nickname refers mainly to the fans.
Bairns Falkirk From the ancient motto of the town parish - "Better meddle wi the deil than the Bairns o Falkirk"
Bhoys Celtic From early promotional material. The 'h' was used to capture the Irish accent of the team's original fanbase.
Binos Stirling Albion Contraction of Albion
Black and Whites Elgin City Club colours.
Blue Brazil Cowdenbeath An ironic nickname invented by the clubs own supporters in the early 1990s during a particularly bad run of form which has endured since
Blues Stranraer Club colours.
Blue Toon Peterhead The town of Peterhead is nicknamed the Blue Toon.
Buddies St Mirren The club play in Paisley and a person from Paisley is called a Buddie.
Bully Wee Clyde Small team who would bully bigger teams - wee bullies
Cabbage and Ribs Hibernian Rhyming slang for Hibs
Caley; Caley Thistle Inverness Caledonian Thistle Short version of the name
Dees Dundee
Diamonds Airdrieonians After the distinctive red 'V', or diamond, on the home kit which was first worn in 1912
Dons Aberdeen Short for 'Aberdonians'.
Doonhamers Queen of the South A term used for people from Dumfries
Fifers East Fife
Gable Endies Montrose

Wealthy merchants in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries dominated the town and built their houses in a Dutch style, gable to gable. Hence the town and the football have inherited the sobriquet, "gable-enders" 

Galabankies Annan Athletic Home stadium is called Galabank.
Gers Rangers Abbreviation of the club name 'Rangers'.
Harry Wraggs Partick Thistle Rhyming slang for Jags. Harry Wragg was a famous jockey in the 1930s
Hedgemen Brechin City A hedge runs along one side of Glebe Park.
Hibees Hibernian Short version of the name
Honest Men Ayr United From a line in Robert Burns' poem 'Tam O' Shanter: 'Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a toun surpasses, for honest men an' bonnie lasses.'
Hoops Celtic From famous hooped home shirt
Jags Partick Thistle In colloquial Scottish a 'jag' is the sting of a nettle or thistle.
Jam Tarts Heart of Midlothian Rhyming slang for Hearts
Killie Kilmarnock Short for Kilmarnock.
Light Blues Rangers Comes from a newspaper description of a 'light and speedy' Rangers team of the 1870s.
Lions Livingston Club badge has a lion on it.
Loons Forfar Athletic Local name for 'lads' which were given to Angus Athletic's 2nd XI, composed largely of younger players who broke off to form Forfar Athletic.
Pars Dunfermline Athletic
Red Lichties Arbroath Owing to the red light that used to guide fishing boats back from the North Sea to the harbour (Lichtie being a Scots word for light)
Rovers Raith Rovers
Saints St. Johnstone & St Mirren
Shire East Stirlingshire
Sons Dumbarton Shortened form of "Sons of the Rock" a term used for a person from Dumbarton. Their stadium was for many years, directly under Dumbarton Rock
Spiders Queen's Park The narrow black and white stripes of their kit supposedly resembles a spider’s web
Staggies Ross County The stag seen on the clubs crest. *This name refers mainly to supporters.
Steelmen Motherwell A reference to the (former) steelworks at nearby Ravenscraig
Super Js St. Johnstone A reference to St. Johnstone being the only league club in Scottish (or English) football with a J in its name
Tangerines Dundee United Colour of their home kit
Teddy Bears Rangers Rhyming slang (when spoken with a Glaswegian accent, 'Bears' rhymes with 'Gers'.
Terrors Dundee United Coined in the early 1960s as a tribute to their fighting spirit especially at Tannadice (Before this they were known as the Black and Whites).
Tic Celtic Short version of the name
Ton Greenock Morton Short version of the name
Warriors Stenhousemuir
Wasps Alloa Athletic Their traditional home strip is black and yellow
Waysiders Airdrieonians The Town of Airdries name may be taken from the Gaelic word “Airdidh” meaning a sheiling or wayside town. “The Waysiders” was the club nickname until the 1950s when the “Diamonds” became more popular
Wee Gers Berwick Rangers To differentiate between their Rangers and other bigger clubs called Rangers in Scotland.
Wee Rovers Albion Rovers A self acknowledgement of the clubs status as one of the smaller clubs in the Scottish league. In use since the 1920s
Well Motherwell Short version of the name

Wales[edit]

Main article: Football in Wales
Nickname Club(s) Reason
Bluebirds Cardiff City Colour of old home football kit and possibly named after 1909 children's play 'Blue Bird'
Blues Cardiff City Colour of old home football kit.
Exiles Newport County Club were forced to play several seasons in Gloucestershire by the FAW
Ironsides Newport County Association with steelworks and other heavy industries
Jack Bastards Swansea City Seamen from the town formerly referred to as 'Swansea Jacks', also after the dog Swansea Jack
Linnets Barry Town Named after the bird, based on the club's initial green and red coloured strips.
Magpies Barmouth & Dyffryn United
Red Dragons Wrexham Featured on logo
Robins Wrexham Colour of home kit same as a robin's chest
Swans Swansea City Short version of the name
Wingmakers Airbus UK Broughton Refers to being the works team of the Airbus UK factory

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History, Bradford City FC". theBRADFORDCITYsite. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. 
  2. ^ "Black Cat Nickname". Sunderland A. F. C. 
  3. ^ http://www.wokingfc.co.uk/history/
  4. ^ "Leicester City Club Profile". ratetheref.co.uk. 
  5. ^ "Notts County, History". Notts County. 
  6. ^ "Monkey Legend". Hartlepool United. 
  7. ^ "WAFLL - Elland Road History". WAFLL. Retrieved 8 May 2007. 
  8. ^ "Peterborough United, History". Peterborough United. 
  9. ^ "Derby County". Extra Football. 
  10. ^ Juson, Dave; Bull, David (2001). Full-Time at The Dell. Hagiology. p. 23. ISBN 0-9534474-2-1. 
  11. ^ "Bury, History". Bury Football Club. 
  12. ^ "Everton History". ToffeeWeb. 
  13. ^ "Tractor boys making noise". BBC Sport. 19 December 2000. Retrieved 12 June 2008. 
  14. ^ "Alternative History: Bolton Wanderers". My Eyes Have Seen The Glory. 
  15. ^ Soar, Phil & Tyler, Martin (2005). The Official Illustrated History of Arsenal. Hamlyn. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-600-61344-2. 
  16. ^ "Arsenal 1 - 0 Villarreal". The Guardian, Wednesday 19 April 2006.