Premier league teams nicknames range from the obvious to the frankly bizarre, sourced from centuries old traditions to more recent marketing and branding exercises. If you’ve ever wondered where the names come from, here are the answers.
Premier League Teams Nicknames
The original club that was to become Arsenal was formed by workers from a military munitions factory, hence the club name and nickname. The Gooners was a derogatory term coined by arch-rival Spurs fans, but now Arsenal supporters are happy to use it and turn the joke on themselves.
Aston Villa F.C.
A simple play on the word Villa. The club takes the first part of its full name from Aston, a district in England’s second city Birmingham, and the second part from a landmark Georgian house – or villa – that once stood there.
There is some debate as to how Bournemouth acquired its nickname: some say it’s because of their cherry red shirts, while others maintain it’s because the club’s ground was built on an estate that used to be home to an orchard of cherry trees.
You might think the nickname “The Bees” is simply because of Brentford’s logo. You’d be wrong, it’s actually the other way around.
In the 1890s, students of Borough College attended a game to support their friends playing for the club. During the match, the college students invented a chant called “Buck up Bs,” which was later reported by local newspapers as “Buck up Bees.” The nickname stuck ever since.
Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club
Brighton and its neighboring town Hove are both located on the South coast of England, where an awful lot of seagulls also choose to make their home. The club’s nickname really is as simple as that!
The Blues nickname needs no explanation, but the other name comes from the nearby Royal Military Hospital, where the retired soldier residents are known as Chelsea Pensioners.
Chelsea FC still provides free match-day tickets to the Pensioners for every home game where they can watch the Blues legends on the pitch.
Crystal Palace F.C.
The original Crystal Palace was a massive plate-glass building built for the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. This building gave the club both its name and nickname, the Glaziers.
The more recent nickname of Eagles dates to a rebranding exercise in 1973 when it was decided that the new club crest would incorporate an eagle holding a football.
No one is quite sure how the Toffeemen got their strange nickname. Legend has it that hungry fans would buy toffee on their way to matches, either from Ye Ancient Everton Toffee House or Mother Noblett’s Toffee Shop. Others believe the name comes from “Taffies,” a popular term for people from neighboring Wales.
Fulham’s stadium was built on a cottage in 1896, which gave it its name: Craven Cottage. From there, the team was nicknamed the cottagers.
As for the two other nicknames, the whites and the lily whites, I’m afraid the explanation isn’t quite historical. Fulham plays in white, so they have also been nicknamed the whites or the lily whites.
Leeds United F.C.
Elland Road, Leeds United’s stadium, was built on land that was originally owned by a Brewery that went by the name of the “Old Peacock Ground.”
As for “The Whites,” it’s once again a nickname that derivates from the club’s kit colors.
Leicester City F.C.
Modern-day fox hunting can trace its roots back to the middle of the 18th century, to one Hugo Meynell from Leicestershire. Leicester’s nickname honors that tradition, although the two riding crops which used to appear behind the club’s fox logo have been removed in these more enlightened times.
Liverpool is known as The Reds due to its famous combination of red shirts, shorts, and stockings. But it wasn’t always that way.
The familiar all-red kit first appeared in the 1964 season under legendary manager Bill Shankly, who allegedly believed it would intimidate the opposition. Previously, Liverpool wore white shorts in a kit that looked remarkably similar to that of fierce rivals Manchester United!
Manchester City F.C.
In contrast to some other clubs, City’s nicknames seem a bit more, well, ordinary: or perhaps the Citizens is a nod to the Sky Blues’ nearby noisy neighbors and underscores their belief that people from Manchester support City while people from outside Manchester support United!
Manchester United F.C.
England’s most famous club actually stole its nickname from nearby neighbors, Salford Rugby League Club. Celebrated manager Matt Busby was behind the decision back in the 1950s. Before that, United was known as the Heathens, in memory of their original name, Newton Heath.
Newcastle United F.C.
Magpies are black and white, and so are the shirts of Newcastle United. Easy! A “Geordie” refers to someone from the city of Newcastle. The origin of “Geordie” is uncertain and is a hotly debated topic!
Nottingham Forest F.C.
“The Reds” and “The Garibaldi” are nicknames given because of the club’s colors.
“Forest” and “The Tricky Trees” are nicknames that make for a more exciting story. The club’s first games were played on a ground that was located near Sherwood Forest. As you may have guessed, this forest was full of trees, and this is what gave this club not only its nickname but also its name, logo, and identity.
St Mary’s Church of England Young Men’s Association Football Club was founded in 1885. The church team soon became St. Marys FC before ultimately morphing into the present-day Southampton FC. The Saints nickname reflects the church origins of the team, and delightfully, in 2001, the club christened its new home, the St Mary’s Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
The club takes the second part of its name from an illustrious English nobleman, Sir Harry Hotspur, who also features in a Shakespearean play! Spurs and the area of Tottenham have long been associated with Jewishness.
The club’s second nickname began life as a derogatory term for Jews based on Yiddish, the word for the Jewish language. As with Arsenal, the fans turned things around and called themselves the Yid Army, thus helping to deflect and reduce any negative connotations associated with the word.
West Ham United F.C.
The Hammers nickname has nothing to do with the club’s location in the London borough of West Ham: the famous riveting hammers on the club logo predate the club’s move there. Both the Hammers and Irons nicknames relate to the fact that the original team was founded by workers from the Thames Ironworks, a famous shipbuilding yard.
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
The straightforward shortening of Wolverhampton doesn’t exactly make for an interesting explanation. But Wolves are also known as the Old Gold, from their shirts’ traditional and distinctive color.
Other Historic Premier League Teams Nicknames
Burnley takes its nickname from the color of their shirts, and it’s a popular and historic color too. No less than three current Barclays Premier League teams – West Ham and Aston Villa are the other two – wear claret-colored jerseys, all of them for well over 100 years!
Norwich City F.C.
The story goes that canaries became synonymous with Norwich after their introduction by European immigrant weavers in the 16th century. The yellowish green birds went on to inspire Norwich’s logo, nickname, and kit colors.
Sheffield United F.C.
In England, Sheffield is known as the “steel city,” reflecting its long and proud tradition of producing top-quality steel and associated products, including cutlery. The nickname and two blades on the current club logo showcase Sheffield’s pride in its steel industry.
Through the years, Watford has had several nicknames, including the Brewers and the Blues. The current nickname dates back to 1959 and the introduction of a hornet-colored gold and black kit.