How Some Premier League Teams Got Their Nickname, And the Ones That Didn't Stick


Ever wondered why the nickname of your club is the way it is. Why Manchester United are called the Red Devils, Liverpool the Reds, Arsenal the Gunners, Chelsea the Blues and so on. Below is the explanation.

Arsenal: The Gunners

The Gunners dates back to Arsenal's origin. Arsenal was formed by workers from the Royal Arsenal ornament factory based in Woolwich which produced munitions, weapons and explosives. That's the reason behind cannons featuring behind Arsenal's crest.

Aston Villa: The Villans

The Villans nickname came from a former cricket team called Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel. Note that the nickname 'villans' is a wordplay that confuses outsiders who think it's spelled 'villains'. Also Aston Villa was once called 'Lions' but it's no longer used.

Brighton: The Seagulls

Brighton and Hove Albion's big rivals Crystal Palace played a key role in this nickname. They were initially called the 'Dolphins' however, it didn't last.

The story behind the seagulls nickname is that during a hectic drinking session on Christmas eve in 1975, a group of some Brighton fans thought of a plan to respond to Palace fans chanting "Eagles, Eagles" with "Seagulls, Seagulls". And that's how the name sticked.

Burnley FC: The Clarets

Never underestimate Brighton since they are one of the founder members of the football league. In a bid to show tribute to the then Football league champions Aston Villa, Burnley adopted the colours of claret and blue. Initially they were called 'Turfites', 'Moorites', or 'Royalties' because of their grounds name and royal links.

Chelsea: The Blues

I bet you understand the Blues is as obvious as the Clarets. Chelsea was previously nicknamed the 'Pensioners' because of their association with the famous hospital home to British war veterans - the Chelsea Pensioners. It was abandoned because of TeGlaziers (the then coach) who teared it down on TV in 1950.

Crystal Palace: The Eagles, The Glaziers

The original Crystal Palace was itself a nickname - of a large glass and iron structure erected in Hyde Park, London, for the Great Exhibition of 1851. 'Palace', 'The Crystals' and 'The Glaziers', nicknames are as a result of it's association with glass building.

Everton: The Toffees

Two local rival toffee shops still argue over the nickname.

Old Ma Bushell of Ye Anciente Everton Toffee House invented Everton Toffees and sold them to Everton fans when playing at Anfield. Mother Noblett’s Toffee Shop which was located near Goodison Park became more frequented when Everton moved from Anfield in 1893.

Fulham: The Cottagers

The nickname arises from Craven Cottage, the 1903 building present at the corner of the ground, though it's not the original cottage built for Lord Craven in 1780. Was once home to French Emperor Napoleon III before destruction caused by fire in 1888.

Leeds United: The Whites, The Peacocks

Nowadays they are mostly referred as 'The Whites' because of their kits. In the past they were called 'The Peacocks' since the original name for Elland Road was 'The Old Peacock Ground'.

Leicester City: The Foxes

The Foxes nickname was inspired by the county's fame as a fox hunting hub. Leicestershire is the birthplace of fox hunting in England.

Liverpool: The Reds

The nickname pays tribute to their shirt colour. However, most famous section of the club's fans refer to the club as the Kop (named after a battlefield in South Africa calling Spion Kop where a local regiment had suffered losses during the Boer war in 1900. In memory of the fallen heroes, the club in 1906 erected a new stand mad of cinder and brick. Local sports editor Ernest Edward's came up with the name to honour the fallen soldiers.

Manchester City: The Citizens

The nickname evolved from the word City, but that alone doesn't convince us. It was once ranked by TalkSPORT as the worst of all 20 Premier League nicknames.

Manchester United: The Red Devils

Local rugby league club Salford played a key role in helping United find a nickname. The French media was impressed by the all-red Salford's performance on their tour of France in 1934 and Branded them 'Les Diables Rouges' which translates to English as 'The Red Devils'. Legendary Man United manager Sir Matt Busby liked the nickname thinking the reference to the devil sounded intimidating.

Newcastle United: The Magpies

At first they played in Red and white stripes synonymous with their hated rivals Sunderland but soon changed to black and white, with the colours giving rise to the Magpies nickname.

Sheffield United: The Blades

The blades nickname is as of the most famous trade of the town, cutlery and knives made from steel. The match between them and their rivals is referred as the clash of the blades. Sheffield Wednesday claimed they deserved the Blades nickname more as they were older. But a 1907 newspaper cartoon depicted them as an owl due to their base at Owlerton and United as a blade and both nicknames eventually stuck.

Southampton: The Saints

Souton were originally founded at St. Mary's Church, on 21 November 1885 by members of the St. Mary's Church of England Young Men Association. Started as St Mary's FC before adopting the name Southampton.

Tottenham Hotspur: The Lilywhites, Spurs

The then Tottenham club directors chose to emulate Preston North End who had just gone through a season unbeaten, appropriating their kit and their nickname which Preston still use.

West Ham: The Irons, The Hammers

David Taylor, a foreman in the ship building department of Thames ironworks suggested to his boss, Arnold Hills that the company should form its own football club after West Brom defeated Aston Villa in the 1895 FA Cup final in May.

The boss had initially been involved in a bitter dispute with his employees and saw it as a better way to ease tensions.

The club was formed but the Hammers nickname has no association with the name West Ham which they became in 1901.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Wolves

The Wolves nickname was an easy step from the name of Wolverhampton, however, it took some time before adoption.

Adopted from Tony Harper.