Every Premier League Team Nickname, Ranked
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Team nicknames can be tricky things. American sports tend to struggle with this notion and usually opt for something generic, i.e. the Tennessee Titans. The NBA is especially guilty of meaningless nicknames. There aren’t too many bulls running the streets of Chicago, jazz musicians setting up shop in Utah, or grizzlies terrorizing Memphis. What draws so many to English football is the history, passion, and tribal following of each club. More often than not, Premier League nicknames are a reflection of a club’s identity and heritage.
So, here is a totally subjective ranking of the nicknames of each Premier League club. Note, although some clubs have more than one nickname, this list features the name most widely used by supporters.
Premier League Nicknames: The Complete Ranked List (2015-2016)
Let’s get the colors out of the way early. Sure, Liverpool has as much history as any club. But “Reds” just won’t cut it on this list.
Chelsea used to go by “Pensioners” in reference to the nearby Royal Hospital that serves as a retirement home for British Army veterans. That name would have moved them up the list, but instead they’re here.
#18 Crystal Palace
There is something very American about the Eagles. Generic nickname. They even have cheerleaders.
#17 Leicester City
Foxes are kind of cool. They’re deceptive, just like the play of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.
#16 Tottenham Hotspur
The nickname is cool and easy to use. But it seems as if it has overtaken the official club name itself.
Nothing says “Hornets” like a moose logo and Elton John.
#14 Norwich City
You don’t come across too many canaries in sports. And Norwich actually uses the animal on its crest, something Watford is still trying to figure out.
#13 Swansea City
The swans will be carrying the weight of a nation on their shoulders (do swans have shoulders?) as they are the only Welsh representative this season.
Nickname: Black Cats
Black cats are synonymous with creepy and scary things, so it’s a very fitting name for Sunderland.
#11 Manchester City
A play on the club’s official name, it’s unique but not used enough to be higher on the list.
#10 West Bromwich Albion
According to the club historian, back in the day when there were only two entrances to West Brom’s stadium, the gatekeepers could be seen walking beside the pitch to the office near midfield with bags of money. That’s a pretty cool story.
#9 Manchester United
Nickname: Red Devils
Perhaps a bit generic and lacking history, but “Red Devils” just seems to fit for Manchester United, a club that you truly either love or hate.
Origins go back to a local toffee shop that was located near the Queen’s Head Hotel, where the football club was formed. Since then, a “Toffee Lady” has thrown out Everton mints to supporters before each game. As a fan of history and sweets, I appreciate this nickname.
The club originally began as a church football team and now play in St. Mary’s Stadium, so “Saints” was always going to be the nickname. It’s also cool to hear 30,000 fans sing When the Saints Go Marching In.
#6 Stoke City
Stoke City gets its nickname from a once thriving pottery industry in the very early days of the Britain’s industrial revolution.
#5 Aston Villa
It has been a rough few seasons for Aston Villa and another relegation battle seems to be on the cards. But the ability to play on the club’s official name with something that sounds so antagonizing is quite unique.
— 村内亮 (@uriuriyo) August 15, 2015
#4 West Ham United
At first glance, “Hammers” just seems to be a play on West Ham. However, the nickname actually goes back to the early days of the club when it was known as Thames Ironworks and made up of men in the shipbuilding industry.
The club was formed by workers from London’s Royal Arsenal, an arms manufacturer and storage facility dating back to the late 1600s, providing supporters with a nickname that is both very cool and historically rich.
#2 Newcastle United
A magpie is a bird from the crow family that is generally black and white in color, just like the home jerseys for Newcastle United. Ironically, magpies are regarded as one of the most intelligent animal species in the world. So maybe this nickname isn’t so fitting for a club that suffers from chronic chaos, but it’s distinctive and fun nonetheless.
Topping this list might be Bournemouth’s only moment of Premier League glory this year. There are a couple of theories about the “Cherries” nickname. One says it’s a reference to the red jerseys the club has always worn. Another suggests that the club’s original stadium was located near a large cherry orchard. Either way, “Cherries” just seems right for Bournemouth – innocent, unique, and in need of a miracle to survive the winter. As the supporters say, “up the Cherries!”