United, City, County, Rovers, Wanderers.
All of the above offer the run of the mill; nicknames which fail to tell the story of the proud community of football fanatics who support their respective clubs.
Few nicknames offer an insight into the behind the club badge. Of those that do, here are some of the best in Britain:
Founded: 1910 (106 years old)
Ground: Somerset Park (10,185)
League: Scottish Championship (currently 9th)
Nickname: The Honest Men
Ayr United’s nickname is taken from the famous Scottish poem ‘Tam o’Shanter’ written by Scottish bard and Ayrshire born, Robert Burns. Scotland’s national poet wrote a sweet anecdote to his native town in which he described the town as a haven of “honest men” and “bonnie lasses”. The poem, published in 1791, described the life of a man named Tam, who visits the local pub with friends and gets himself in a rather drunken state. Meanwhile Tam’s wife sits at home in anger at her husband’s immoral behavior. One night Tam rides back on his horse, Meg, and a stormy night it was. On his journey home Tam notices a glow from the local haunted church, and peeks through the window to see witches and warlocks dancing. There is even mention of the devil playing bagpipes. I think Rabbie Burns may also have been a bit pickled when he wrote his beloved poem. Long story short, Tam gets himself in a bit of bother and finds himself fleeing from the haunted creatures. The horse loses a tail, and Ayr United find some inspiration. The Honest Men stuck, and what a fine nickname it is.
“Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses, for honest men and bonnie lasses”
What happened in 1910?
- Old Trafford opened (First game ended in a 4 – 3 defeat to Liverpool)
- Frenchman, Louis Paulhan completes London to Manchester air race in under 24 hours
- Terra Nova sets sail on Arctic expedition
- The Fowler Match, considered to be “the greatest cricket match of all time”, took place at Lord’s between Eton and Harrow
- 300 suffragettes clashed with police outside British parliament over Conciliation Bill
Founded: 1885 (131 years old)
Ground: Gigg Lane (11,840)
League: English League One (currently 20th)
Nickname: The Shakers
The Shakers, a truly unique and fantastic nickname! The name was coined back in 1892 by the then Chairman, J T Ingham. Prior to the Lancashire Cup Final in 1892, against what would be tough opposition in Everton, the Chairman put full faith in his team to come up trumps and defeat somewhat better opposition with this rather sharp remark:
“We shall shake ‘em, in fact, we are the Shakers’
Bury would go on to win the competition, after the Chairman’s rousing team-talk. The name stuck, and the Shakers would go on to Shake it Up in the 1900 and 1903 FA Cup final, were they won the famous old tournament on both occasions beating Southampton and Derby County respectively.
Vincit Omnia Industria or “work conquers all”.
PS. We love your nickname Bury FC!
What happened in 1885?
- Women were permitted to take the University of Oxford entrance exams for the first time
- We witnessed the largest margin of victory in a professional football match. Arbroath led Bon Accord by 36 goals to nil (it was 15 – 0 at half time)
- 29 kilometres away Dundee Harps were playing against Aberdeen Rovers in the Scottish Cup. The referee noted 37 goals but the club secretary suggested a miscount and noted 35 goals instead. The official score was recorded as 35 – 0.
- Millwall FC is founded (The Lions)
- The first flush toilet is demonstrated by Frederick Humpherson
- The first Dictionary of National Biography is published
Founded: 1881 (135 years old)
Ground: Central Park (4,309)
League: Scottish League Two (currently 10th)
Nickname: The Blue Brazil
Another classic football nickname. There are a couple of fan theories as to why Cowdenbeath are called the Blue Brazil. One of the more obvious reasons is that their home jerseys are indeed blue. A popular theory is that the name provides a heavy dose of irony towards a football team that has never found much success. It has also been suggested that the name arose due to the club’s financial plight during the 80’s which was humorously compared to that of Brazil’s national debt. There is also a rather long winded story on fan website, http://www.thebluebrazil.co.uk, which suggests three Brazilians illegally played for Cowdenbeath on the last game of the season against Dunfermline in which Cowdenbeath won the game 11 – 1 with the three Brazilians claiming all the goals. The fan forum goes concludes, “The Cowdenbeath community hailed these 3 lads as heroes and as they didn’t know their names they were christened ‘The Blue Brazilians’.” It is rumorued that the Rio Trio left Scotland to play football in their native Brazil for then champions, Santos.
So who knows!? But it is one of the best nicknames in football.
What happened in 1881?
- Andrew Watson of Queens Park Football Club captains Scotland to a 6 – 1 victory over England. He was the world’s first mixed race international association player. (Scottish/British Guianese background)
- Old Carthusians defeat the Old Etonians 3 – 0 in the FA Cup final at the Oval. This would be the last time the FA Cup was played between amateurs.
- The Natural History Museum opened in London
- Godalming, Surrey becomes the first town to have its streets lit by electric light
- Alexander Fleming was born
DUNDEE UNITED FC
Founded: 1909 (107 years old)
Ground: Tannadice (14,223)
League: Scottish Championship (currently 1st)
Nickname(s): The Arabs (The Tangerines and The Terrors)
Not a particularly exciting or thrilling nickname, however it is rather intriguing. Like Cowdenbeath there are rather a few fan theories. Again, one such theory provides a heavy dose of irony with many believing that, like Arsenal, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain who are funded by United Arab Emirates, that the Tangerines have come into a bit of money. Of course, not true but rather amusing. Another theory comes from a fan story that dates back to the 1962/63 season. According to legend this season offered a particularly cold winter and thus many matches were cancelled. The club attempted to thaw the ice with a tar-burning truck. Unfortunately, the truck caused damage to the grass and so to allow play to continue the club had no choice but to pour sand onto the field. The use of the sand and the desert like look it gave the ground was therefore the reason behind the unique nickname.
However, I’m not so sure how accurate or, indeed, true that story is. Maybe take that with a pinch of salt.
What happened in 1909?
- The National Old Age Pension scheme came into force
- The first film in colour was shown using Kinemacolor at the Palace Theatre in London
- The department store Selfridge’s was opened in London
- Manchester united won the FA Cup for the first time (Beat Bristol Rovers 1 – 0 at Crystal Palace)
- Matt Busby was born
SOME WORTHY MENTIONS
- Peterborough United – The Posh
- Hartlepool United – The Monkey Hangers
- Everton FC – The Toffees
- Clyde FC – The Bully Wee