I have not included Villa as Aston Villa is actually a place name (Villa Cross, Handsworth was shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1834 as Aston Villa). Crystal Palace, similarly, I have taken to be a place name. I have also passed over the psuedo exotic use of AFC as a prefix .
If we look at the current top 5 levels of the English Football Pyramid we find 18 different suffixes to club names:
In a blog which deals with the development of football up until 1937 it would be foolish to include Dons, a 21st century suffix arising out of the relocation of Wimbledon in 2004. Arsenal was originally a suffix, but now Arsenal is just Arsenal.
That leaves us with the following:
Crewe's football club formed in 1877. They either took their name from Princess Alexandra or from a pub that was named in her honour.
Initially founded in 1886 and resurrected in 1897 Argyle Football Club added Plymouth to their name on joining the Southern League in 1903. The club was likely to have been named after the Argyle public house.
The Tottenham was added by in order to avoid confusion with the Hotspur FC who had joined the Football association in 1879.
Eagle Cricket Club became Orient FC in 1888. This was possibly a reference to the
Orient Shipping Company, or maybe on account of their relatively easterly location. The locational prefixes Clapton (1898) and Leyton (1945) were used in turn. From 1966-1987 the club was known as plain Orient.
Accrington Stanley were originally founded in 1891. As far as I am aware the name originates from the Stanley Street area of the town.
Founded in 1867 Sheffield Wednesday were officially known as The Wednesday until 1929.
Interestingly there was a club in Wales called Abergavenny Thursdays (1927-2013).
The ancient Greek name for Britain. West Bromwich were the first team to be known as Albion. However, rather than some poetic reference to antiquity or the visionary Blake the name originates from the fact that Albion is actually a district in West Bromwich. West Bromwich Albion graced the first season of League football.
Amateur Athletic were a London club formed in 1868. Loughborough Athletic and Football Club (founded 1887) joined the League in the 1895–96 season.
The earliest use of the suffix City was by Lincoln City in 1884. They were also the first City in the League (1892–93).
The Nottingham club pre date the Football Association, being founded in 1862. The 2 Counties, Notts and Derby featured in the first season of the Football League.
The original Forest FC (the forest referred to being Epping forest) went on to change their name to Wanderers. Nottingham Forest joined the League in 1892–93.
Preston North End (originally a cricket club founded in 1863) played in the northern part of the town. hence the name. Preston began playing Association football in 1878. Glossop North End was founded in 1886.
The original Rangers were Hertfordshire ('Herts') Rangers, based in Watford and founded in 1865. Queen's Park Rangers entered the League in 1920.
A first for London: Clapham Rovers, alternating between Rugby and Association, founded in 1869. Blackburn carried the name proudly in the opening season of the League.
Saffron Walden were the first club to bear the suffix Town. Founded in 1872 they were known as Town by the time they joined the Football Association in 1879. The first Town in the League were Grimsby (1892–93).
In 1873 Hanover United from Chiswick were the first Association club to use United. Sheffield United (1892–93) were the fist United in the League.
Wanderers FC were founder members of the FA. The first team to use Wanderers as a suffix appears to have been Shropshire Wanderers circa 1873. Wolverhampton and Bolton both played in the first season of League football.
The Football League has featured the following suffixes in the past:
Image by George Chilvers
Wigan Borough were in existence from 1920-1931 (previous clubs in Wigan had been Town, United and County, Borough were later superseded by Athletic).
Usually denoting a club with Irish Catholic origins, the Manchester club Stalybridge Celtic (founded 1909) played in the League for 3 seasons from 1921. I am uncertain about the origins of the club name.
Leicester used to play their matches alongside the old Roman road, the Fosse Way. Joining the League in 1894–95 they were known as Leicester Fosse up until 1919, when they adopted the name Leicester City.
Kidderminster Harriers and Football Club was formed by the merger of an Athletics club and a Rugby club. Harriers was a common name for athletics clubs. They switched to Association football in 1886. I have included them here although they did not join the Football League until 2000.
A city of Iron- an apt suffix for Middlesbrough. The 'Nops' were founded in 1889. There was a Welsh club Caernarvon Ironopolis (1894-1903).
A slippery one this, as this was never the official name of Bradford FC (1907), but the name of their ground was used to distinguish them from Bradford City.
Burton Swifts came into being in 1871, morphing into Burton United in 1901. The season that Burton Swifts joined the League (1892–93) was also the debut season for Walsall Town Swifts (founded 1888).
Gainsborough Trinity were founded in 1873 as Trinity Recreationists, being founded by the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church.
It is hardly surprising that a New Brighton club playing in the shadow of a 173 m tower (compared with Blackpool @ 158 m or Eiffel @ 324 m) should pay homage to that structure. New Brighton Tower (1896-1901) did just that.
The original Northwich Victoria was founded in 1874 and named in honour of The Queen.