Newcastle United – probably one of the most exciting clubs in the Premier League to keep an eye on in the upcoming seasons. The Geordies are currently under new management and are attracting interest from many world-class players who have already, or will join the club quite soon.
Unlike many other clubs in English football, Newcastle United doesn’t have a large number of various nicknames. The one that is probably the most familiar and the most important is ‘the Magpies‘.
Another nickname that’s also associated with the club but refers to the fans is ‘Toon Army‘. The majority of the Newcastle United fanbase sees themselves as a part of the ‘Toon Army‘, but what does this nickname actually mean?
To put it simply, Newcastle United’s nickname is the magpies because of the club colors. Magpies are black and white, the same as Newcastle’s kits throughout almost the entirety of their existence as a professional football club.
At the moment, Newcastle United doesn’t have a magpie on the club crest, but that wasn’t the case in the past. To be more exact, the club from Tyneside hasn’t had a magpie on its crest since 1988 which is more than 30 years ago.
The first time Newcastle United had a magpie on its crest was in 1976. Until 1983 the crest depicted a large magpie in the center with a castle behind it and the club name making a circular shape around the center of the image. Even after that Newcastle still had a magpie featured on the crest, but this time the bird was much smaller. This crest was active until 1988 when the management decided to go with the crest that is seen on the kits to this day.
There is also another theory that revolves around why Newcastle United is known as ‘The Magpies‘. In the early days of the club’s existence, there were many magpies nesting in the area around the stadium. There is a possibility that this is one of the reasons for such a nickname, but since the club was founded in 1892, the lack of concrete sources means that this might not be 100% accurate.
It’s also important to note that Newcastle United was formed in 1892 by combining two teams – Newcastle West End and Newcastle East End. The first one wore red and white kits, while the second one wore red and black kits. The decision was made not to wear colors associated with only one of the two clubs. They decided to go with black and white.
A nickname that refers to the fans, and not the club itself. It has stuck for quite a bit, but what does it actually mean?
The word toon refers to the center of Newcastle. Just like in every single language in the world, there are different dialects that are specific to some regions – in this case, Tyneside. The way that people in Newcastle say the word town is a bit different compared to the rest of the country. It sounds more like toon. Of course, the word only applies to the Newcastle city center, and not to other towns across the UK. Keep in mind that Newcastle is in fact a city and not a town.
Now, why is the Toon army? The word army here refers to the large number of followers that the club has. They refer to themselves as the army since they support the club through thick and thin.
The origin of the use of the term “Army” to refer to supporters of the club is uncertain, but it is believed by some to have originated between the late 1960s and mid-1970s. The club experienced some success during this period, reaching one European final, one FA Cup Final, and one League Cup Final. The fans turned up in large numbers for both domestic finals at Wembley, which prompted some newspapers to dub them the “Toon Army.”
This nickname isn’t really associated only with the club, but more with the people living in the area. All of the UK, including the people from Tyneside, refer to the people living in northeast England as the Geordies. Why is that though?
Here’s a brief explanation as to why people from Newcastle have such a nickname:
In the era of King George II, also known as Geordie, the residents of Newcastle fought and won a battle against the invading Scottish Jacobites. They earned their nickname “Geordies” by fighting in the king’s name and defending the kingdom.
As you’re probably already aware, almost every single sports club in the world has some sort of nickname. The Magpies are again no exception to this rule. An interesting thing about the club though, compared to the rest of English football, is the fact that not only that the club has a quite unique nickname, but also the fans. Even people who don’t live in the UK are probably familiar with the term ‘Toon Army‘ and are associating it with Newcastle United.
Just think about any other club in English football that has several nicknames that refer separately to the club and to the fans. Sure, there are many that have both, but Newcastle United is definitely one of the few that has a somewhat separate identity for both but combined into one. You probably can’t come up with an example right away if you’re an average enjoyer, but that’s okay since Newcastle United is definitely a unique football club.