Why Are West Brom Called ‘The Baggies’?

An introduction

A club that is one of the English football league founders has had a quite long history in the sport. West Bromwich Albion, or ‘The Baggies’ as some refer to them, is a club based in  West Bromwich, West Midlands, or to put it simply, Birmingham.

While many clubs all over the country have nicknames associated with animals, that’s not the case with WBA. In fact, not only that, but there are two reasons, or to be more exact, two theories, as to why their nickname is ‘The Baggies’. There have been many disagreements as to which theory is the ’correct’ one.

The first theory revolves around the bagmen who would carry the weekly gate receipts around the stadium. They would always carry large bags with them. This was something that wasn’t quite uncommon in the UK at the time but was still somewhat unique to the area.

Why Are West Brom Called ‘The Baggies’?

On the other hand, the second theory revolves around, believe it or not, fashion. At the time, the majority of West Bromwich Albion fans were working in steel mills and foundries. As a result of that, many of them, if not every single one of them, wore large baggy trousers.

Are there other theories as well?

Believe it or not, but yes, there are many other theories as to why West Brom are Called ‘The Baggies’. The two main ones mentioned in the introduction are most likely the ‘correct‘ ones, with the lack of a better term. Let’s take a look at some of them.

They are called ‘the Baggies‘ because of the baggy shorts that players wore in the club’s early years. This is an unlikely theory since the majority of other clubs also wore baggy shorts. Football fashion has changed quite a bit over the past century, but even today there aren’t any drastic differences between clubs that play professional football – that was probably the case even then.

Is it because of Tommy Magee?

Another theory that doesn’t quite hold up revolves around the player who started playing for the Baggies in the early nineteen hundreds. Tommy Magee, a full-back, became a club legend after accumulating almost 400 appearances for the club. He was also notable for his height – being only 5ft 2.5 inches tall, it was quite unusual for someone to be a professional football player, especially after also being in the trenches of the First World War. The theory is that Baggies is derived from a corruption of Magee, pronounces as Maggie. The theory doesn’t hold up since it’s been known that the nickname stuck with the club even before Magee made his professional debut.

Is it because of Amos Adams then?

Another figure popular among the fans at the turn of the century. According to Eph Smith, former West Bromwich Albion secretary, one of the fans called Adams ‘Baggy‘ during a game in which neither he nor WBA performed well. Adams was a fairly thick football player, an attribute that probably triggered one of the fans to call him that.

Reckitt’s Blue Bags

Probably the least possible theory revolves around small blue bags used even before washing machines were invented. A company called Reckitt’s made these small bags that were used in the washing process to keep household linen stay sparkingly white. 

The first theory – the one with the bagmen

As historian Tony Matthews has pointed out, when West Brom moved from Stoney Lane to Hawthorns, the new stadium had only two entrances – one behind each goal. Imagine a large football stadium that only has TWO entrances where the fans can enter. Now, add the fact that the bagmen who were bagging the takings up in leather bags had to walk all the way to the club’s cash office on the halfway line. They carried large bags that were always almost completely full and quite heavy – hence ‘the Baggies’.

There is also a small variation to this story as well. In 1904, after the club’s ‘Noah’s Ark’ wooden grandstand burned down, two bagmen were walking around the pitch before home games to add money to the “Save the Albion” fund.

The second theory – the one associated with fashion

During the early years of West Bromwich club formation, the town was an important industrial center with forges, foundries, steel works, and rolling mills where the majority of the club’s supporters worked. They wore loose-fitting moleskin aprons and trousers to protect themselves from sparks and heat. In 1897, when West Brom played Aston Villa, a group of their supporters walked to the ground wearing industrial-sized boots and baggy moleskin trousers, which led Villa fans to mockingly shout “here come the baggy, baggy, baggy men”.


West Bromwich Albion is a club unique for many reasons, whether that be the fact that they are one of the founders of the English football league, the fact that they have won one title, five FA cups, one League cup, and Charity (today known as Community) shield twice.

What makes them different from the other clubs is a somewhat vague theory as to why they are called ‘the Baggies’. Sure, not every club in the UK nor in the world knows exactly how and when their nickname was implemented, but the fact that there are so many theories that revolve around the history of WBA’s nickname makes everything a tiny bit more special.