Lowestoft Town Football Programmes (2455)

When you catalogue a new collection you never know what you will learn or what will end up fascinating you and in this case it was the club nicknames recorded in many of the programmes.  Lowestoft Town Football Club are historically known as ‘The Blues’ but life could have been so very different seeing that their original club colours were cardinal red and blue.  This changed in 1912 to black and white stripes and again in 1919 to pink and black before settling in 1925 on royal blue with white collars.  Yelling ‘COME ON THE PINK ‘N’ BLACKS’ just doesn’t sound right.  Life however must have been very confusing when they played Bury Town as both supporters would have been yelling ‘COME ON THE BLUES’.

Over the years there were various regular clashes of colour at the Crown Meadow.  ‘The Blues’ v ‘The Greens’ aka Gorleston Town was a regular local derby and other colourful clashes took place on a regular basis against ‘The Tangerines’.  No, not a fruit fight at Christmas but a series of matches over the years against Diss Town (and yes they do play in a tangerine home strip).

Then there were the coastal teams with nicknames which reflected the maritime history of their towns:

‘The Bloaters’ aka Great Yarmouth Town [founded 1897]
‘The Shrimpers’ aka Harwich and Parkeston [founded 1877]
‘The Oystermen’ aka Brightlingsea United [founded 1928]

These regular local ‘clashes’ were such that ‘The Blues’ and ‘The Bloaters played their 100th match on the 3 December 1991!  If you are wondering why ‘The Bloaters’, well bloaters are cured whole herring and Great Yarmouth was famous for them in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Other coastal clubs have gone another route with their nicknames and both Clacton Town and Felixstowe Port and Town are ‘The Seasiders’.

Some of the nicknames show the impact of local industries:

‘The Pitmen’ aka Hednesford Town [founded 1880]
‘The Jockeys’ aka Newmarket Town [founded 1877]
‘The Jam-makers’ aka Tiptree United [founded 1933]
‘The Blanketmen’ aka Witney United [founded 2001]

There has been racing at Newmarket at least since the reign of James I; Witney has been famous for woollen blankets for centuries and who cannot have heard of Tiptree, the Essex jam company.

One colourful team which took its nickname from its strip but in a less obvious way were ‘The Robins’ better known as Ely City, who are the oldest club in Cambridgeshire having been founded c1885. They were not the only opposition with birding connections that ‘The Blues’ have played over the years:

‘The Linnets’ aka Kings Lynn [founded 1879]
‘The Magpies’ aka Chorley [founded 1883]
‘The Woodpeckers’ aka Woodbridge Town [founded 1885]
‘The Canaries’ aka Norwich City [founded 1902]

According to sources Norwich City’s nickname comes from the popularity of canary breeding in Norfolk and not from the yellow strip; and who but the most ardent fan would have thought that the ‘Canaries’ 1st XI would lose to ‘The Blues’  3-2 in extra time on 11 August 1990 when they played for the Lowestoft Fishermens’ Widows and Orphans Cup.

Animals also get a mention in the form of:

‘The Hares’ aka March Town [founded 1885]
‘The Lions’ aka Wembley [founded 1946]

And then there are the spooky and blood curdling opposition teams:

‘The Ghosts’ aka Fakenham Town [founded 1884]
‘The Witches’ aka Warboys Town [founded 1885]
‘The Blue Imps’ aka Brantham Athletic [founded 1887]
‘The Bloods’ aka Haverhill Rovers [founded 1886] and Saffron Walden [founded 1872]

The strangest origin in this little group seems to be that of the Witches of Warboys whose name has its origins in the accusation, trial and execution for witchcraft of Alice Samuel and her family in the late 1500s in fenland Warboys.

And one last offering:

‘The Lilywhites’ aka Leyton [founded 1868]

The reason for this nickname is unknown, but it is a very common nickname for football clubs in the UK.  Some state it is because the clubs play in white whilst others are of the opinion that it originates from the ‘Lilywhites No 5’ which was the first official ball of the Football Association.

There is much to explore in a football programme and the Lowestoft programmes most definitely do not just yell

COME ON THE BLUES

If you want to explore this collection in more detail it’s available to view at the Lowestoft Record Office