What's in a Name? Football Club Names Explained

Ever wondered where some of the more unusual football club names actually came from? Then read on...

Ajax Netherlands


We can tell you who the Dutch giants are named after, but the why remains unclear.

The club is named after a Greek mythological hero called Ajax, who fought in the Trojan War against Troy. Ajax, alongside his cousin Achilles, was said to be the greatest of all the Greeks. The club was named after him in 1900, although it's unclear exactly why the founders chose this particular Greek hero. If you take a look at the Ajax crest evolution, you'll see that the early badges featured the Ajax name, but from 1928 onwards the head of Ajax was also included, leading to the iconic design that we all know today.

Boca Juniors Argentina

Boca Juniors crest

A simple one this, La Boca is a neighbourhood (or barrio) of Buenos Aires, and in 1905 a group of young Italian and Greek immigrants formed the club there, naming it after the area.

As well as the splendid club name, pretty much everything about the club is cool as well: the shirt, the stadium, the former players, and even the Boca Juniors crest evolution hardly has a bad design on show.

Huracán Argentina


The Buenos Aires club takes it's name (and its crest) from the Huracán ("Hurricane") balloon flown by the Argentine aviator Jorge Newbery in 1909.

Panathinaikos Greece

Panathinaikos crest

Regular Greek football league winners, and one of the great names of European football, but what does the name Panathinakos actually mean?

Well, the club was first formed as "Podosferikos Omilos Athinon" (Football Club of Athens) back in 1908. However, a move to a new stadium in 1924 also resulted in a new name, Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos (PAO), meaning "All-Athenian Athletic Club". So, in its simplest form, Panathinaikos can be translated as meaning "Of all Athens".

Sampdoria Italy

Sampdoria crest

Not only one of the most iconic kits and crests in Italian football, but a great name too. It was created in 1946, when two clubs from Genoa merged and took parts of each of their club names to form a new one. The two clubs were Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria.

Sheffield Wednesday England

Sheffield Wednesday crest

Formed in 1867 as The Wednesday Football Club, a footballing offshoot of The Wednesday Cricket Club. The name was derived from the day of the week that none of the founding members had to work on, and therefore the only day that they could all meet up to play football.

The name would later evolve into Sheffield Wednesday, and, in our opinion, it remains one of the best club names in the world of football.