If AI Were Responsible for Choosing Football Team Names…
Have you ever wondered how football clubs got their names? We took a look into the history of how some of the most popular teams got theirs. Then we had a go ourselves using an AI, the results were….about as confusing as some of the real names.
A History of Football Club Names
As a caveat, there are numerous ‘histories’ of football club name origins, so we chose our favourites that may or may not be true:
Argyle: The suffix Argyle could either be linked to a Scottish regiment's penchant for football, or the name of the pub where the team was formed: The Argyle Tavern.
City: There are two common histories for clubs with ‘City’ in their name; the first is purely as a way for the club to be associated with their local city (go figure). The other is that there was already an established football club with the location in its name, so the new clubs established themselves by adding the suffix ‘city’ to their brand.
Forest: Nottingham Forest added this suffix in homage to Robin Hood, who was claimed to reside in Sherwood Forrest where he ran his operations of robbing the rich and giving it to the poor.
North End: ‘Preston North End’ ended up being an ‘accidental’ football club of sorts. Originally a cricket club, the team took up football as a way of staying fit outside of cricket season. It became a fully-established football club in 1880 and moved to the North-End of their town, hence the suffix.
Rangers, Rovers and Wanderers: We combined these names because they share a very similar history. Teams with this name didn’t have a ‘fixed ground’ for their practices, so would literally roam around different places looking for somewhere to practice.
United: This suffix comes from two teams merging (or uniting) to form one team. Another reason could be that clubs that played multiple sports like cricket decided to merge the teams and concentrate solely on football.
How We Programmed the AI
So we decided to try our hand at creating our own football club names, using the help of AI.
We used this tool: https://transformer.huggingface.co/doc/gpt2-large and got a list of football teams from Wikipedia. We fed the information into the tool, and then ran it multiple times until we had a list of around 40 “team names”. We then picked our favourites to design club crests for.
The AI tool we used learnt everything it knows from the web and, although it’s clear that the AI understood that we were asking for football club names, there were certainly some interesting results! Lions and swans featured heavily, as did Wales/Welsh.
We could only pick a few for this article - here were some others that didn’t make the cut:
Stony John’s Football Group
Young Wolf Rangers
And here are the ones we think could perhaps make future Premier League champions:
Perhaps this team was heavily sponsored by an oven manufacturer, or they finished each game by cooking and sharing a roast dinner with fans, either way, this logo makes us want to book football tickets and also book a table at a local carvery.
Caravan Boys Club
Instead of travelling around on a bus for their winning parade, the Caravan Boys Club prefer to travel around on the top of a caravan. It’s a little cramped, but they just love caravans so much.
We like the balance suggested by this AI-generated football club, a team that mostly trains to win football matches but also dedicates time to other hobbies. We think they would have a side project of making doughnuts. Perhaps they can team up with A.F.C Ovens for sweet baked doughnuts to enjoy after the roast dinner, post-match.
This fictional football club is sure to be a hoot! When not cheering their teammates on, they are using their divining rods to find sources of water or minerals to nourish fans attending the matches in person.
The word ‘lion’ is a nickname for eleven football clubs, and we love this AI-generated team name too. This is one of our favourite logos, what a dapper-looking lion.
Wineshadow Palace F.C
This is the only football club name generated by the AI that includes the term F.C as a suffix, which makes sense because in the majority of the football team names we put into the AI to analyse, the F.C is used as a prefix - usually attached to A.F.C. as displayed in our first fictional team - A.F.C Ovens.
Brawn Ladies Club
We admit, we have no idea how the AI came up with this name but we wanted to include it as an anomaly. We’d be happy to hear any theories you may have.
This name may be a tad confusing to those not in the know, but the term ‘clutch’ refers to a critical situation that the outcome of a game relies on. Hopefully, with the luck of the Irish, the result is favourable to this fictional team.
Football clubs such as ‘West Allotment Celtic’ and ‘Welwyn Garden City’ are probably what led the AI to generate this team name. Perhaps the team snack on blackberries during half-time. A nutritious and tasty option.
This name is quite humorous, undoubtedly generated by the AI thanks to football club ‘Sheffield Wednesday,’ therefore generating ‘Sheffield Tuesday.’ Perhaps this isn’t the most creative option generated, but it did make us chuckle.
Wild Horse Park
We like to think that this football club, like those mentioned earlier, have a history of dressage or horse racing, and decided to pay homage to those roots when they ultimately decided to focus all of their attention on the wonderful game that is football.
We think the nicknames ‘Hawks’ (full name ‘Whitehawk’) and ‘Seagulls’ (full name ‘Weston-super-Mare) led to the AI generating the ‘Yvette Hornets,’ although the ‘Yvette’ part is still somewhat of a head-scratcher.
We hope you’ve found this list as enjoyable as we did in creating it. Which AI-generated fictional football club is your favourite? And what would you call your football club?