A few days ago, I went straight to my favorite football website to get a look at the Middlesborough/Sheffield United score, and my fingers stopped dead on the mousepad with shock and confusion. The score wasn’t the biggest problem (though a 1-0 defeat to Middlesborough is never good news for any team), it was the vernacular used by a headline writer:
“Despite lying fourth in the Premier League, the Toffees have applied to enter the Intertoto Cup “
Who the…? What the…? The Toffees? (The Gaffer’s Disclaimer: this may be beyond small bier, old hat, or no big fuss for anyone else, but seriously- who the? What the?)
Everton are “The Toffees”. The members of The Groundsman’s Shed put their heads together to try and work out the origin of that chewy and delicious mascot- as it’s not quite as obvious as say, The New York “Red Bulls”. After a few minutes of silence broken only by bad jokes, we decided to go to the bastion of ill-informed knowledge: Wikipedia.
“There are several explanations for how this name came to be adopted, the most well known being that there was a business near the ground called Mother Noblett’s Toffee Shop which advertised and sold sweets, including the Everton Mint, on match days. This also led to the Toffee Lady tradition in which a girl walks around the perimeter of the pitch before the start of a game tossing free Everton Mints into the crowd… The word “toffee” was also slang referring to Irishmen, of which there was a large population in the city at the turn of the century and who tended to support Everton rather than city rivals Liverpool.”
Our “saff London” friend Paul believes the Irish explanation is the best as there’s a large Irish community in Liverpool, but I personally like the “Toffee Lady” tradition. Note: Everton are also known as “The Blues”, which is what I’ve always called them. I think The Guardian writer just wanted to be sassy and/or creative.
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