Why Are Burnley Fans Called Dingles? (Explained)

Why are Burnley fans called Dingles

If you have ever asked the question, ‘why are Burnley fans called Dingles?’, then you have come to the right place for the answer.

As you might imagine, it all comes down to a bit of tribal rivalry.

Because we all know there is nothing fans like more than winding up their rivals right?

So let’s find out a bit more…

Why Are Burnley Fans Called Dingles? 

Blackburn fans label Burnley fans as Dingles after the family of the same name in the British soap Emmerdale. The Dingle family was introduced into Emmerdale in 1994 and the nickname originated around this time. It is seen as an insult due to the chavvy and simple nature of the family.

It Is All Down to One Family

There is no doubt that if you ask any Blackburn supporter, what are Burnley fans called? 99% of them will come back with the same word.

Dingles.

The reason for this is all down to one family in one of the UK’s most popular soaps.

The Dingle family in Emmerdale.

Blackburn fans have been calling Burnley fans Dingles since the mid-1990s, which coincides with the introduction of the said family into Emmerdale.

The Dingle family first appeared in Emmerdale in 1994 and is now the largest family in the soap with 11 generations of known family members.

In the show, the family is seen as a chavvy bunch of simpletons, with brain cells at a premium, who are involved in constant brushes with the law.

There is no love lost between Blackburn and Burnley fans, and Blackburn fans obviously spotted a great way to wind up their rivals.

So they started to refer to Burnley fans by the name of the aforementioned family.

To add insult to injury they refuse to accept Burnley as Lancastrians and instead insult their fans further by referring to Burnley in chants as a “small town in Yorkshire”.

As a bonus geography lesson, Burnley is most definitely in Lancaster, but only around five miles from the border with Yorkshire.

That said Burnley and Blackburn are only around 10 miles apart.

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To give Blackburn fans a bit more fuel to throw on the fire apparently actor Steve Halliwell, who plays the head of the Dingle family, Zak Dingle, in the soap, is also a regular at Turf Moor.

And of course, as is common when it comes to football chants nothing is held back:

“Your mum’s your dad; your dad’s your mum. You’re interbred, you Burnley scum” is one such chant.

Whilst, to the tune of the Addams Family, “Your granddad is your brother, your sister is your mother, you’re shagging one another, the Dingle family”, is another that rings out in games between the sides.

Blackburn Rovers fan Chris Riley gave his view: “Blackburn may not be a hip town, but Burnley is a throwback to the 1950s. They’re socially inferior to us – I can imagine them pointing at planes.”

The nickname has taken on a life of its own however.

Burnley fans are not the only ones to be labelled as Dingles by their rivals.

Barnsley fans have been called it, as have Wolves fans and probably many others.

So the question remains…

Why Do Blackburn Hate Burnley?

There is a Historic Rivalry

It has to be remembered both of these sides have a huge history in the Football League.

Blackburn Rovers FC was founded in 1875, and Burnley FC was founded in 1882. Both were founder members of the Football League, playing in the first ever season in 1888/89.

Blackburn took the bragging rights that year.

They finished 4th, whilst Burnley finished 11th. In the games between the two sides Blackburn beat Burnley 4-2 at home and 7-1 away.

That 7-1 victory included the Football League’s first ever hattrick, by Jack Southworth.

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As an aside both Jack Southworth and his brother James, who also played for Blackburn, were professional musicians as well as professional footballers!

In their formative years, both Burnley and Blackburn achieved good levels of success, which also increased the rivalry.

Burnley won the FA Cup in 1914, were runners-up in the League in 1920 and then won the League in 1921 before finished 3rd the following season.

Blackburn took home the FA Cup in 1890 and 1891 and won the League in 1912 and 1914.

For both teams, they remain the most successful periods of their respective histories.

There is a Geographic Rivalry

Their rivalry is not only geographical, the towns are barely ten miles apart, but historical and deep-rooted. 

In the late 19th and early 20th century, were both very much working-class towns, dominated by industry.

Whilst Manchester and Liverpool sprung up a similar rivalry based on the proximity and their ports, Burnley and Blackburn’s rivalry came from competing for big cotton weaving contracts.

The Rivalry Simmered Down for a While

After being in the top flight of English football for much of the early years of their existence, both Burnley and Blackburn, and in particular Blackburn, then yo-yoed between divisions for a number of decades.

Burnley spent the 1930s in the second tier before returning to the old First Division where they stayed until the 1970s.

Then a quick decline set in, from being in the First Division in 1976 they found themselves in the Fourth Division by 1985. 

In fact, in 1987 they only narrowly survived relegation to non-league on the final day of the season. 

From there, things couldn’t get much worse and the club were back in the top tier of English football again in 2009.

Between 1948 and 1992, Blackburn were outside of the top level of English football for all but an eight-season spell in the 1960s.

The period from 1992 has seen Blackburn in either the Premier League or the Championship, with the exception of one season in League One in 2017/18.

That is a convoluted way of saying matches between the two for a big part of the 20th century were relatively rare.

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Then Along Came Hooliganism

The 1970s saw hooliganism rear its ugly head and this led to a reigniting of the bad blood between Rovers and Burnley.

“Before the hooliganism of the 1970s, fans would watch both clubs when they played at home,” says Lee Grooby, who edits Blackburn’s official website. “That doesn’t happen now and the rivalry is a bitter one.”

East Lancashire football journalist Peter Smith adds: “The two teams didn’t play each other in the league between 1983 and 2001. When the sides met in the 1970s there was carnage because the towns share the same rail line. Fans were ambushed and bricks were thrown at trains.”

And of course, when Blackburn won the Premier League in 1995 Burnley were relegated from Division One the same season.

Although the sense of hatred between the two teams has calmed since the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s, it certainly hasn’t gone completely.

And it isn’t just Blackburn fans who Burnley, it is Burnley fans who also hate Blackburn!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now know why Burnley fans are called Dingles, it all stems from the Dingle family in Emmerdale.

The family is seen by Blackburn fans as a metaphor for the Lancastrian compatriots. The insult is centered around the lack of intelligence and backward nature of the family.

Then just to rub salt into the wounds, they also refer to Burnley fans as being from Yorkshire.

The rivalry goes back a long time, back to when Burnley and Blackburn were vying for honours at the top table of English football.

Back to a time when they were also vying for industrial contracts.

So if you want to know what Burnley fans are called and why, there you have it!


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