As I spent ages labouring over a new logo for Hobby FC, it got me thinking back to some of the worser football badge redesigns in history. And apparently, there have been way more than I remembered!
Are Football Badge Redesigns Controversial?
Yes, at least I think they are!
In the world of football, club badges are sacred symbols that encapsulate the identity, history, and passion of a team. And with such heralded status, seldom get fettered with when established.
However, there are instances where attempts at redesigning these emblems have resulted in universal disapproval and outright disdain from fans. So, let’s delve a few which have been so despised that they either had to be changed or are still hoping to be.
Beginning with a club not short of controversy…
In 2017, Juventus, one of Italy’s most storied football clubs, shocked the football world with a radical departure from its iconic crest.
The minimalist design featured a stylized “J” at its core, surrounded by a sleek black and white color scheme. While the intention may have been to usher in a new era, the response from fans was overwhelmingly negative.
I wrote an article not long ago exploring the long-term link and respect held between Juventus and Notts County, and that hallmark of dignity and class is a theme that hasn’t lasted long.
The backlash stemmed from the perceived departure from the club’s rich heritage. Juventus’ traditional crest had long featured a charging bull, symbolizing strength and resilience.
The abrupt shift to a more modern, letter-centric design left many fans feeling disconnected from the club’s historical roots, resulting in a wave of criticism that echoed across social media platforms and fan forums.
Leeds United (2018)
Leeds United’s badge redesign in 2018 was met with a collective sigh of disappointment from the football community. Especially after how much the club hyped this ‘progressive change’
The new emblem, intended to represent a “modern and progressive” Leeds, featured a stylized “LUFC” accompanied by a wave design. However, the simplicity of the design failed to resonate with the passionate Leeds fan base. Much like the issue with the aforementioned Juve change.
Fans were quick to express their displeasure, with many feeling that the badge lacked the historic significance and intricate details present in the previous iteration.
The outcry reached such heights that Leeds United ultimately decided to scrap the badge redesign.
And they’re a better club for it, if you ask me! And I’m a Manchester United fan!
Cardiff City (2012)
Cardiff City’s badge redesign in 2012 was a divisive moment in the club’s history.
With a change in ownership signalling a number of shifts that were wholly unwelcome.
The traditional bluebird emblem, synonymous with the club for over a century, was replaced by a fierce red dragon. The decision to change the colour scheme from blue to red, along with the new dragon design, was driven by the desire of the club’s senior leadership team (basically Vincent Tan himself) to align with their own personal and cultural preferences, which favoured the colour red.
The alteration, however, was met with vehement opposition from fans who saw it as a betrayal of the club’s heritage. And it’s pretty easy to see why!
It wasn’t a subtle change e.g. blue to light blue. It was the opposite end of the spectrum.
At the time of writing, their primary colour is back to blue – the way it should stay!
Manchester City (2015)
I have a personal antipathy with this one, if I’m honest.
Partly because I liked the ‘prime Barclays‘ feel of the old badge.
The wings, that bird thing, the colours, the different fonts – it actually had a bit of character. Which signalled that Manchester City perhaps had some authenticity, no matter what anybody said!
Then they went and did an initial public offering (IPO) with a new shift for the business and a different look to go along with it. Which ended up being almost a carbon copy of their red rivals.
I may sound a little biased being a United fan myself, but looking at them side by side and the similarities are evidently clear, barring the difference in colour and slight cultural idiosyncracies. Which doesn’t really help with that authenticity mention I spoke of earlier!
The world of football badge redesigns is a delicate dance between tradition and modernity, and these four instances serve as cautionary tales of the challenges that lie within that.
As football clubs continue to evolve and seek new identities, the lessons learned from these controversial redesigns underscore the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between honoring heritage and embracing progress.
While some badge redesigns may be met with initial resistance, they also provide an opportunity for clubs to engage with their fan base, fostering a sense of collaboration in shaping the visual representation of their shared identity. It’s a tough balance to strike and being selfish, I just hope that my own football club isn’t faced with this type of unnecessary, external crisis.
But that’s just me!
Which of these football badge redesigns do you hate the most?