This week, Leeds United would have done well to remember Bill Shankly’s immortal quote about the beautiful game:
“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death... I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
Performances on the pitch aside, the quickest way to cheese off football fans is to monkey around with the team’s strip or, worse still, its club crest. Leeds’ new badge – the result of consulting over 10,000 people, apparently, has been a PR nightmare for the club. Universally slated – and likened to the image on a bottle of Gaviscon – the heartburn Leeds bosses suffered could have been avoided if they’d simply looked at recent history.
One design expert told the Yorkshire Post: “It appears the club underestimated the level of emotional attachment to the current crest.” Another commented: “A club crest, in particular, is as cherished as a national flag.”Both Everton and Aston Villa were criticised when they dropped the mottos from their crests as part of expensive redesigns – and it’s not just football clubs who’ve been shown the red card on this. The University of Birmingham was heavily criticised when it intimated launching a new crest, minus the open book which traditionally adorned it.
There’s a fine line between bringing your brand into the 21st century, and trampling over decades – if not hundreds of years – of history and heritage. Leeds have already hinted a rethink on their new ‘salute’ club badge; a little ‘extra time’ on the whole process wouldn’t go amiss…