Scottish football clubs are falling foul of an ancient, heraldic law relating to their crests. A number of clubs have been forced to change their crest in the last couple of seasons, and now the same issue is facing League 1 club, Ayr United.
Ayr’s current club crest has been in use since the 1950’s and if they were forced to change it, costing the club thousands in having to switch to a new badge on all merchandise. Crests are a huge part of the identity of a club and undoubtedly so, fans feel protective over their club and it’s crest. However, out of every perceived negative, a few positives can also be found. A change of crest can be one of those positives.
My reasoning behind that? Being able to consult with fans of the club over a new crest. I believe fans should be at the forefront of decision-making at football clubs. Something clubs don’t do enough of is seeking opinions from fans, and while some may be disappointed that they’ll no longer have the historic crest of the ‘Honest Men’ emblazoned on their shirts, it introduces the opportunity to involve fans in coming up with the clubs new crest. While the Ayr United story has been developing, two English clubs are considered a badge change too. Yes, they don’t have the court to contend with, but they’re going about it in the right way.
Queens Park Rangers
QPR’s current crest has only been around since 2008, it was introduced by unpopular former co-owner, Flavio Briatore, to position them as London’s ’boutique’ club. QPR took the decision to introduce a new crest following proactive suggestions from fans groups, and a survey was created on the club website to consult the opinions of more fans. Feedback from that survey was discussed in a further meeting with their Supporters Consultation Committee, and following that, four options have been agreed on and it’s once again down to the wider fanbase to make the final decision. QPR have made it as easy as possible for fans to make their decision, mocking up what each badge will look like on their current kit.
A club really held in high regard for their digital media efforts, I’m always impressed by their fan engagement too. A questionnaire was introduced and a dedicated consultation area was opened at the Etihad Stadium for fans to voice their opinions, the result of that being that the club badge will soon be changing. A proposed design hasn’t been released yet, but will be shared exclusively with fans groups beforehand. The Sun has reported that City will be offering those die-hard fans with tattoos of the club badge free laser-removal surgery to remove the old crest from their body art, and have it redesigned as the new one. That’s one way for the club to spend the recent Chinese investment they received.
Fan representation at board level of football is something that should be actively sought out and encouraged. Clubs working closely in collaboration with fans can only be a positive thing. If fans are seen to be involved in the process of making decisions, this can have a knock on effect on their fellow fans, strengthening their support for the club.