By Jacob Greenwood
English football is steeped in history and tradition, it’s what makes it so attractive to fans both at home and abroad. However, it’s because of this that changes to core pillars of clubs can cause friction. Rarely will you see a club look to rebrand itself and be met with glowing praise. Whether it changes to the kit, stadium or in Woking’s case the crest, it can be fraught with issues – but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.
Woking’s crest has an unmistakable connection with the town itself and this is not an unusual aspect for early branding. Although this wasn’t the club’s first crest, it conformed to a tradition seen elsewhere in English football, a concept outline by sports marketing commentator Lyndsay Connor:
“Traditionally, when a football club formed they would adopt their town or city’s crest, usually a complex design of various symbols and colours. Liverpool city’s coat of arms, adopted by Liverpool Football Club in 1892, features the Roman and Greek gods, Neptune and Triton, as well as two Liver birds and a Latin phrase.”
However, no club will keep the same crest forever, and the majority change more regularly than you might notice. Although this is an attempt to establish an international brand in the case of Premier League clubs, refreshes aren’t exclusive to them. As pointed out by many fans, new crests follow a similar template, but this isn’t by mistake. Connor mentioned:
“In the last decade, we have once again seen a simplification of club emblems. Consider Liverpool, Tottenham and Juventus’ most recent logos. Gone are the colourful crests with complex patterns and intricate designs. We see clean lines, minimal text and colour, as well as simplified iconography, creating a modern, stylised club identity.”
This conforms with what we have seen in the latest designs from Woking. Why is this relevant and what is the benefit? With so many clubs opting for a similar path, there is method in what some claim to be madness. Connor also explores the reason behind this:
“This stylised identity can also boost commercial revenue. The explosion of athleisure in recent years has significantly increased the expectations of fans for the stash being produced by clubs. These sleek logos meet the increasing pressure to produce premium, stylish kit for fans who will wear their kit to the gym, out to brunch and everything in between.”
It was inevitable that after a long stint with the current crest a change would come one day. Although there will be discussion and debate on whether the club could have offered more options or consulted fans earlier, they will have a clear idea of what works in what is a well studied area.
A Twitter account titled ‘Save Our Badge’ has been launched calling for fans who want to oppose it to contact the club, but it is unlikely to result in a big shift in direction. Although consultation with fans is important, it seems in this case the club knows what it wants and will allow fans to vote, but at a very late stage.
Fans have until 25th February to register their vote and the new crest will be announced on March 1st.
You can read more from Lyndsay Connor on the logic behind crests and logos on Medium.
Images from wokingfc.co.uk. Visit the site for a full set.