A crest to a club is of paramount importance in expressing its identity as well as celebrating the foundations it was built upon, and its history. For example, West Ham sports hammers on their badge, representing the club being originally made up of workers at the Thames Iron Works and Shipbuilding Co. In Aston Villa’s case, a lion takes centre stage to represent the values of bravery, valour and strength. Nevertheless, in recent years the badge’s showpiece, rather than a fearsome lion, has been seen more like the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz as the club has only recently established itself as a positive force in the Premier League. As the Owners continue to invest their time and finances into Aston Villa, the club’s image needs to reflect these ambitions, including reimagining the current crest. With these thoughts in mind, could we see the return of the circular badgeto replace the well-known shield template?
Since 1880, Aston Villa has placed the lion as the most important element of their badge. With the large heraldic lion striking fear into the hearts of opponents, the red beast at the time pioneered the start of 142 years with the lion at the centre of the badge. Now, the famous lion can be found situated around Villa Park within a shield structure sporting a blue interior background. It has been 32 years since we have seen Aston Villa adopt the circular badge, a staple of previous successes including the 1982 European Cup win. For many of the older generation, the circular template represents a time in Aston Villa’s history when the club was a determined, successful outfit that would challenge any opponent in its path. In addition to these nostalgic individuals, as a 17-year-old whose early Villa memories don’t include any honours but many tears, from a creative standpoint I believe the circular template could be the answer. It’s a perfect way of paying homage to our history whilst still presenting a modern look.
The Guardian writer Scott Murray back in 2018 perfectly summoned the cycle that is fashion in the 21st Century, with a club’s badge not only being a representative of the club’s local identity but identity in regards to branding Aston Villa around the world.
“Fashion always comes back around, and simple, stark, intelligent designs are in vogue again: Juve’s modernist J; Tottenham’s glory-glory cockerel; Huddersfield’s not-afraid-to-come-at-you Yorkshire Terrier. With clubs, the world over competing for attention in cyberspace, expect more and more to refer back to the stylish, forward-thinking 70s for that killer logo which will give their brand (yes I know) half a chance tomorrow.”
Under the Ownership of Dr Tony, in regards to the design of Aston Villa’s badge and kits I believe he admired the idea of the club as a sports brand rather than an institution built at a foundation level by local communities passionate about the game. Especially in 2016, the removal of the word “prepared” from the badge for £80,000, the constant branding of the #fightlikelions, it almost felt like Dr Tony was abusing the heritage of Aston Villa for increased revenue through traction on social media. Now under the sensible hands of Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, the pair have a better understanding and respect of the culture surrounding the club, and the makings of its every sector. I have absolutely no doubt that the crest will reflect the positive aspirations they have for Aston Villa Football Club.
A positive step towards a new future is Aston Villa’s engagement with the fan base in deciding matters such as a new club crest online. With any decision such as a new badge, you can’t make everyone happy yet the owners are ensuring that as a collective we come to the best decision possible. If the reaction on social media is anything to go by, there is a high likelihood we could see the return of the circular badge very soon.