English clubs and animals on their badges

By Jovan Belev Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/21 20:43:41

Tottenham Hotspur players participate in a training session on Wednesday in London, England. Photo: VCG

When Chelsea welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge in Saturday's early English Premier League game, there are several similarities between the clubs that will put the game in an even sharper focus.

The pair are London rivals, they have both been managed by both Jose Mourinho - the current Spurs manager and twice former Chelsea boss - and his protege Andres Villas-Boas, and both clubs are chasing fourth place in the English Premier League in order to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League.

In footballing terms, the game between Mourinho and his former star midfielder Frank Lampard, the current Chelsea boss, in the dugout, with both teams having everything to play for adds enough intrigue to the 90 minutes and three points on the line.

However, those with an eye for design will also note that these are two clubs who have pictures of animals that take pride of place on their club crests. 

Arguably this game represents the contest between the two very best animal badges that the English Premier League has to offer.

Chelsea's lion rampant is taken from the coat of arms for the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea while Tottenham's is a fighting cockerel, spur included, which dates back to the 1921 FA Cup final and stems from the team's connection to Harry Hotspur and a statue given to the club in 1909.

Far from unusual

Elsewhere in the English Premier League you can see Burnley, who have a lion, two bees and a stork, alongside Watford's hart, a stag from the county of Hertfordshire where they are based. 

Crystal Palace, known as "The Eagles," have an eagle on their crest, while "The Foxes" of Leicester City understandably have a fox on their badge.

Ignoring Liverpool, whose Liver bird is mythical, there are several others in the English top flight. Newcastle United have two seahorses, "The Canaries" of Norwich City have a canary and Aston Villa call upon a lion.

Wolves, as expected, have a wolf on their shield, and "The Seagulls" of Brighton & Hove Albion are similarly predictable.

In the Championship, West Bromwich Albion have a throstle, Middlesbrough have a lion and Hull City - "The Tigers" - have a tiger. 

Swansea City, also known as "The Swans," have a swan, while their greatest rivals Cardiff City, who are better known as "The Bluebirds," have a bluebird.

"The Bees" of Brentford have a bee, Preston North End have a lamb, and "The Robins" of Bristol City have a robin on the crest. 

Millwall, "The Lions," is another team with a lion on the badge, while "The Owls" of Sheffield Wednesday do indeed have an owl. 

Derby County, known as "The Rams," have a badge that is little more than a line drawing of a ram, while Huddersfield Town - "The Terriers" - hide their terrier in their badge.

Championship side Reading are another English team to have a lion included on their crest, despite there being no lions naturally occurring in the country, but League One Sunderland outdo them as they have two lions on their crest, despite being known as "The Black Cats."

Elsewhere in the third tier, Oxford United's badge is little more than an ox and Coventry City have always featured an elephant in their crest.

Ipswich Town have a giant white horse on their badge, which is at odds with their "Tractor Boys" moniker now that tractors are not pulled by horses. This was put in to focus when Wolves made a matchday program in the 2016-17 season where a wolf was seen battling a tractor.

Gillingham have a white horse that also has the word "Gills" as its mane, while Southend United have a shrimp, which is apt for a team known as "The Shrimpers." Down another division, Morecambe take the shrimp motif even further as it makes up almost all of their crest.

Wycombe Wanderers, who have a swan on their crest as a nod to the county of Buckingham, are one many to use birds in their badge.

League Two topping Swindon Town have a robin on their current crest, Crewe Alexandra are another in the lion club, just as Cheltenham Town are another "Robins" with a robin in their crest. 

Colchester United has a golden eagle, "The Bantams" of Bradford City indeed has a bantam on it, while Oldham Athletic has a large owl. 

Forest Green Rovers employ both a lion and the rather more mythical unicorn, and Salford City, the club owned by Manchester United's so-called "Class of '92," has a stylized lion for their updated crest. 

Walsall Town, often known as "The Saddlers" because of the town's leather trade, were earlier known as "The Swifts" and have a swift in full flight on their badge. Grimsby Town capture the fishing town's identity with a trawler pictured with three fish underneath awaiting to be caught.

Non-league teams

In non-league football it is a similarly animalian set of badges. 

Harrogate Railway Athletic of the Northern Counties East League Division One have a beaver on their badge, while Cammel Laird have a camel, ironic as the club is based on the Wirral peninsula where the locals build ships from the town of Ellesmere Port rather than being in the desert.

Whitley Bay, a coastal town just above Newcastle in the northeast, shares seahorses with their more famous and better supported neighbors, although they opt for just one on the badge. 

Saltdean United in the Southern Combination Premier Division have a tom cat. Peterhead FC have a single fish that is notable for appearing to head a football ball into a goal. That makes it stand out from teams such as Walton & Hersham, Storrington, Marlow and Newport Pagnell Town who all opt for yet another swan.

While this is far from an exhaustive insight into the presence of animals of all stripes on the badges of English clubs, the phenomenon is not confined to England. That is a story for another day and as we know every dog has its day.

Newspaper headline: Earning their stripes

Posted in: SOCCER

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