Monday, March 27, 2017

Just Because It Looks Heraldic ...

Just because it looks heraldic, and just because it's used a lot like a coat of arms, doesn't necessarily mean that it is really heraldry.

A case in point is the logo of the Liverpool (England) Football* Club. In an article in The Independent about the LFC's upcoming 125 year anniversary, the Club has announced that their uniforms next season "will feature a special commemorative crest" to mark this milestone.

Leaving aside the misnomer of calling it a "crest," the article goes on to talk a little bit about the current logo and the changes that have been made to it over the years.

It all began (relatively) innocently enough, with a shield with the Liverpool liverbird on it, and the name of the LFC in chief (and, presumably, the "motto" scroll with "Est. 1892" to keep that date in front of everyone). Since then, in 1992 to mark the centenary of the Club a representation of the Shankly Gates (erected at Anfield stadium in 1982 as a tribute to former manager Bill Shankly) was added (serving rather like a crest would in real heraldry. And yes, the words appear on the gate in that position), and later the two "eternal flames" were placed on either side of the shield (as supporters?).

So, what began as a comparatively simple quasi-heraldic design has been added to in recent years to make the whole thing more complex and therefore less readily identifiable, and now they're saying that they're going to do something else to it. Fortunately for the LFC, they are based in England rather than Scotland, where (in Scotland) mucking about this way with designs on shields is supposed to be done in coordination with the heraldic authority there. The College of Arms may frown on this sort of thing, but it has no enforcement authority.

Anyway, it's an interesting bit of pseudo-heraldic history. You can find the entire article, "Liverpool to unveil new crest marking club's 125th anniversary," on the website of The Independent at

* By "football" I mean, of course, what most of the world considers to be football, but which we in the United States persist in calling "soccer" so as not to confuse it with what the rest of the world calls "American football" (or other, somewhat less polite, names. See the images below for a taste of what I mean).

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