Cork City F.C.

Before the formation of Cork City Football Club in 1984, two clubs regularly vied for dominance in The People’s Republic of Cork - the famous Cork Hibs and Cork Celtic. Despite the archaic Rule 27 of the Gaelic Athletic Association, banning any members who participated in or supported “foreign games,” Irish club football’s heyday was arguably the late 60’s to mid 70’s period when players like George Best graced Flower Lodge on the outskirts of Cork city and flocks of GAA people thronged the stands under peaked caps and scarves, pretending not to notice each other (Rule 27 was struck from the GAA rulebook in 1971).

Best’s brief spell with Cork Celtic was portentous for the League of Ireland - he commanded a fee of £1,000 per match and was not obliged to play away games. So it was that both Cork clubs inevitably folded due to unsustainable spending and naive financial decisions; Hibs in 1977 and Celtic in ‘79, both citing financial difficulties for their demise.  

Cork United filled the gap between 1979 and 1982, before also going bankrupt. This led to the birth of Cork City Football Club, founded by members of a number of existing or recently folded clubs.  Former Cork Celtic player and manager (and legendary Chelsea inside forward) Bobby Tambling became the club’s first coach, although he lasted only 13 games before being replaced by Tony Allen.  

The initial Cork City crest leaned heavily on the original Hibs design, featuring the Cork coat of arms of the two towers that once guarded the entrance to the port of Cork and a ship.  The club also adopted the green and white colours used by both Cork Celtic and Cork Hibs, with a red trim in a nod to the county colours. In its early years, the club struggled, and narrowly avoided relegation in its first two seasons. 1986 saw the club make the move to Turner’s Cross, still the home ground to this day with a current capacity of 7,365. Incidentally, this year sees the first return of the Irish national team to Cork since 1985 as they face Belarus at “The Cross” in a Euro 2016 warm-up game. The Boys in Green can expect a warm and raucous welcome from the famous Shed End support and also the notorious Corner Boys section.  

The move brought a degree of professionalism to the club's operations, and with former Ireland striker Eamon O’Keefe at the helm, they secured a cup double in 1987 by winning both the Munster Senior Cup and the League of Ireland Cup. Notable mention must be given at this point to the Cork City jersey of the 89-90 season featuring the same design as the famous Germany kit of the same era, purely as an excuse to once again marvel at the iconic Adidas motif.

  Image Courtesy of            Museum of Jerseys

  Image Courtesy of           Museum of Jerseys

The early 90’s brought more European adventure and high league positions. German giants Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw in Cork, in a match played at the higher-capacity Musgrave Park, before Cork City succumbed to a 2-0 defeat in Bavaria. Around this time, the club updated their crest design, to a green-and-white affair with ribbon detailing and the coat of arms placed before a football. The crest also included the motto Statio Bene Fide Carinis, the Cork motto meaning “a safe harbour for ships.” Ironically, the club were at this point taking no prisoners when it came to teams visiting Turner’s Cross.

The maiden league victory came in 1993, a feat made all the more impressive due to the nature of the season’s climax. Three clubs - Cork City, Shelbourne and Bohemians - finished the regular season on equal points, with a league rule declaring the title could not be won on goal difference. Following consultation with the clubs, the League of Ireland arranged a three-team play-off featuring home and away games against each team. This could not separate the three teams either, again all finishing the mini-league on an equal footing. The second play-off involved each team playing each other once at a neutral venue, with Cork winning both their games to ensure their name was on the trophy.

However, financial difficulties (unfortunately a running theme for most League of Ireland clubs), this time associated with an attempted move to new grounds in Bishopstown, brought about a tumultuous few years but still adding to their cup haul with further Munster Senior League success and the 1998 FAI Cup.  

The transition to the professional era began in the late 90’s, and with it a change in style for the crest and kit too. The club adopted the red of Cork’s successful Gaelic football and hurling teams in an effort to tie their identity more closely to the people of Cork, but the die-hards were generally unimpressed by the change. In 2002 the more favourable green home kit returned. The revert to green left UEFA officials similarly unimpressed as Cork City played NEC Nijmegen in the now-defunct Intertoto Cup. City were forced to hastily arrange for an all-white kit en route to the Netherlands as both home and away jerseys clashed with those of the Dutch club.  

             Image Courtesy of   Mick Ring

             Image Courtesy of Mick Ring

Eventually reverting back to green kits, Cork City won their second league title in 2005 under Damien Richardson, with the league and cups being played in a summer season (March-October). The following year saw the use of a green and gold crest to commemorate the league victory. Again though, more trouble was around the corner.  

2008 saw the beginning of a financial crisis across Ireland, and League of Ireland clubs were not exempt from the difficulties brought about. The Celtic Tiger had led to the professionalism of League of Ireland football, with Cork City among the clubs granting full-time contracts to playing staff. The club found itself in examinership following the investment difficulties of venture capitalist firm Arkaga. Cost-cutting measures were implemented and the club were docked points by the league.  

Arkaga had initiated a rebranding process for the club upon their initial takeover, modifying the club crest once again. The starker image featured red and black heavily, with no use of the club’s traditional green. A red banner in the shape of a “C” completed the design.

The fallout from the club’s financial problems dragged into 2010, leading to the club’s failure to obtain a licence for the league. Cork City Investment FC Limited faced a winding up order, leading to fans taking matters into their own hands and creating Cork City FORAS Co-op. FORAS is the Friends of the Rebel Army Supporters group, the fan-led trust that now runs the club - foras roughly translates also to institution or organisation in Irish. The club played in the League of Ireland 1st Division in 2010 as Cork City FORAS Co-op, although were still referred to as Cork City or simply “City” by media and fans alike. The original club name was restored later in 2010 as the supporters trust purchased the naming rights from the investment group liquidator.  

A new crest was needed in the meantime, as legal wranglings and rights difficulties dragged into the start of the 2010 season. The new design featured the official club name at the time, as well as the new year of foundation.  Designed by Declan Carey, the design was simplified to allow for multiple uses, although the bold colours and clean lines give the crest a starkly modern quality. The crest was voted on by supporters at an EGM in early 2010.  

The club earned promotion in 2011, winning the 1st Division title at the second time of asking. By now, the original club name had been re-established and incorporated into the club insignia.  

The new fan-based ownership structure has brought Cork City back to the heights of the early 90’s and mid-00’s, with record goalscorer John Caulfield in the dugout, having led the club to second place behind the unstoppable Dundalk in the past two seasons.  The solid foundations and responsible running of the club has brought the feel-good factor back to Turner's Cross, attracting the highest average attendances in the League in recent times.  Success in the league has been out of reach for the last two seasons, but surely further success is only around the corner.  

Many thanks to Declan Carey and Cork City FC for the use of club crest images.  The 89-90 jersey design is provided courtesy of the incredible Museum of Jerseys. The 2003 kit image used against NEC Nijmegen appears courtesy of Mick Ring, from his outstanding collection of Cork City FC kits which can be found here.

Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.

The high-flying Brighton & Hove Albion Seagulls are pushing for promotion to the Premier League, ready to join the Canaries of Norwich and the Eagles of Crystal Palace in feasting at the top table.  But just like the club itself, who faced down a financial crisis in the mid-nineties, so too have the Seagulls undergone rapid evolution - starting life as the Shrimps. Well, not exactly, as the Goldstone Ground crowds never cried “Come on you Shrimps!” supporting their team, the nickname never being a moniker for a club known throughout its early life simply as the Albion.  In 1950, the Brighton Standard ran a competition for a nickname for the club. Funnily enough, the winning name of the “Brovions” (work it out) never caught on.  

The club adopted their first crest around this time, a simple calligraphic affair featuring the club initials, coinciding with their rise to the Second Division in 1958.  Their run in the Second Division lasted four years, and the club didn’t reach the same heights again for any length of time until 1977 under the helm of Alan Mullery. There were a number of identity crises in the intervening years, as evidenced by changes in the crest design and nickname.

Badges were employed sporadically by the club in this period, with both at the time incorporating the two town’s coat of arms.  The first featured both coat of arms while another featured a hybrid version of both arms, although this was never used on club shirts, instead being used on club stationery and match programmes. The hybrid took the more distinctive features of both crests - most notably Brighton’s Dolphin crest.  

Following advice from the Football League in 1972, warning that any club badges with heraldic aspects may have copyright issues, Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. ran a competition for a new nickname.  Among the contenders were Seasiders, Bluebirds, Goldstoners and Diehards, but the overwhelming favourite was Dolphins. The club were slow to adapt to the nickname, with a new crest not arriving until 1975, and shouts of the Albion still ringing around the ground. A simple silhouette crest, which again did not feature on club shirts, the dolphin was a result of the popular dolphinarium at Brighton aquarium. However, a sea change at the club was on the horizon, prompted in part by a set of high-flying birds, the newly-christened Crystal Palace Eagles.  

Previously known as the Glaziers, Crystal Palace had undertook a more successful rebranding as a fierce rivalry gripped the two sides in a bid for promotion from the Third Division. The Eagles sang impressively in their Selhurst Park roost, but after a group of Albion fans met on Christmas Eve 1975 in the Bosun pub, they were greeted to chants of “Seagulls, Seagulls” in the return fixture at the Goldstone the following February. Lee Philips was the mastermind behind the new nickname, with Derek Chapman, later a director at the club, also being present on that fateful night.

The nickname had a galvanising effect on the club support, and in 1977 the club crest reflected the change.  The seagull roundel crest was the first crest to be a permanent fixture on club jerseys, while seagull-branded merchandise also became available, the dolphin livery never catching on.  The roundel crest was used by the club for 21 years until 1998, when a new shield was implemented. This followed the financial problems faced by the club, who in 1995 decided to sell the Goldstone Ground. Club historian Tim Carder describes the period from 1995 until the 1997 takeover as “club civil war,” with the fan-backed Dick Knight takeover signalling peace.  

The Goldstone Ground in 1997 - Image courtesy of BHAFC

The Goldstone Ground in 1997 - Image courtesy of BHAFC

To mark the new beginnings of the club, now ground-sharing with Gillingham and in the Third Division (fourth tier at this time), the shield image was unveiled. The new crest referenced the club nickname below the seagull image, while also adding an additional colour with red outlines and shading. The “dual arms crest” was re-introduced to celebrate with the club’s centenary year in 2001, as the Seagulls won the Third Division.  

Following a series of highs and lows across the lower divisions, Brighton & Hove Albion established themselves in the re-titled Football League Championship in 2011, now with a new home in the American Express Community Stadium at Falmer. To coincide with the club’s first permanent home in 14 years, a new badge was commissioned, with a return of the roundel design present until 1998. The updated version sees the seagull flying to the right; somewhat going against heraldic tradition but signifying a club moving in the right direction.  With automatic promotion to the top flight a strong possibility this season, the last change to the crest may yet be the most significant of all.

Outside the American Express Community Stadium - Image courtesy of BHAFC 

Outside the American Express Community Stadium - Image courtesy of BHAFC 

TGP would like to offer a special thanks to Tim Carder, Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. Club Historian, for providing the information for this article.

Also, a special thanks to Paul Hazelwood, Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. Club Photographer, for providing the images for this article.

All images courtesy of Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. 


Valencia CF

In this regular feature, we examine the history, origins and meaning of club crests around the world.  First up is the distinctive escudo of Valencia Club de Futbol.  

Valencia Club de Futbol was formed in 1919, in the inauspicious setting of a city-centre bar with a coin-toss deciding the club’s first president, Octavio Augusto Milego Díaz. Football had arrived in Valencia thanks to a citrus fruits export company who travelled regularly to England, and although there were several teams in the area, none represented the city itself. It is no surprise then to see the city colours as being a constant in the crest design, such are the club's relationship and shared history with the city.

           Original Crest from 1919. Courtesy of Valencia C.F.

           Original Crest from 1919. Courtesy of Valencia C.F.

The original also includes the most distinctive feature of the present-day Valencia crest – a black bat, which gives the team the nickname of Los Murciélagos.  The bat also appears on the city’s coat of arms, and there are several theories for its significance.  According to legend, when King James I came to re-conquer the city from the Moors in 1238, a bat landed on the top of his flag which he took to be providential.  Needless to say, when the city had been re-claimed, the bat was added to the coat of arms.  A similar story states that a bat woke a sleeping night-watchman as the city was about to be attacked.

The crown that also features on the original club crest is also taken from the city coat of arms.  This earlier crest is in fact an unofficial club crest, with the first official club crest still similar to the modern-day version.

  Courtesy of Valencia C.F.

  Courtesy of Valencia C.F.

By the time the club settled into its permanent home at the Mestalla stadium, the crest had been updated with familiar features from the original.  With a capacity of 17,000 and the project overseen by architect and future president Francisco Almenar, as well as the builder Ramón Ferré, also a member of the club, Valencia CF were bidding to join the newly formed national league with a new home and a new crest.  The football that formed the original shield was still incorporated, this time over the yellow and blood orange city colours.  Despite the strong colour themes, the team played in a strip of white shirt with black shorts and socks – the club’s home kit to this day.  Valencia played their first league match in February 1929 sporting the new shield-based design.  

This design was modified through the years but essentially remained the same.  The main change has been the shape of the shield and the bat design that tops the crest. Note also the slight variations of the club name in the blue banner, eventually abandoning the English-style “F.C.” in the 1980’s with “Valencia C de F”.  This was also the first crest that featured additional detailing of the bat logo.

As the crest developed, so too did the club.  The 1940’s saw a stadium capacity increase, and more importantly the first piece of silverware in the 1941 Copa del Rey, followed by their first league title the following year.

                                Valencia C.F. Crest Timeline. Image Courtesy of Valencia C.F.

                                Valencia C.F. Crest Timeline. Image Courtesy of Valencia C.F.

The Mestalla later hosted matches in the 1982 World Cup and is regarded as one of the country’s finest stadia.  European competition was now a regular occurrence at the ground, with Fairs Cups as well as Cup Winner’s and Super Cups having made their way into the trophy cabinet.  Ronald Koeman led the club to their last Cup success in 2008, beating Getafe in that year’s Copa del Rey final.   

In a threat to the club’s crest, November 2014 saw DC Comics file a lawsuit against the club, contesting the use of bat symbols in protest at a Valencia CF clothing line which featured a bat with raised wings.  The club scrapped the modification, although DC Comics were sufficiently distracted to destroy two perfectly good superhero reputations with the release of Batman Vs Superman.  

For football fans, the bat symbol will always mean one thing – a proud and historic club on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula who aren’t afraid to fly in the dark.