Sunday, 28 July 2013

Badge Focus: Crystal Palace

Following our previous look back at the club badges of Wolverhampton Wanderers, we now turn our attention to Crystal Palace, a team that have just launched their own new design...

Formed 108 years ago in the south of London, Crystal Palace’s first club badge didn't appear on their shirts until 1955. Some twenty years previous, they'd had the letters ‘CPFC’ stitched on the left breast, but the Selhurst Lane club changed tack with a new design showing the fa├žade of the old Crystal Palace building, site of the 1851 Great Exhibition. As mid-50’s badges go, this was a very nice example of how to use simple composition and styling to create an easily recognisable ‘brand’.

The new crest remained in place (albeit in modified form latterly) until 1964 when Palace played Real Madrid in a commemorative match to formally celebrate the installation of their new floodlights. The kit became all-white for two seasons and the shirt was adorned with what can only be described as a baffling half-shield in blue and red. Looking like something that had fallen off the tail fin of a French Air Force plane, this surreal attempt at a badge didn't make it past 1966, and possibly with good reason.

After a season where no club badge appeared on the shirts at all, Crystal Palace replaced the badge in 1967 with some embroidered gold stitching showing the team name. In 1972, however, this was also replaced and a circular creation arrived, complete with claret-coloured ring and an angular light-blue ‘CP’ in the middle. Palace’s name featured in the outer circle, as was their nickname - ‘The Glaziers’. A distinctive moniker and a pleasing, if slightly unimaginative, badge too, but both would be gone by the end of 1973.

The reason for the change in mid-season can be attributed to one man – Malcolm Allison. He arrived as manager at Selhurst Park four months into the 1973/74 season and decided that Palace were in need of reinvention. At a stroke he got rid of the club’s colours (claret and blue for as long as anyone could remember), the club’s nickname (opting for the altogether more inspiring ‘Eagles’) and that minimalist badge.

By way of a replacement there was a new colour-scheme of red and blue and a badge featuring a swooping eagle landing on a football with the words ‘Crystal Palace Football Club’ running in circular formation around them. A considerable improvement for sure, and although it wasn't enough to stop Palace dropping briefly into the Third Division, it did set the club on a more positive bearing for the seasons that followed.

Though the team’s fortunes fluctuated regularly, the badge remained constant until 1987 when a coming together of old and new created the emblem that has remained in place virtually ever since. Out went the circular motif and in its place came an image of the glass fronted Crystal Palace building that was last used in the 1960’s together with the swooping eagle. The overall arrangement proved popular and had a unique appearance that stood out easily from their rivals.

Strangely enough, a little tweaking was called for in 1994, and not necessarily in a good way either. Firstly, the dynamic swooping eagle was replaced with a standing eagle whose body was facing in the opposite direction. Secondly the ball upon which it was perched was updated from the 1960’s long-patch style to the 1970’s Adidas Telstar. Now surely if you were going to modernise the appearance of a football on your club badge, you’d bring it all the more fully up-to-date, wouldn't you? Apparently not, in this case...

Aside from that, there’s also a bit of a question mark over the patchy shading on the eagle itself. For some reason, it looks as though it had been photocopied and then that photocopy has been photocopied and so on to the point where all the detail has been lost.

With that in mind, it's a little surprising that it took 19 years before someone felt the need to freshen up the badge. The result, however, was a consultation between club and fans in which the latter were asked to vote for their favourite among a selection of potential new designs. The winner, designed by Crystal Palace fan Dan Mulcahy with help from Palace's own design team, featured a crisp, sharply illustrated eagle on top of an old-fashioned ball with a new blue ribbon below and a restyled version of the Crystal Palace building behind in grey.

In our view, the new badge looks excellent, but we'd love to hear your views on it or any of its predecessors. Please leave us a comment or take part in our online poll below. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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(Article updated from previous version originally published on Football Fairground).


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