25 May ~ Shrewsbury Town fans are contented, almost. We have returned to the third tier after an absence of 17 years and several frustrations in the play-offs; club legend and all-round good guy Graham Turner is back in the dugout; the chairman and board are local men committed to running the club according to its means; and we have a bright, shiny new stadium that does not flood twice a season. But then there's the issue of our badge. For over 40 years the Shrewsbury badge had included the Loggerheads symbol, which consists of three leopards heads on a shield, and has been the town's coat of arms since the Middle Ages.
The earliest known team photograph, from 1907, shows loggerheads on the shirts, so most fans regard them as our badge. But in 2007, when we moved from Gay Meadow, a new badge was announced. Fans were puzzled as the roaring lion design looked vaguely familiar. Was it taken from a well known pub in the town, Millwall's badge or even a Lion bar? Worse still, no one could think of any connection between a lion and town or club. The design was clumsy: why have the words "Shrewsbury Town" followed by "STFC"?
The club argued that the change was required due to concerns over copyright: "The bottom line is, we have to protect our brand. We can't do that with our current logo." Their statement went on to say that the new logo is "able to be registered in 14 trademark classes". Fan puzzlement quickly turned to disbelief and anger, when a poster on the unofficial blue-and-amber message board discovered that the lion was taken from clip art, ready-made generic imagery.
From that time on, opposition to the clip art badge has been a regular topic on the board. After the League season ended, an online petition launched to ask for the return of the Loggerheads. Within two weeks, over 850 signatures had been collected.
After five years of silence on the matter, the club was prodded into issuing a statement. They ignored the sentiments of the petition: "It is extremely disappointing that the celebration of promotion has been curtailed and demeaned by yet another debate about the club badge." The club's statement mentioned their desire to maintain "revenue streams from merchandise" and (hilariously) "our youngest fans who relate to the lion on the badge to our mascot Lenny the Lion". The latter statement was compared by a supporter to Arsenal replacing their cannon with Gunnersaurus.
The statement begs several questions. It's not clear how can you register a badge including clip art but not one that includes the Loggerheads. If the new badge is registered, rip-offs should not be so readily available on Ebay, nor should hawkers have been able to sell unofficial merchandise outside the ground before our last home game of the season. Finally, if the revenue streams are so precious, why do we have a club shop the size of an average front room?
We don't know why the club is so defensive about their badly designed badge, but despite our regret that the petition has upset the club's board, the campaign to get rid of "clippy" will continue. David Campion