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A change is as good as holiday, or so they say. There are exceptions to this particular rule, just ask any die-hard fan of Leeds United Football Club. This season has been a steep learning curve for Andrea Radrizzani and one of the hardest lessons he learned was ‘Don’t mess with our clubs identity’.
Identity at Face Value
Is there anything more functional in the establishment of an identity than a person’s face? We look at the faces around us every day and as a result, we are able to identify the person. Faces provide important bits of information, and much like the brand of a product, we are able to make instant and knowledgeable deductions about a person based on what we see at first glance.
Is no different with the football clubs that we love and support. Leeds United Football Club recently had to perform some serious back-pedalling after fans made it quite clear that they would not be offering their undying love and support for the newly proposed crest. In fact, so strong was the feeling that the new crest not adopted, that 50,000 people signed the petition for it not to be used.
Little Big Changes
The new crest was revealed on January 24th, and the updated logo swapped the club’s initials for its full name. It also displayed a torso with a fist held close to the heart, a symbol and gesture which is very much part of the culture of the club, and is known as the Leeds Salute and is tied in intrinsically with the clubs performance and fans.
However, despite the fact that this particular element was introduced to the logo for the very first time, fans were not elated or jumping for joy at the new design. In fact, so considerable was the unhappiness, that in under 24 hours, ample criticism had been received by the club.
So much so in fact, that it had stopped the process dead in its tracks. This despite the fact that the powers that be claims that the design of the new logo had been in process for going on 6 months and that 10,000 people had been consulted before its release.
The More Things Change
One the very same day, one particularly outraged fan, Steven Barrett, had launched a petition contesting the new logo. By 7 p.m., Barrett’s petition had attracted no fewer than 50,000 signatures in support of the old logo and you can bet that this number would grow even faster as the campaign gathered momentum.
A statement released by the football club was oozing with diplomacy and the powers that are had obviously made the decision that a careful approach re-enforcing the idea of patronage was the best possible response in a case like this.
The statement emphasised the fact that the club acknowledged that the volume and depth of the opinions expressed only served to remind once more of the level of passion that fans had for the club. The statement went on to say that despite the fact that the current board of directors were the custodians of Leeds Club; the fans would always be at the heart of every decision that was made.
Leeds’ chief executive, Angus Kinnear, said that for now the logo would remain unchanged and that fans would once more be consulted about the crest at a later stage, as the plan was that the crest would be featured on the 2018/2019 kit.
It’s interesting to note that fans are more concerned with the club’s crest than what they are with the fact that online betting companies have taken over the majority of club sponsorships. What a time to be alive, indeed.