Leeds United have released their new club badge for next season, and it’s caused the predictable storm. Yet they’re the club of Don Revie who famously changed their kit colour to all white in 1960, and they’ve had some fairly radical changes to the crest in the past.
So what’s the fuss? There’s a petition with north of 8,000 signatures already, and a storm brewing online. It’s a good question. It could be that it’s all about opposition to modernity, as someone has already suggested. Of course it is, you might say: not only are football fans a sensitive, quite conservative bunch, but Leeds United is still one of the biggest clubs in the country. They attract comment.
Except, peeling back all of this, regardless of who this is, it still looks like a mistake. The video announcing the move is a good example of the modern promotional video in football. Portraying the raw emotion of football, combined with just the right amount of players, legends, kids and old people. Never forget the kids and old people.
But watching it just leaves me feeling that they’ve made a half-decent promotional video is all, one you might show to a potential sponsor or partner. The key phrase here is ‘consultation’. They say they’ve consulted ‘10,000+ fans’ – probably about a third or so of their average home gate, and I’m in no position to question that. But what actual role did these fans play in the process? Was there effectively a vote of those 10,000? Was it 10,000 in total consulted in some form or another? Were they asked for their views on what Leeds meant to them, or were they asked if the arm-on-the-chest would make a good crest? Having overseen rebrands, and carried out consultations for rebrands in football, it depends on a lot of things, particularly the questions you ask, and how you guide, or don’t guide, the conversation.
‘Consultation’ is something the club has made a big thing about here, but given the results, which to me just don’t look very ‘football’, and certainly don’t look very ‘Leeds’, I’m beginning to wonder what exactly they meant.