Supporters of English Premier League club Aston Villa are sounding off online after their new crest purportedly leaked online earlier this month.
In September 2023, Aston Villa announced that it planned to scrap the new roundel crest that it had only introduced less than a year before and re-open consultations with fans on a new crest in time for the club’s 150th anniversary season in 2024-25.
But in early January, a graphic was posted to Twitter by @theavfcfaithful with the caption “Potential badge leak? 😂” It shows a light blue shield with white and claret outlines and a yellow lion with a drop shadow in the middle. “ASTON VILLA” is spelled out at the bottom of the shield in claret under the year 1874 in white. A star above the lion’s paw denotes Villa’s European Cup title in 1982.
Villa fans were not impressed with the potential change, however. “That new rumoured Aston Villa badge is horrendous,” the Mirror reports one Twitter user as saying. “Might as well keep the old badge, or one of the new ones WE voted for. Honestly, it looks tacky and awful.”
The roundel crest was only used for one season, and only on Villa’s match and training kits. The roundel beat out a shield inspired by the gas lamp in the club’s founding story in a vote among season ticket holders and club members.
Throughout the 2023-24 season, Villa continued to used their old crest on their website and social media channels, as well as on the Premier League’s website and league-produced videos.
According to an in-depth article on the situation published by The Athletic, grumblings about the new crest started in Aston Villa’s front office soon after the fan vote was conducted. Members of the club’s Fan Advisory Board (FAB) were told it was “too close to Chelsea” and media outlets were encouraged to not adopt the new crest. “The circle-shaped badge was felt to have little relevance to Villa’s tradition and, as a consequence, a shield shape should be reinstalled,” Jacob Tanswell of The Athletic wrote. “This appeared to go against the overwhelming preference of supporters, with over three-quarters of the vote wanting a circular crest.”
The project that led to the roundel crest was spearheaded by former Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow. By September 2023, though, Purslow was out and former Philadelphia 76ers president of business operations Chris Heck was set to take over as in a similar role at Villa. Heck told a meeting of the FAB that month that he was looking to change the crest and that fans would be consulted.
However, FAB members told The Athletic that, in a subsequent meeting in December 2023, a video was shown with the new crest that they hadn’t seen before.
“We never got asked if we liked it or not. But no one said anything because there was no time left in the meeting to discuss it,” said one FAB member who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I think it was also because we were told ‘this is the crest’ — no one asked us for our opinion.”
FA rules state that supporters and the FA itself must be consulted throughout any crest redesign process.
The crest situation isn’t the only uniform-related news out of Aston Villa recently, either. The Telegraph reported last week would end its contract with British sportswear Castore and have Adidas take over as the club’s kit supplier starting in 2024-25.
Aston Villa players have reportedly been unhappy with their Castore shirts this season, saying they absorb too much water and sweat, weighing players down during matches.