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[Article by SI]
The secret meanings behind soccer crests
The sheer variety of soccer crests around the world can be bewildering, but the imagery used by clubs often has a story all its own. Why does Barcelona’s crest have the English flag in it? Is there a reason why a Czech team has a kangaroo as its logo? Explore some of the hidden meanings behind the world’s most interesting soccer crests here.
A bear grazing at a strawberry tree has been a feature of the coat of arms for the City of Madrid since the 13th century. Seven stars represent the Ursa Major constellation, which itself represents a bear. This version of the crest will be in use starting with the 2017-18 season, coinciding with the club’s move from the Vicente Calderon stadium to the Wanda Metropolitano.
As a club, Barcelona is often regarded as a symbol of Catalonian nationalism. As such, the red and yellow stripes of the Catalonia flag are featured in the upper right side of the crest. On the upper left is the cross of St. George, who is seen as the patron saint of the city of Barcelona. The St. George’s cross is also commonly known as the flag of England.
The blue and white diamonds come from the flag of Bavaria, the region of Germany where Munich is located. The logo of German car company BMW features the same colors.
In the background of the crest of this Portuguese club is a bicycle wheel. That’s because an earlier incarnation of the club, known as Grupo Sport Benfica, was initially founded with cycling as the main focus.
Why are there so many stars? Because Boca Juniors adds one every time it wins something, and it wins a lot of things. At time of writing, there are 52 stars representing a variety of domestic, continental, and international titles. The blue and yellow colors date back to 1906, when the club’s members decided to adopt the colors of the next ship to sail into Buenos Aires’ La Boca port. The ship came from Sweden, and the color scheme of one of Argentina’s most famous soccer clubs was born.
Founded as AFK Vršovice, the Czech Republic squad adopted the kangaroo logo after a tour of Australia in 1927. After the successful tour, the club was awarded two kangaroos, which it donated to the Prague zoo.
The head in the logo belongs to Dickie Dowsett, a forward who played for Bournemouth in the 1950s and 1960s. At time of writing, he is 85 years old.
The two red dogs in the club’s crest represent Radu and Ion Nunweiller, brothers who played for the club in the 1960s and 70s. Nicknamed the “Red Dogs,” the Nunweillers made over 500 appearances for the club, winning six league titles between them. The whole team adopted the “Red Dogs” nickname afterward, and the club brought the dogs to its logo in 1998.
Surrounding the S (representing the name of the club) and the 04 (representing 1904, the club’s founding year) is a large letter G. That stands for Gelsenkirchen, the city where Schalke 04 is based.
WEST HAM UNITED
Introduced in 2016, the shape of the new West Ham United crest is modeled after the hull of the HMS Warrior, the first ironclad ship in the British navy, commissioned in 1861. The ship was built by Thames Ironworks, which was the company that formed the club now known as West Ham United. A subtle reference to Thames Ironworks (TIW) can be seen on the hammers in the logo itself.
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