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24th Jun 2019

The definitive ranking of Premier League badges

Kyle Picknell

Don’t judge a book by its cover, but do judge a football club by its badge

For instance, here is Guangzhou Evergrande’s:

It tells you a lot about the club, doesn’t it? That screaming, burning tiger essentially yelling at you: “BE THE BEST FOREVER OR ELSE YOU WILL GET TAKEN OUT BACK AND… WELL, NOT SHOT DEAD, BUT KIND OF SHOT. MAYBE JUST THE KNEECAPS. MAYBE JUST ONE KNEECAP”

Similarly, this is the badge of FC Ilves of the Finnish Veikkausliiga. It’s meant to be a lynx. If you don’t know what a lynx is, just know this: this is not a lynx. This is not what a lynx looks like. Instead, what you see below looks like a moderately powerful electric Pokémon called Snugglebuzz.

As you can see, football badges can make or break a team’s reputation, even without taking into account how good they actually are. With that all in mind let’s rank next season’s Premier League badges, from the very worst to the very best. Starting with Watford and the infamous sadboi moose (I’m not calling it a hart you fucking nerd).

20th – Watford

The font is bad. The colours are bad. The moose is sad.  It is the shape of an upside-down bishop’s hat.

Nothing about Watford’s badge makes sense and it is, without a doubt, the single worst badge in the Premier League.

(Yes, yes please do comment beneath this article informing me that it is, in fact, a hart, as though that somehow makes this monstrosity any better. You, an idiot: It’s a hart, not a moose. Me, an elite badge-ranker: Look at its stupid dopey face)

19th – Burnley

Believe it or not, Burnley’s was designed on the Pro Evolution Soccer 3 badge creator by a small, lonely child who had just been force-fed several tabs of LSD.


You just look at it and think: what does it all mean? 

It means the second worst badge in the league, I’m afraid.

18th – West Ham United

Sticking ‘LONDON’ on the bottom of your badge is just very, very, very small time. I’m sorry. I like West Ham. But this badge has less about it than Modibo Maïga. Just nothing to it.

17th – Brighton & Hove Albion

Wow, congrats to the Brighton & Hove Albion design team. You’ve put a completely expressionless seagull inside a circle. The bird looks exactly how Brighton football club makes everybody who isn’t a Brighton fan feel. Do better.

16th – Wolverhampton Wanderers

It’s a very angular wolf in a hexagon, inside a bigger hexagon. Looks like a self-designed tattoo on the calf of a cargo-shorts wearing, Dark Fruits drinking, earlobe stretching CEX employee. Next.

15th – Chelsea

The lion is holding some kind of staff. Lions can’t hold staffs. It has also broken its neck. Please help the Chelsea lion, it is spitting blood and it is hurt. Like it is clearly hurt. Please send help. Help the lion. It is old. It is dying. The Chelsea lion is dying a most gruesome death.

14th – Manchester City

Too bright, too shiny, too pristine. Everything a football badge shouldn’t be. It breaks rule number one of any football badge, which is, namely: you must be able to recreate it with the Windows XP version of Microsoft Paint. This is far too photoshop.

Also, and this irritates me the more I look at it, you can’t have a traditional crest shape inside a circular badge. Thinks it is way better than it is, doesn’t it? Attempting two badges in one. The sheer arrogance of it. And how many colours do you need, lads? Fucking hell. Three different shades of blue? You’re really pushing it. You were nothing a few years ago. You had Emile Mpenza, Valeri Bojinov and Rolando Bianchi up top. You were nothing. Never forget that. Georgios Samaras, lads. Georgios. Samaras. That was you for a while. Yeah.

13th – Southampton

Looks like the badge for a not-very-good children’s football team designed by one of the parents who is also the assistant manager, to be honest. The guy who pumps all the footballs up way too hard and took eighteen months to design the club website which contains only two pages: ‘News’ and ‘Fixtures’. And the news page is completely empty. Can’t even get the results or league table on there.

A halo, a tree AND a river? Take yourselves a bit seriously for Christ sake, even if nobody else does. Even if your bitter rivals are Paget Town Wanderers under-12s.

12th – Sheffield United

A pretty basic badge, sure, but it does have two big fuck-off swords in the middle so… you know. The badge of choice for pirates or all the bad guys in Aladdin. Couldn’t possibly be any lower.

11th – Leicester City

I will not lie to you, the fox on the Leicester City badge unnerves me. Those aren’t fox eyes. Those are human eyes. Those are eyes that have seen things. Those are eyes that have seen pain, and heartbreak, and anguish. Those are eyes consumed by a million different memories. Those are eyes you look into and feel like you’ve just been swallowed up by a black hole. Those are eyes that will haunt you for eternity.

Fairly nice badge though, regardless. Arguably the best font in the division.

10th – Liverpool

It’s just a bit too into itself, isn’t it, the Liverpool badge. The Liverpool badge is the most likely to enter the Love Island villa and tell you in a video diary that it really rates its chat and banter. Look at the way the crest is mimicked in the wrought iron design at the top. Notice how it has a full ‘football club’ title, an established date AND a club motto. The only club with all three. The Liverpool badge thinks it’s amazing, basically. If it were a person it would be the kind of person that when you compliment it, instead of complimenting you back, will just reply, giggling: “Oh no, darling… no. Aren’t you sweet? But seriously thank you. Thank you. I know I am.”

9th – Bournemouth

A horrific badge. An ungodly badge. A badge for simpletons and idiots. And yet… there is something exquisite about it: just a head heading a football. A head that has hair, but whose hair is also some kind of blurred indicator of how fast it is moving to head this football, which, as you can see in the design, is completely stationary, floating in a fixed position in the air like a planetary object.

I love the angle the head is coming at, too, the most unnatural angle imaginable for a header. As though this was, in fact, a severed head that somebody has wound up and flung at you like a hammer throw, grabbing it by its clearly supernatural hair and just swinging it round and round and round and round in the vague direction of the floating orb of a football.

The Bournemouth badge is great, and I will lob a bloody, severed head with impeccably straightened hair at anyone who disagrees with me.

8th – Arsenal

The Arsenal badge is basically the easy, iconic design the West Ham badge was aiming for. Unfortunately, however, a big fuck-off cannon is better than two hammers, the font is better, the shade of gold is better and the shadow effect created by the two shades of red side-by-side is magnificent.

It also helps that you think of a prime Thierry Henry whenever you look at it, too, rather than, say, Andy Carroll.

7th – Everton

Latin motto? Check. The thing that looks like some kind of Middles Ages windmill without the actual windmill-y bit? Check. The Everton badge is one of the few unique badges still knocking around. There are no animals. There is no ‘football club’. There are no actual footballs. Just some old stuff, including wreaths and a motto that translates as “Nothing but the best will do”. Literally just two colours and absolutely no thrills: it’s so Everton. If the Everton badge were a player it would be Tony Hibbert. And therefore it is perfect.

6th – Manchester United

Unfortunately, Manchester United’s badge is good. Unfortunately, it’s really good. It has a devil with a pitchfork. It has a boat. It has two footballs gluing the badge together. The shading of the red and yellow reminds me of the Microsoft WordArt golden age. Honestly can’t fault it. I wish I could. But I can’t.

And just because the above is far too nice to them: how could United be anywhere else but sixth?

5th – Aston Villa

Basic? Yes. A modern reinvention of an older, more iconic badge that didn’t need changing? Also yes. But the key thing with Aston Villa’s badge (a sincere welcome back to the Premier League, by the way, to one of the biggest clubs in the world) is that they have the perfect lion. The heraldic lion is massively overused in football badges and there are a couple of shameful interpretations of it on this very list (cough, Burnley, cough, Chelsea).

The Villa lion is everything the heraldic lion should be, however. For a start, it’s a golden yellow. You know. The colour of lions. Second of all, it’s actually rampant, and fierce, like a lion, rather than resembling a kind of drowzy, confused badger stood up on its hind legs scavaging through some rubbish bags in a skip. It has its claws out. It has its teeth and massive jaw showing. In a fight between all the animals that appear on all the Premier League club badges the Villa lion would tear everything else to shreds. Just look at it. Do you think Watford’s sadboi moose and Leicester City’s existential angst fox are standing a chance against that fucker? Think again.

The lone star – representing Villa’s European Cup win in 1982 – and using the abbreviation of ‘AVFC’ rather than the full name of the team are also underrated touches.

4th – Norwich City

Look, I know. The Norwich badge is shit. It is completely and totally shit. But hear me out: it’s so shit it’s actually really, really good. It’s the late period Pablo Picasso of Premier League football badges. The green, the yellow and the black in perfect unison: great. The outlandish proportions of the canary compared to everything else: great. The ghoulish looking thing that is meant to be a lion but is quite clear a ghost/paper bag with eye holes attached to the body of a scruffy-looking dog: great. The fact that this is the beast guarding the gates to the castle: great. The fact the castle is, for some reason, only one storey tall, as though it were a kind of castle-bungalow, a castle for the retired: even greater. A great, great, great badge. Even though it’s quite clearly shit. Even though it’s quite obviously shit.

3rd – Tottenham Hotspur

Clean, elegant but most of all, free; Tottenham Hotspur’s badge is without any sort of confinement. It contains no walls or roof or solid borders. The cockerel can come and go as it pleases. The football is its home, sure, but it is free to wander, to explore, to soar over North London if it wasn’t a heavy kind of chicken that can barely get off the ground. (That being said, the Spurs cockerel does look pretty svelte).

You just have to respect that freedom of movement, that open door migration policy. You have to respect what the Spurs badge stands for.

2nd – Newcastle United

Seahorses. Giant seahorses. As in: giant seahorses that look like the perfect genetic combination of actual, land-based horses and seahorses. Some zebra stripes. A lion emerging out of a chess piece. A lion emerging out of a chess piece brandishing the national flag of Iceland.

Honestly, Mike Ashley can name St. James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena and refuse to renew Rafa Benitez’s contract but as long as he doesn’t lay a finger on this badge, he’s alright by me.

(He isn’t. Please stop killing that football club, Mike. Sell up. Let Rafa live on in the land of kebabs and quad vods)

1st – Crystal Palace

Commemorating the infamous giant bird attack of 1905 which saw the once mighty exhibition centre pecked and clawed to smithereens by a 50 foot tall eagle, Crystal Palace’s badge is both a) cool as fuck and b) a classy gesture, both in remembrance of the terror bird itself (which was unfortunately bombarded by catapult fire until it died, sad reacts only) and the victims of the event (a single man that had his arm pecked clean off and some trees that got knocked over).

The best badge in the Premier League, bar none. Please never change it.