1. Hamburger SV
Hamburg’s badge is without a doubt the worst in world football. A team’s badge should be evocative and by its very nature be emblematic of the club. The sight of your team’s badge should stir up feelings of pride and passion, but HSV’s badge looks like one of the fake badges from PES teams which Konami didn’t have the licensing rights for and I had to actually see a HSV shirt to believe that a club could put such a lamentably drab badge on their shirt.
2. Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew’s badge is the worst US contribution to football other than the Yanks’ insistence upon calling the game soccer. Admittedly, part of my hatred (and trust me, it is a hatred) of Columbus’ badge is a love of traditional football crests, but I would be willing to overlook that if The Crew had opted for an NFL-style logo or simply a stylised form of the team name. Instead, Columbus Crew decided to stick with a crest template but with an exceptionally drab colour combination and a picture of three blue-collar workers in place of anything vaguely tasteful or football-related. Whilst I appreciate the sentiment of representing the strong work ethic of the local community, surely this is better achieved by creating a side which is renowned for its work rate and not with a badge which is quite simply tragic.
3. The New Saints F.C.
The Welsh team formerly known as Total Network Solutions had the opportunity to create a new team badge after TNS’ sponsorship expired in 2006 but made a complete and utter hash of it. Having decided to use the Welsh dragon and a lion to represent the two merged clubs that created The New Saints, the club had a solid base for creating at the very least a respectable emblem. Despite this, the Saints decided to go and ruin it with the top section of the badge, which is seemingly copied from a cash-stricken Sunday league side. To add insult to injury, the powers that be decided that it would be a great idea to dot the “I” of Saints with a football. It is the football equivalent of dotting an “I” with a heart and is heinously tacky; what on earth were they thinking?
4. Coleraine F.C.
The red chevron saves Coleraine’s badge from being a monochromatic nightmare, but it isn’t even enough to be considered a saving grace. A fish should not, under any circumstances, be featured on a team’s badge and the wheat sheaves, whilst more socially acceptable, are unrecognisable – in fact they look more like dandelion seeds. Moreover, the badge simply fails to inspire; if an animal features on a badge it should be a powerful predatory animal, hence the prevalence of lions, tigers and bears on logos throughout sport. Though salmon is a predator in technical terms, it’s hardly in the same league as a wildcat or bird of prey, and certainly won’t be striking fear into the opposition. If nothing else, Coleraine’s badge is further that taking inspiration from the key industries of the club’s locality is not necessarily a winning formula.
5. F.C. Paços de Ferreira
The Portuguese side’s badge looks incredibly budget and you could be forgiven for thinking it had been drawn in Paint. All the colours on the badge look dull, which is probably a major contributing factor in how underwhelming the crest is. Why these shades were chosen is beyond me – surely you would want bold, vibrant colours on your team’s crest? Since ancient times, colour has been used as a status symbol and Paços’ choices seem to be a tacit acknowledgement of their lowly status. The club’s motto translates into English as “effort and victory for Paços”, sadly it doesn’t look like much effort was put into their badge.
6. Airbus UK Broughton F.C.
Having started life as the football team of the local Airbus factory, it is understandable that the Planemakers would want to pay tribute to their heritage, and their sponsor, on their badge. The problem is, an aeroplane is never going to be part of any iconic football crest no matter how subtly it is incorporated, so superimposing an overly detailed depiction of an A380 over a crudely drawn football is unlikely to result in an even vaguely acceptable badge.
Figueirense’s badge looks like a zebra crossing with a child’s drawing of a tree over the top of it. It looks cheap and that’s probably because it was, which is all the more galling because Florianópolis – the city where Figueirense are based – is said to have the highest standards of living in Brazil. My biggest problem with Figueirense’s badge though is that it is so generic that it could be a crest for almost anything and consequently it is instantly forgettable.
It is easy to overlook the breathtakingly lazy approach to club crest design adopted by Napoli considering the master class in anti-aestheticism demonstrated by Hamburg’s logo. Clearly creativity was at a premium when Napoli created their badge, for I can think of no other reason for such a despicably boring badge. It’s as if the designers literally couldn’t be bothered and just selected one of the most basic geometric shapes, put the first letter of the team name in the middle and added the team colours; in fact, I am convinced that that’s what happened. It certainly isn’t the most visually offensive badge out there, but it fully warrants its place among the worst badges due to the inescapable fact that it looks more like a “contains nuts” symbol from a restaurant menu than the badge of a prestigious football team.
9. Legia Warsaw
I actually quite like the green, white and red stripes on Legia’s badge, but there needs to be more to a crest than just that. Legia Warsaw clearly agreed with me on this point but for some inconceivable reason thought it could be solved with an “L” in a circle to represent Legia. Even if stylised, an “L” in a circle can only do so much to make an impact on a badge, but Legia chose the most boring option available to them. This is an unacceptable oversight, especially considering that the city of Warsaw has a fairly interesting coat of arms – a mermaid wielding a golden sword and shield, despite the fact that Warsaw is 500 miles inland.
10. Cercle Brugge
Club Brugge’s lesser-known rivals may only be three places behind their famous rivals at the tie of writing, but they are light-years behind in club crest stakes. Cercle’s badge fails to do what badges are designed to – that is to be distinctive. What’s more, the fact that it is rectangular, rather than being incorporated into any number of traditional crest designs, makes it look far worse than it otherwise would be. In fact, there is another form of the club’s badge which is used for pin-on badges which looks far better; if only Cercle would use the latter incarnation…
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