It’s an image emblazed across every Blues fans’ chest and the sight of it can bring a tear to even the most hardened Toffee’s eyes. The royal blue Everton crest dates back almost 100 years and, despite changes to its outwards appearance, has always stood for the spirit of Everton F.C.
Symbolizing everything the club strives towards, there’s no other crest like it. So we decided to take a look back at the history of this humble badge to see how it came to be the emblem it is today and what symbolism lies behind the blue crest….
When Everton first started using a crest, the design was much simpler than future emblems.
It featured the three letters E, F and C in white intertwined on a blue crest. Introduced in 1920, this style was to last for over 40 years bar one season in 1938. Despite not having any of the symbolic images we know and love today, the crest kick-started the Evertonian association with that classic royal blue colour.
And even when the Everton crest did finally change in 1972 and again in 1976, the design was still nothing like today’s emblem. Instead, the two changes continued to push the initial format of previous seasons. From 1972-1976, the Toffees played with cursive letters spelling out EFC in a diagonal fashion on their chests, before switching to a much simpler, and basic, EFC design from 1976 to 1978.
The Start of the Famous Everton Crest
But in 1978, the Everton crest was changed once more, and took a form far more recognizable to the one we know today. The now famous Rupert’s Tower emblem was added, along with the winners’ laurel wreaths and the renowned Latin motto.
The design for this new-fangled crest had actually been created much earlier in the club’s history. In 1938, Everton secretary Theo Kelly wanted to design the necktie worn by him and the chairman during games. The colour was agreed to be blue and Kelly was given the task of designing a crest for the garments.
Kelly worked on the design for four months before finally deciding upon a reproduction of the Everton Lock-Up, which had been linked with the area since its construction in 1787. According to Everton FC, Kelly said “I was puzzling over it for four months. Then I thought of a reproduction of the ‘beacon’ which stands in the heart of Everton”.
The lock-up was accompanied by two laurel wreaths (representing winning from Greek mythology), and the club motto ‘Nil Satis, Nisi Optimum’. The ties were first worn by Kelly and Everton Chairman Mr Green on the first day of the 1938-39 season. But the crest worn by players wouldn’t be updated to match this design until 1978.
The Wonder Years
In 1982, the crest changed again, continuing the circular shape but removing the motto for a simplified blue and yellow style, before it was changed once more at the start of one of Everton’s most famous seasons.
The 1983 to 1991 crest was further simplified, reverting to using the three club initials emblazed over a newly-designed Beacon and laurels.
In 1991, however, the club decided to return to the original Kelly design before adding the founding date for the 2000-2013 edition.
A Fan’s Crest
The 2013-2014 badge redesign saw a barrage of controversy. Thought to have been streamlined for ease of reproduction in the media, the new style removed the famous Everton motto and lead to 22,000 fans signing an online petition condemning the “awful” crest.
After the ruckus, Everton offered their loyal followers the chance to pick a new badge. Today, the Everton crest is a design chosen by fans. Three new crests were presented before a public vote, and the current crest came out as an overwhelming winner. It was formally introduced in July 2014.
The Symbolism Behind Everton’s Crest
Central to Everton FC’s famous crest is the magnificent tower or bacon emblazoned in the centre. The tower has stood on Everton brow since the 18th century and originally housed drunks and petty criminals overnight before they were taken before local trials.
Built in 1781, the building still stands in Everton park and is currently a Grade-II listed building. It’s one of only two such towers left in the city of Liverpool and remains a symbol of the area.
The beacon is known locally as Prince Rupert’s Tower, alluding to when Prince Rupert’s Royalist Army camped in the area overlooking Liverpool during the English Civil War. The young prince wouldn’t have see the beacon, however – it was built 143 years after his visit to Merseyside.
This season, Everton introduced a third shirt “inspired by the iconic Prince Rupert’s Tower which sits proudly on the Club’s crest”, with an abstract graphic across the crest said to be inspired by the landmark. Evertonians always state the importance of Prince Rupert’s Tower as a symbol of the Club.
Often overlooked next to the beacon, the two flanking laurels on the Everton FC crest represent victory and honor.
First seen in Greek mythology, where God of the Sun Apollo was often depicted wearing one, laurels were worn in ancient Greece on the head to symbolize victory in athletic competitions and artistic championships.
Although generally accepted to translate as ‘Nothing but the best is good enough’, the Everton Motto of ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’ can be translated in three possible ways. Fans can take their pick from: ‘Nothing will be sufficient except that which is the best’, ‘Nothing but the best is good enough’ or ‘Only the best will do’.
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