It’s often said that non-league is the true heart of British football. The heart of a packet-per-day smoker with shares in the burger van, perhaps, but something to be treasured for representing the spirit of the game. No millionaires, no undersoil heating – no heating at all, in fact. This is football.
And the participation of non-league teams is what makes the FA Cup so great. No fewer than 736 (seven hundred and thirty-six!) clubs entered this year’s competition. In Italy, a mere 78 teams compete with each other for the honour of reaching the last 16 – where the eight best teams in Serie A drop in to make up half of the draw, just four wins away from lifting a major trophy. Well, yah boo sucks to you, Italy.
In the September 2015 issue of FourFourTwo, currently on sale in print and digital formats, we presented some of the finest club names from the preliminary rounds of the 2015/16 FA Cup, from the sacrilegious-sounding Penistone Church to the Royal Ascot-winning racehorse, Continental Star.
But we overlooked the hard work these madly-monikered clubs have to put in to every facet of a club – the same as any Premier League club, but without their moolah. Romulus FC don’t have thousands of pounds to throw at a graphic designer. Which is why we end up with utterly fantastic club crests such as these. All of these designs will be present in the FA Cup Preliminary Round; all of them have our full support.
They say that if you look into a mirror and say F.C. Beaconsfield SYCOB backwards three times, the world’s angriest sheep appears to make you immediately regret the decision. Seriously, what did somebody DO to this sheep? Is Beaconsfield a haven for terrifying farm animals?
Well, how else would you pay homage to the creator of Rome? Google Translate tells us the Latin motto beneath their mildly annoyed centurion means ‘I am quite certain’, which happens to be the same phrase uttered by Romulus’s director when the artist asked: “Are you sure this is what you want?”
They told him that he’d never find a business willing to take his drawings of reclining women with giant hammers growing out of their breasts, but damn it, they were wrong.
“Carl, Harrogate just called. We need to give them the new club logo by 5pm.”
“But it’s 4:30pm now! Fine... what do they want on it?”
“They’re called Harrogate Railway, so a train would be good.”
“I can’t draw trains. They’re really hard.”
“Fine, just draw what you can.”
When your club’s name belongs in old forms of Pro Evo alongside West Midlands Village, you might as well go the whole hog and make sure the club’s badge belongs there, too. This shield could represent any club – OK, any club wearing those colours – so thank heavens their name is emblazoned across it to help out.
It takes guts to make a football club crest that doubles up as a Rorschach test, but Fakenham aren’t fakers. FourFourTwo is pretty convinced this is a humanised tongue decapitating itself with a rolling pin that has been sharpened at one end. Or it could be a butterfly.
“Carl? Aylesbury called, they need a new club logo. They want a standard crest – shield shape, black-and-white-hexagoned football, the works – but with a mole on it. They’re nicknamed the Moles.”
“I can’t really draw moles, either. How about a swan doing keepy-uppies while being throttled by a crown?”
“It seems improbable that you can draw that and not a mole, but sure, go ahead.”
Cockfosters: not a fried chicken outlet, but a football club seemingly inspired by university IMG teams.
“Sadly, the Comrades couldn’t match their opponents’ aggression and slipped to another 18-0 defeat, but as we always say on these pages, it’s the taking part that counts...”
When crests incorporate several letters into one, the results can be fantastic: just look at Rangers, Internazionale or New York City FC. Seamlessly merging an H, a T, an F and a C into one shape without it being a confusing amorphous blob is ambitious, however, as Horley Town found.
“Welcome to Kirby Muxloe. Please drive carefully. Cheesemonger, 200yds.”
West Auckland Town
Their nickname – ‘West’ – may lack flair, but the badge doesn’t. They’re proud of winning the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy (“the first World Cup”) in 1909 and 1911; so proud, in fact, they drew a facsimile of the trophy, nicked two gold stars from a primary school and gave the cup’s name prominence over the actual team.
“Carl? Got another club on the line. They’re called Coalville Town, they’re nicknamed the Ravens and they want a new badge design by tomorrow. Fire up Photoshop!”
“Our Photoshop licence expired last week.”
“Well, what have we got?”
“MS Paint and WordArt.”
AHHHH! KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT! OH GOD IT’S ON MY FACE! SOMEBODY HEL...
There’s no shortage of non-league clubs flagrantly passing themselves off as someone more successful, only changing the name on the badge. We won’t name and shame them here. But, Dunkirk, designing this, calling yourself the Boatmen and taking credit for military history’s most heroic evacuation when you’re a residential area in landlocked Nottingham is beyond the pale, really.
It’s been a while since FFT went fishing but we don’t remember our prey being circus animals. Shows what we know. Pickering Town pick a pair of pikes to jump through some popstars’ earrings to challenge for a high ball beneath a castle. Fittingly, the Pikes will face Marine if they win their next qualifier.
“Come on, Carl, it’s like you’re not even trying anymore.”
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