I wrote this for the original site but lost it after I had to switch hosts (along with the rest of the content). Luckily someone posted it to a forum so I’ve recovered it from there.


City of Leeds crest

The first Leeds United badge, which actually began life in 1908 – 11 years before the formation of the club we know and love today – was originally used by Leeds City FC. The team that preceeded Leeds United. It was based on the city of Leeds’ coat of arms. The badge features three owls and in some variations it includes the Latin motto ‘pro rege et lege’, which translates to ‘for the king and the law’. The Leeds United team colours, blue and yellow also come from the city of Leeds’ crest.

In 1965 came ‘The Owl’ badge, which was considered by some to be more representative of Sheffield Wednesday (known as The Owls) than Leeds United FC, despite the fact that three Owls feature on the city of Leeds’ crest. The badge would have donned the shirt of a little known youngster by the name of Billy Bremner.

In 1971, the Owl badge was ditched as the notoriously superstitious, Don Revie deemed birds to be bad luck. It was replaced with my personal favourite badge known as ‘the script’. It simply featured the letters ‘LUFC’ printed diagonally downwards to the right. It was simple, but incredibly stylish. It made a return in the mid-90’s and has since been inserted vertically downwards on the clubs shield. The script is also used horizontally across the back of the collar on the 09/10 home shirt by Macron.

The smiley

The smiley

1973 saw the first incarnation of the ‘smiley’ badge which would don the Leeds shirt in some form right uptil the 1981 season. It featured the letters ‘L’ and ‘U’ in bubble writing with the U sitting within the L. The original smiley had the lettering in blue with a yellow background. This was later inverted into yellow writing with a blue background, before a border was added with ‘Leeds United AFC’ written around it in 1977. The smiley remains a cult favourite amongst the Elland Road faithful and the club still offer ‘retro’ merchandise with the badge on.

The 1981 season brought us ‘The Peacock’ badge. Leeds United’s nickname at the time was ‘The Peacocks’ so it was apt that the badge should feature one. The badge was a blue and yellow circle with the clubs name encircling the outside. Within the name was a blue peacock on a yellow background. It wasn’t an overnight hit, but did grow on Leeds fans eventually. It served as the clubs badge from 1981-1984.


Rose & Ball

The Peacock was replaced with a badge that would serve us for the next fourteen years. Worn by Howard Wilkinson’s 1992 Championship winning side, the ‘Rose & Ball’ badge featured the white rose of Yorkshire wrapped in a blue border. Within the rose was a yellow and white football, with ‘Leeds United AFC’ encircling it across the roses petals. It remains one of the most identifiable Leeds badges to date.

In 1998 amidst our ‘living the dream’ era, Peter “fish-loving freak” Ridsdale commisioned a new badge for the club to signify our rise into Europe. The original shield badge featured the Yorkshire rose at the top, which was later replaced to include the rose & ball design from our previous badge. It also features the script logo running vertically down the centre. Despite having served the club for over a decade now, the badge is still critisised by many who feel it lacks history and carries with it the memories of the Ridsdale regime

7 Responses

  1. Scarboro Jack

    The shield badge of the ridsdale era was actually designed by Howard Wilkinson’s son.
    It nods to the previous 14 years and in featuring the script to some of our glory days.
    I have grown used to it, it has a european feel about it and badge tampering leaves many tattoo’s a little sad

  2. Anon

    A very interesting write up once again TSS, your historical knowledge of LUFC is to be commended. However, just one thing spoils the piece, along with others on various forums that drive me mad, and when I tell you, people will be saying of me sad b*****d get a life, but here goes.When you want to say ‘AN’ history of Leeds United badges, it should really read ‘A’ history…..,’An’ should only be used in front of a vowel, AEIOU. An Elephant, an apple etc. Sorry for school teacher s**t but I hate to see a brilliant write up spoiled. There, got it off my chest, I am off to do some brass rubbings!

    • TSS

      Haha, I should have known that given my background but made the mistake and have changed it just for you.

      Really doesn’t sound right that way though for some reason.

  3. Craig

    In the author’s defence, there are occasions when ‘an’ precedes a word beginning with ‘H’, but only when the ‘H’ is silent – an heir, for example. So if you pronounce “history” as “‘istory” it would be correct. Is the author a cockney!

    • Anon

      Correct Craig, Why do I get the feeling this site is full of interllects. Thanks TSS for changing it, sir you are a gent.

  4. metal badges

    You share here very nice article. It is really good for the people and also for me to know about the history of Leeds united badges. Badges are most important things that useful for provide basic information of you to the people.

  5. Clare

    I have a silver pendent of the original coat of arms for leeds city anyone know good sites or where to get a valuation


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