The Beautiful Badge


Published in the match day programme: Bradford City v Oxford United, 24-Nov-18

Your chance to win a copy of The Beautiful Badge: The Stories Behind the Football Club Badge by Martyn Routledge and Elspeth Wills (Pitch Publishing, 2018)


If anyone is looking for a Christmas gift to satisfy a hard to please football supporter, look no further than this book that combines outstanding design with an authoritative narrative. Never before has there been a book to explain the origins of British football club badges.
As a child I had the 1971/72 Batholomews Football map of Great Britain on my bedroom wall that was illustrated with club crests as well as team strips – badges of Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue as shown below. Nothing better gave me a basic knowledge of British geography and civic crests. Nowadays club crests are visible on an almost daily basis, thanks to a large degree to digital design and the internet but they were not always so commonplace. In the main they tended to be confined to boys’ comics and it was otherwise rare to see a compilation of crests.

The Beautiful Badge is a true indulgence that allows comparison of badges not only from different clubs but from different eras. What is so enjoyable about the book is that it has extensive coverage of early club badges dating back to the pre-World War One era and there is a treasure trove of artefacts and illustrations. Bradford City supporters will be satisfied that the club is well-represented and indeed there is a good share of graphics relating to the Bantams / Paraders.

The history of changes to the Bradford City crest is pretty much consistent with what has happened at other clubs, alternating variously between a civic crest themed badge, monograms, an identity based around a creature (ie bantam) and the adoption of a character (ie City Gent). All of these developments are tracked in The Beautiful Badge.

The book is based on the research undertaken by Routledge for an undergraduate dissertation and around twenty years ago I provided him with some background about the various crests that have been adopted by Bradford City AFC. I have also assisted him with the production of this book, providing detail about Bradford City as well as my involvement with the rebadging of Scunthorpe United in 1981. Indeed I was the man responsible for the design of that club’s ‘Unity fist’ badge having entered a competition advertised in the Scunthorpe v City programme in October that year.

If I had to recommend a football book as a special Christmas gift, this would be it. Readers have a unique chance to win a copy of The Beautiful Badge by answering the following question: In which year was the current Bradford City crest introduced?

Send your answer to Badge Competition, c/o Bantamspast PO Box 307, SHIPLEY BD18 9BT

The winning entry will be selected at random on 30th November and the winner contacted.


John Dewhirst

John’s book A HISTORY OF BCAFC IN OBJECTS (vol 1 in the BANTAMSPAST HISTORY REVISITED series) provides background about City memorabilia. In future issues of The Parader he will feature objects that tell the history of the club. If you have a City artefact in your possession that you would like him to feature in the programme contact him at johnpdewhirst at gmail dot com or tweets @jpdewhirst
John has written widely about the history of sport in Bradford: Links to his features on the history of Bradford sport where you will find features about the history of BCAFC badges.

Elsewhere on this blog you can find his programme articles from earlier games this season and last.


Details here about the new bantamspast History Revisited book by Jason McKeown and other volumes in the same series: BANTAMSPAST HISTORY REVISITED BOOKS


Discover more about Bradford football history at