Sheffield Wednesday badge: The origins of the current crest

It has been announced that from next season, Sheffield Wednesday's shirts will no longer feature the iconic stylised Owl.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 24th January 2016, 8:05 pm
Updated Monday, 1st February 2016, 4:04 pm
Student Robert Walker, pictured in May 1973, after winning a competition to design a new club crest for Sheffield Wednesday

Club owner Dejphon Chansiri has made the decision to change the club's crest and has gone back to a traditional badge, first used back in the 1950s.

It will take some getting used to for Sheffield Wednesday fans. For years, the unique Owl branding has been eye-catching, synonymous with Wednesday and has stood the test of time. .

From The Star, May 18, 1973. Alan Thompson models the Wednesday strip with the new motif, alongside designer Robert Walker

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But where did it come from?

Back in 1973 Wednesday bosses decided to come up with a simplified crest to protect the club's copyright and so organised a competition to find a new badge.


The new crest (right) will replace the stylised owl

In May that year the winner was announced, with 19 year-old Rotherham advertising design student Robert Walker coming up with what would become one of European football's most recognisable crests.

Named Ozzie, Robert said of the design, in The Star on May 18, 1973: "I think Ozzie has both an aggressive and defensive look about him. But he's also a pretty wise looking bird. I hope he brings Wednesday lots of luck."

Then general manager, Eric Taylor, explained the forward-thinking reasoning behind the change.

"Ozzie is now well ahead of his time. He will still be popular in 1983 and he will be alive and flying in 1993," Mr Taylor told The Star. "We decided to get rid of the club crest and produce a new symbol which we could then copyright.

From The Star, May 18, 1973. Alan Thompson models the Wednesday strip with the new motif, alongside designer Robert Walker

"This is a move which other clubs have made to beat the pirates who constantly use football club badges for their own gain without permission. There is a growing tendency for soccer clubs to protect its own commercial interests and this is one positive way of doing that."

The design remained as the official crest in its original form until 1984 when it was given a yellow outline and became blue before being scrapped in 1995 for a four-year spell, with the club going back to a more modern version of the first badge.

However, in 1999 Ozzie returned with a reboot, contained inside a crest and perched above 'Est 1867' in reference to the year of the club's formation.

And that is how it remained and will so, until the phasing in of the new crest begins this year, with next season's kit set to feature the 'new' design.

The new crest (right) will replace the stylised owl