The Issues of Having a Star in the Aston Villa Badge
Last year, the club conducted a fan survey on the Aston Villa badge design, and this week they have released another survey, both asking whether a star should be included in the badge.
The star symbolises Aston Villa’s European Cup win in 1982, so it seems like a no-brainer that fans should say yes, right?
MOMS was around when Villa won the European Cup, and the star is also in the MOMS badge.
However, a year ago, the first consultation meeting on a potential new Aston Villa badge sparked an interesting debate among supporters regarding whether a star should be included in the Villa badge. This context should have been included in the club’s survey to help supporters make an informed decision and understand the consequences of having a star within the badge.
Before we delve into this context, it’s important to remember that stars can always be placed above or below a Villa badge on kits when Villa plays in Europe. The survey, unfortunately, didn’t present supporters with this alternative.
‘All these hypotheticals and potential embarrassing situations and conflicts can be avoided with a bit of common-sense forward planning.’
The Problem of Stars
Lack of Ambition
Including a star in the badge to commemorate the European Cup win of 1982 might suggest a lack of future ambition and convey the belief that such achievements will never happen again. A single European Cup win is a relatively small achievement compared to big clubs that regularly compete in the tournament. For instance, Real Madrid has won it 14 times, AC Milan seven times, and Liverpool and Bayern Munich have won it six times each. None of these clubs chooses to feature stars in their badges.
The European Champions League has also become a trophy that can seemingly be bought, as demonstrated by both Chelsea and Manchester City.
Villa’s current owners acquired the club with the Champions League in mind, so shouldn’t the club’s mentality be more forward-facing? It’s ironic that they desire a “forward-facing” lion while the badge seeks to define itself by a past event in 1982.
Small Time Self-Affirmation
Nottingham Forest, a club that has also fallen from the heights of success in the 1980s, features two stars in their badge to honor their two European Cup wins, which makes Villa’s badge appear inferior by default.
As of now, only Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest seem to be seeking to immortalize a sense of self-affirmation in their badges. Villa will always play second fiddle to Forest in terms of badges until they win the Champions League or European Cup again.
Another example is Huddersfield Town, which has three stars in its badge to symbolize the trio of league titles they won in the 1920s. If there’s a perfect example of a club stuck in the past with their badge, it’s Huddersfield.
Unnecessary Additional Costs
If the Villa owners get their wish and Villa wins the Champions League, then the badge would have only one star, and yes, it would need a rebrand. Let’s assume the cost is £12 million for a full rebrand, as estimated by Chris Heck. This would be unnecessary if there was no star in the badge to begin with. Additional stars can always be added to kits or buildings to symbolize trophy wins. So, why expose yourself to the potential of substantial additional costs?
The Big Aston Villa Women’s Question
Consider the dilemma MOMS discussed with former Villa CEO Christian Purslow in the final badge consultation meeting.
The women’s game has its own Champions League tournament, and if it is to be taken seriously in terms of equality, it should be honored accordingly. This was certainly the view put forward by Christian Purslow, and no doubt his successor will share the same perspective.
Currently, Aston Villa’s Women’s team plays with a badge on their shirts that represents a European Cup win, even though they haven’t won the trophy. That’s acceptable, as the badge surely represents the overall club, doesn’t it?
Given the fantastic progress the Aston Villa Women’s team has made, what happens if they win the Champions League in the near future? One could argue that it’s potentially more likely to happen with the women’s team than with the men’s team.
In that case, would Villa as a club be considered to have won it twice? Would the badge get a second star? This would indicate how seriously the club takes the Aston Villa Women’s team.
It would be no surprise if the club decided not to do anything and argued that both the men’s and women’s teams can fittingly wear the one-star badge to save face (and money).
However, things would get interesting if the Aston Villa Women’s team went on to win a second Champions League.
What would the club do then?
Purslow told MOMS that he would be happy to honor it and pay for a rebrand to add stars to the badge.
It’s easy to say, but the reality of the situation, as anyone with foresight can see, is that some sectors of the fanbase might oppose the idea of adding such achievements to the club’s badge, potentially driven by misogyny. Purslow declared it as a good problem to have, but ultimately someone has to pay for it, and Villa season ticket holders could potentially be impacted again.
If the Aston Villa Women’s team went on to win it a third time, then the idea of honoring Champions League wins within the badge quickly becomes a fool’s gold.
All these hypotheticals and potential embarrassing situations and conflicts can be avoided with a bit of common-sense forward planning.
So, why isn’t the club future-proofing the badge to avoid the inconvenience and cost of messing around with badge stars? Well, for starters, the commercial team doesn’t expect Villa to win any form of Champions League anytime soon.
This attitude would certainly be frowned upon by Wes Edens. The Villa co-owner famously had a meeting in 2014 with Milwaukee Bucks employees when he took over the basketball franchise. He told them that despite being a unfancied franchise their goal was to win an NBA Final.
“There’s no reason small market teams can’t win,” said Edens to his inherited Bucks staff. “And we unequivocally are going to win a championship here, and if you don’t think that’s a reasonable objective then you should quit right now.”
The Bucks achieved their first NBA Finals win in 50 years in 2021. There’s certainly something to be said for belief and a defined goal in sport.
So, let’s embrace the club’s ultimate aim to win the Champions League under Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, and in the process avoid the inconvenience and cost of tinkering with badge stars.