FC Leeds City, formed in 1904, is the progenitor of the Leeds United football club. However, after the First World War, financial troubles led to the fact that the team was expelled from England’s football league. Having lost their favorites, the fans of Leeds City founded a new club in 1919, which was named Leeds United.
In 1920, Leeds United joined the Football League and debuted in the Second Division in August. After spending four seasons in the Second Division, the club climbed to the First Division in 1924.
The meaning of “Whites,” one of the team’s nicknames, is quite understandable – it was created according to the uniform color. But how Leeds got the white uniform? Back in the ’60s, the great Don Revie decided to change the club’s colors from the traditional yellow-blue ones to an entirely white set. It is considered that the coach was a big fan of the game of Real Madrid those years that significantly inspired him. The new color was not taken seriously either for a long time, but history put everything in its place, and now we know Leeds under the nickname “White” but not “Yellow-blue.”
Another nickname, “Peacocks,” was created due to the old stadium “Old Peacock Ground.” Now there is a pub “The Old Peacock” near the Elland Road where Leeds fans traditionally gather.
Meaning and History
For almost one hundred years of existence, the “United” has changed approximately ten various emblems. Fans of the Yorkshire club saw everything: owls (a tribute to the coat of arms of the city), peacocks (a reference to the club nickname), emoticons (greetings to the minimalism of the ’70s), roses (Yorkshire white, of course!) and even just an inscription L.U.F.C, made in an intricate font. So let’s consider each variant of the logo!
- Leeds City Crest (1908 – 1960)
This is the first Leeds’ logo that appeared on the T-shirts of Leeds City in 1908. In 1919, after the disbanding of the “town people,” it moved on to the newly formed United and was actual until 1960. The logo virtually represents the city’s coat of arms. It is created in blue-gold colors, which are considered to be traditional ones for Leeds. The inscription in Latin “Pro Rege et Lege” means “For the King and the Law.” It is quite curious that in the first half of the 20th century, Leeds’ common nickname, along with Sheffield Wednesday, was “owls,” although the team from Sheffield had the emblem with this bird only in 1956.
- Owl (1965 – 1972)
The second emblem of our club. It replaced the coat of arms of the city, which had been used as the logo for more than half a century. It continues the “owlish” traditions. This emblem coincided in time with the Leeds’ white uniform’s appearance and lasted for eight seasons. Later it was removed at the request of Don Revie, who believed that the bird brings failure to the team.
- Script (1972 – 1973)
This is the third logo in the history of Leeds. It is one of the most beloved emblems among fans. Simple, but brilliant inscription LUFC (Leeds United Football Club) is created in a diagonal style. This version of the logo existed only for two years.
- Smiley (1973 – 1976)
This logo embodies everything you need to know about the ’70s. According to the designer’s concept, it was supposed to be a yellow soccer ball with the letters L (Leeds) and U (United). As a result, these items weren’t added because it is quite complicated to read. But almost all at once and without any troubles, it is easy to recognize a smiling face in this logo. It should be mentioned that this is the most favorite emblem of experienced fans.
- Inverted Smiley (1976 – 1977)
The original Smiley designer tried to correct his mistake by unfolding the previous logo by 45 degrees and repainting it in blue color, which is considered to be less friendly. He did not succeed because this version lasted only one season.
- Bordered Smiley (1977 – 1981)
After the unsuccessful fifth option, it was decided to return the classic yellow Smiley, which is believed to be the club’s favorite logo. Designers more clearly designated the club’s affiliation with the emblem with blue edging and the club’s name.
- Peacock (1981 – 1984)
Curiously, there were ten versions of the logo in the history of peacocks, but only one of them had the image of this proud bird. The emblem was intended to emphasize the finally established club’s nickname. The main ideas of the logo: a round shape, a blue stroke with the name of the club, and a yellow smiley in the center.
- Rose And Ball (1984 – 1998)
This is classic: a white Yorkshire rose, a ball of white and yellow colors, and a blue stroke. This is the first emblem of the club, in which white is the dominant color.
- European Shield (1998 – 1999)
The fan’s favorite emblem with a rose and a ball was changed by Peter Ridsdale, who had a target to create a more modern logo to expand the club to European football markets. This version existed only for a season, and then it was finalized and renewed.
- The Rose And Ball Shield (1999 – 2018)
The only difference is the image of the rose, which was borrowed from the eighth variant of the logo from the previous version. Nowadays, Leeds performs with this emblem, too. However, periodically there were rumors about another redesign. For example, in 2015, it was said that Massimo Cellino had such plans. The new emblem (a blue shield with the large white Yorkshire rose and a horizontal signature LUFC in a classic font) seemed to be ready. It was even merged into the Internet and also appeared on the official players’ uniform, but with the change of the club’s owner, these plans were probably postponed.
- New logo
January 24, 2018, Leeds United, who was taking part in the Championship, decided to please the fans with a new club emblem. White, yellow, and blue – the club colors are observed, no one is ignored. The contour has an appropriate shape. The text “LEEDS UNITED” is located at the top of the logo. And finally, designers added a headless man, who was beating himself with the right hand in the chest, showing a characteristic gesture. Who is he? It turned out that it was an infelicitous idea for the club’s 100th anniversary, and the fans expected to see something another, too.
It is not the kind of designer’s weird fantasy. This gesture has a history. The move of beating themselves in a chest is called Leeds Salute and quite popular among the club’s fans. Like many other things that emerged from the people, the history of its appearance is unknown; there are only hypotheses. So, somewhere until the late ’80s, the gesture of beating in the chest remained an exclusive schtick of the Leeds fans. In this way, they could recognize their people in other cities in the days of away matches. Only in 1987, this movement became public, and football players started performing this during the celebration of the goals, emphasizing the special connection with the fans. Glyn Snodin, Winnie Jones, and Chris Kamara were the first players who tried this gesture during the game, and after this, it became the real schtick of the Leeds’ fans. It has never become too poppy and has always been a symbol of the fan base’s special Yorkshire unity and the team.
After the hype about the new Leeds logo, the management decided to create a new logo in honor of 100 years of the club’s existence.