St Leonards F.C.
The final crest of the now defunct St Leonards FC (right) was introduced in 1998, but to understand the history and development of the crests used by the club over the years, it is also necessary to explain part of the club's history.
Formed in 1971 as a works team, Stamco FC played its home matches at Pannel Lane, in the small village of Pett (some six miles away from St Leonards-on-Sea). Stamco [Sussex Timber and Moulding Company] was (and is) a timber merchant based in St Leonards.
The club's first crest consisted of an oak tree (representing the fact that Stamco was a timber merchant) above the words, 'Stamco Football Club'. A football marked the sport played by the club while the crest was normally seen in the club's initial home colours of light blue white. This crest was used in various formats (some of which also showed the club's formation year).
Success on the pitch meant that to progress through the leagues, St Leonards FC had to find a more appropriate stadium in which to play its home fixtures. Therefore, in 1993, the club moved to 'The Firs', a ground that between 1948-1985 had been used by Hastings Town FC. Continuing to play as Stamco FC, the club was now based just a couple of miles from St Leonards and attracting larger crowds all the time. The tree shown on the club crest was not, however, changed from an oak to a fir, as many supporters thought.
Ironically, while playing at 'The Firs' themselves, Hastings Town FC (now Hastings United FC) had used the image of a number of fir trees as its crest, although on returning to its old home, 'The Pilot Field', that club decided the town crest (of Hastings) itself would be a more suitable image.
Stamco FC continued to enjoy much success on the field of play and by finishing second in the Sussex County League in 1995/96, the club earned itself a place in the Dr. Martens (Southern) League. To be admitted, however, league officials were insistent that the club name should contain its location. At the same time, local businessman and National Lottery jackpot winner, Mark Gardiner, joined forces with Stamco's chairman, Leon Sheppardson (also chairman of Stamco Timber) at the helm of the club. A new club name, St Leonards Stamcroft FC, was chosen. This satisfied Dr. Martens League requirements and at the same time marked the financial input of Mark Gardiner (whose local business was called 'Croft Glass').
Two years later, in 1998, with Mark Gardiner having left the club some time earlier, Leon Sheppardson decided to step down as club chairman. Having lost the services of not one, but two millionaires, the 1998/99 season marked the beginning of a new era for the club. A further name change took place, this time to 'St Leonards FC' with a new crest for the club quickly following.
While the crest chosen (top right) may have been new to St Leonards FC in 1998, the image - a fouled anchor on a shield - was one that was already familiar locally. The town of St Leonards-on-Sea had been created during the 1820s by James Burton as a new seaside resort and for many years was known as 'Burton St Leonards'. It is believed that the fouled anchor image was created by either James Burton, or his son, Decimus. Today, it can still be seen at various locations around St Leonards, including on the old toll-gate archway by North Lodge on Upper Maze Hill (twice) and the Clock House on Maze Hill.
Interestingly, when used as the St Leonards FC crest, the rope and anchor appear to be spelling out the initials 'STL' (St Leonards). This is believed, however, to be mere coincidence as the three examples of original image mentioned above all have the rope fouling the anchor in different (and unique) ways.
The background colours - light blue and dark blue - were added by club officials to represent both the original final home club colours and the sky sea (that look so impressive from 'The Firs' on a clear day).
Thanks to Mark Barfoot (Committee Member),Peter High (Secretary) and Barbara High (Committee Member), Secretary at St Leonards FC, for the above crests and information.