Charlton Athletic F.C.
As is the case with many clubs, Charlton Athletic FC has used a number of crests / badges over the years, although the current design has not now been altered since 1968.
Back during the 1930s, the first known Charlton crest displayed the letters 'CAF'. Cleverly, its shape was that of a 'club' (from a pack of playing cards) hence the missing letter 'C'.
After the second world war, a new design was adopted showing a robin sitting on a football, in the centre of a quartered shield. A number of variations of this crest emerged, but the most famous included the letters 'CAFC' in the shield's four quarters and was used on the team shirts worn in the 1946 (but old photos reveal not the 1947) FA Cup Final. This design has recently been reused on some historic merchandise, but oddly with the robin facing the other way around (the original robin looked to the left).
For a brief period during the late 1940s and early 1950s, the club also seem to have adopted the crest of the former metropolitan borough of Greenwich (pre the 1964/65 reform of local government) although this was never to appear on the team shirts.
In 1963, club officials held a competition for the design of a new club crest / badge. The winning entry - showing a hand holding a sword - went on to become the first version of the current club crest.
Following a fanzine article in 1998, it was widely believed that this design had been based on a "Spencer-Percival" family crest. This turned out not to be the case, however, with the article having been a hoax.
It was also at this time that Charlton Athletic adopted the nickname of 'The Valiants' - linking where the club played (The Valley) to the new club crest. Other nicknames considered at the time included 'The Crusaders', 'The Rockets' and 'The Red Devils'.
In this time of change, even the song used to welcome the team on to the pitch at The Valley changed from 'Red Red Robin' to 'Old Father Thames'. This was a change too far, however, proving to be unpopular with supporters and players alike. 'Red Red Robin' was reinstated after just a few matches.
After numerous alterations, including the addition of the surrounding ring and club name, the crest as it is known today was first used for a match against near-neighbours, Millwall FC, on 10 August 1968 (although for several years the official club handbook continued with its own version of the crest until it too adopted the current design at the beginning of the 1975/76 season).
During the 1970s the sword and hand crest was, in fact, dropped altogether with just the letters 'CAFC' appearing on the club shirts. This rather anonymous design was short-lived, however, paving the way for the previous (and now current) design to return.
While the sword and hand image has now been used by Charlton Athletic for nearly 40 years, the nickname that arrived with it, has been superseded by the more popular 'The Addicks'. This 'new' nickname is not so new, however, having first been used for the club (it is believed) as early as 1908.
On 1st April 2002, Charlton Athletic ran a full-page article in its match-day programme stating that the local council had questioned whether the image of a sword on the club crest was still an appropriate symbol to use for a 'friendly' club. The article went on asking supporters to vote online, stating their choice for a new club crest from three alternatives (shown below). While the first was clearly very similar to the new Fulham FC crest, options two and three were variations on the current crest design, taking into account two of the club's nicknames ('The Addicks' and 'The Robins').
Many fans were seen debating the new crests before, during and after the match against Arsenal and well over 300 voted online for their favourite. Hundreds more supporters rang or emailed the club to complain about the forthcoming change. What they should, of course, have all realised was that it was April Fools' Day!
Thanks to Emma Tedman (Publications Officer) and Colin Cameron (Club Historian) at Charlton Athletic FC, for the above crests and information. (Additional information from 'Goodbye Horse' fanzine by kind permission of Kevin Portch.)