By Tony Attwood
There was a brief discussion on Untold about the club badge recently. I thought I might update the issue, and indeed add something about the club motto – just in case it is of interest.
Below is a statement issued by the Club when the crest was introduced in 2002, and below that is a piece about the club motto.
This is what the club said about the club crest…
The decision to create the new crest was two-fold. Principally, as the current crest incorporates many separate elements, which have been introduced over a number of years, there is uncertainty surrounding its exact origination. As a consequence the elub is unable to copyright this crest.
Secondly, it has always been one of the Club’s primary objectives to embrace the future and move forward. With a new stadium on the horizon and the Gunners consistently challenging for domestic and European honours, it is the ideal time to introduce a new crest.
Prior to the design process, the Club consulted a cross section of key individuals and organisations, including supporters, to ascertain their views on Arsenal’s brand values. Those interviewed believed that Arsenal is very much an institution that combines the traditions of the past with a visionary outlook on the future. These attributes have enabled the Club to naturally evolve the present day crest by retaining both the shield and the cannon, as well as adapting it into a more modern, European style.
We are however aware of our fans feelings but would like to stress that we are now in 21st Century aiming to be Champions of Europe and felt it was an appropriate time for a change.
So that deals with the crest. But what about the club’s motto: Victoria Concordia Crescit – normally translated as Victory Through Harmony.
This topic crops up in the booklet “Arsenal After Chapman” which the Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn is publishing in a couple of weeks.
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The book, perhaps for the first time in a modern publication, tells the detailed story of George Allison from his days as a Fleet Street journalist who wrote the club programme for Woolwich Arsenal to his time as manager of the club.
Chapman’s vision of Arsenal’s place in society was allied to that of Henry Norris, the owner and chairman, such that by the time Woolwich Arsenal moved to Highbury for the start of the 1913/4 season we find the match day programme doubled in size to 16 pages, with the publication edited by George Allison, using the name “Gunners’ Mate” as he had done from the start.
Furthermore, as Andy Kelly noted in an article on the Arsenal History Society website, the programme notes for the game against Hull City on 20 September 1913 were very upbeat (as one might expect, given the extraordinarily successful launch of the club into North London a few weeks before).
So much so that in one article the success of the club is attributed to the “concord” within the club and the Latin motto “Victoria Concordia Crescit” was mentioned for the first time.
Although the article is signed by “The Directors” and was undoubtedly written by Henry Norris (who had had a regular column in the Fulham local papers prior to the move of Arsenal and always saw himself as something of a journalist) it is more than likely that this particular turn of phrase was introduced to the chairman by the more reflective and more widely read George Allison.
Latin was, after all, never Norris’ style.
Thus there we have it – a thoroughly 21st club crest, but a club motto dating from 101 years ago. Personally I think that balance works rather well.