The return of the Liver-Bird?

Posted by John Devlin

You may remember an article I posted some time ago about the coincidence of Liverpool’s lack of league success and the omission of the classic Liver-Bird badge on their kits.

You can read the article here: www.truecoloursfootballkits.com/articles/liverpools-league-failures-%E2%80%93-all-down-to-the-badge

I had a good response to the post with many Liverpool fans agreeing with my view that the Liver-Bird should return.

Well according to the excellent www.footballshirtculture.com site it seems that the club are attempting to trademark the Liver-Bird logo, see: www.footballshirtculture.com/200811191946/history/liverpool-want-to-trademark-the-liver-bird.html

Hmmm…I’m not positive, but this indicates to me that we might just see that iconic part of Liverpool’s history back on the team kit for 09–10…


23 Responses to “The return of the Liver-Bird?”

  1. Denis Hurley Says:

    My first reaction too when I read it on FSC today!

  2. Chris Oakley Says:

    I’d love to see the original liver bird bage return to Liverpool’s shirts, but it sounds like Liverpool City Council may put a spanner in the works before that happens.

    Not only that but Liverpool FC themselves have changed the badge a lot in recent years so I’d have thought they’d keep things just as they are for now.

    We shall see…

  3. Rich Johnson Says:

    Hmmm…can’t help but feel slightly cynical about this. I get the feeling this has nothing more than money at heart with no great inclination towards restoring the Liver Bird to prominence (something I too have longed for and mentioned elsewhere on here) at all. In terms of what they’re actually trying to do, I can’t help feeling very uncomfortable. The Liver Bird symbol belongs to the city of Liverpool and was around long before the club. To try and trademark this for financial gain seems indicative of a club, far from embracing its heritage, determined to profit by stealing from the town of its birth.

  4. John Devlin Says:

    You may have a point there Rich. Interestingly enough if you Google ‘Liverpool’ the football club comes 2nd (after the Premier League site) with other tourist/council sites following so (playing devil’s advocate) it could be argued that the club has a higher profile than the city itself now! That might be the angle the club are taking, I don’t know. Its an interesting situation.
    I know Denis, you would have noticed this as well, that the Liver-Bird has been eased into the design of the new LFC kits this season. I think they are introducing it gradually and that the next home kit will feature it as the club crest.

  5. Rich Johnson Says:

    I dearly hope so.
    In terms of the club being bigger than the city itself, that’s probably true and certainly on an international level, one could argue that most people have heard of Liverpool via the football club. I guess I feel so uncomfortable with it as it just feels as though it’s being done with no love for the city itself…or even for the clubs own heritage. If it felt like the club were doing this because they were hugely proud of their emblem then I’d have more faith. As it is, I believe this is most likely not the case and that this is being done purely (as stated) as a means to hold onto revenue. One also can’t help but feel that any reintroduction of the iconic bird will have come from a marketing and branding exercise rather, again, than from any appreciation of their own history.

  6. Mike Brady Says:

    Rich, perhaps it can be both a marketing exercise AND an appreciation of the club’s history? If LFC can get control of its own distinctive interpretation of the Liverbird and market it worldwide to gain revenue, this can only be a good thing for the presitge of the club and the city.

  7. Rich Johnson Says:

    True, it could well be. As I say though, I can’t help feeling cynical that any nod to the club’s history is purely driven by ‘marketing opportunities’.
    Anyway, cynicism aside, it’ll be interesting to see if they’re trying to copyright the actual Liver Bird itself (in any configuration) or, as you say, just their own interpretation. I have no issue with them trying to copyright the exact symbol they use, however, if they’re trying to copyright the object (so they could use it in any form) then I’d say that’s a tad greedy.

  8. Mike Brady Says:

    I’m convinced we will have a prominent Liver bird crest on the kit again soon, like our glory years of the 70s and 80s.
    I think LFC will get the decision as we are entitled to it and it should help us compete with the likes of Man U in terms of revenue generating opportunities.
    The Liver bird is a stronger brand on its own, which is why we are slowly seeing it being hrought back onto official club merchandise.
    The current Spurs badge is an example of how you can ditch an overly complicated crest and use something simple, elegant and in a single colour.

  9. Rich Johnson Says:

    Entitled to it in what sense? What I mean is, are you saying that LFC are entitled to hold copyright on an image that the rest of the city has used for years? And in the sense that Liverpool City Council could end up having to license the image from LFC? (NB, not arguing, just seeking clarification).
    Also Mike, you made a very interesting point about competing with the likes of Man U…I’d say that Man U have built their brand on the concept of the club, its success and to some degree its star players (Beckham being a case in point). I don’t feel their badge has contributed much to this (the red devil symbol is not massively prominent and is not an instantly recognisable symbol worldwide). The Man U brand is the club itself and the same is true of Chelsea. To this end, the Liver Bird, being such a strong symbol, could give Liverpool that edge over the others in that it would posess an instantly strong brand symbol (akin to the golden arches and the nike swoosh).
    Next question is…should they have the bird on its own or with the simple shield it had in the late 80s?

  10. Mike Brady Says:

    Good question, I personally prefer the Liver bird on its own, although the 80’s shield design was pretty stylish.

  11. John Devlin Says:

    I’m for the Liver-bird on its own – although the shield was the official club crest at the time, I always thought it was unnecessary when it was added to the shirt in 87.

  12. Rich Johnson Says:

    I know this almost goes against sense, but I really like the shield. Just feel the bird on its own seems almost lost…like it needs framing…sort of ‘HERE IS THE BIRD!’
    Either way, to see it return to prominence in any form would be brilliant!
    Then we just need to get Crown Paints away from Blackburn ;-)

  13. John Devlin Says:

    Get Crown Paints back from Blackburn!? Rich, you’re taking this retro thing too far, you’ll be wanting Ronnie Rosenthal back next!

  14. Rich Johnson Says:

    LOL! Yeah maybe you have a point there!

  15. amir Says:

    Can’t see how you can copyright all liver birds; surely if they tried Liverpool would end up paying someone else to use the image anyway as someone must have registered a version of the bird as their own.

    If you want a guide to council v club image rights look at want happened to Wigan and Fulham.

  16. amir Says:

    Taking on Rich’s points about the worldwide branding of clubs, I feel that copyrighting the liver bird will do very little in extending the ‘reach’ of LFC(which I feel is what part of the aim is)

    This may be hard to hear but I feel that Liverpool have fallen behind Arsenal, Chelsea and ManU commercially because the upstairs management is not up to the standard Liverpool should expect.

  17. John Devlin Says:

    I read in the Guardian on Saturday that the club have withdrawn their trademark registration request.

  18. Rich Johnson Says:

    Did they mention why?

  19. amir Says:

    I think the slow realisation that it was leading them down a dead end and bad PR finally dawned on them.

  20. Mike Brady Says:

    John, it would be interesting to study how the crest has evolved over the years. A massive range of designs seem to have been used, with sometimes a different “official” club crest to the one used on the shirt. I have noticed that LFC had a badge in the 50s/60s which looked a bit like the current Man U one, featuring a Liver bird with no wings, and this was on all the matchday programmes and club stationary. However the traditional raised wing Liver bird/LFC lettering featured on the shirts. If my memory is correct, the club introduced the shield design in the early 70s which sort of evolved over the years into a quite smart looking one, again for things like programmes and merchandise rather than the jersey. Then, in the 92/93 centenary season, the terrible mish-mash crest was adopted (although the commemoration of Hillsborough was understandable) This has evolved a couple of times into the current disaster.

    Even now outside Anfield you seen different sorts of Liver birds on railings, the Hillsborough memorial, gates etc. The “This is Anfield” sign has also been changed in recent seasons. No wonder the club is keen to get some consistency

  21. bako Says:

    sod liverpool city council, its was the club that helped put liverpool back on the map!in the eighties as the council were robbing the cities folk of their hard earned money LFC were plodding on representing the city in good stead giving the red half of the city some hope in times of their council inflicted hardness. besides it was LFC that first used the famous LFC version of the liverbird back in the fifties as the council were still using a logo with a liverbird that resembled a duck. you can still see this duck on buildings and old memorabilia around the city. the thing is it was LFC with the raised wing liverbird version that took this design and made it world famous as liverpool represented the city with its football in the glory years. nowadays people have to look twice to see if its liverpool where as before the christmas sticker logo to place the red shirts were easily recognisable as those from LFC. the council should grant liverpool football club the crest and thank them for the infimaty and honour it has given the city as an act of thankfullness just like they raise the profile of the beatles all the time,..nuff said-

  22. Andrew Rockall Says:

    Well today sees the unveiling of the 2010/11 home kit and still we have the same cluttered badge. I understand the significance for the Hillsborough victims but prefer to see the Liver Bird

  23. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Andrew – I feel exactly the same way. I was really disappointed to see the current badge on the shirt, it seems to look worse every season. Its so out of date and does nothing to inspire the club.

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