The astute among you will have noticed that although the lion plays a ubiquitous role in English football – there are three lions on the shirt, as you well know – the animal is not native to our shores. It is so commonplace, however, that its presence goes unquestioned. The elephant, though, is far more conspicuous and its inclusion on the Sky Blues’ insignia demands interrogation.
Given that it is flanked by mythical creatures you might argue that the elephant in the room is the least interesting thing about this emblem. But we’d counter that the presence of the gryphon and phoenix is obvious; why wouldn’t you want your club to be represented by badass legendary birds? The appeal of the elephant is less clear. Sure, thick hides and prehensile trunks make for valuable assets on the pitch but would you really want your players to be represented by such a plodding and heavy beast?
Yes, as it turns out. According to legend elephants possess the power to kill a dragon; the creature is a symbol of local lad and prominent dragonslayer Saint George, which is thought to be the reason that the elephant appears on the city’s coat of arms, on which the club’s badge is based. Another explanation might be that the creature symbolises the strength of the city and therefore the club.
Coventry City F.C.’s players don’t possess perfect recall and their fire-fighting abilities and probably adequate at best but among the 47 other club crests showcased in this book theirs is unique – and unforgettable.
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Written by Sean McGeady