Sometimes less is more. You’ll find no exotic animalia as part of the Hammers’ badge, no conceptual callbacks to age-old traditions, no fancy Latin scrolls, crowns or roses – just the blunt-force connotations that come with a pair of crossed hammers.
But it’s not all scare tactics. There’s a practical reason behind the Hammers’ hammers and it has nothing to do with the name West Ham. The tools reflect the the club’s origins as amateur team Thames Ironworks, founded by members of a local shipyard.
The much-loved pre-present emblem had another intimidating feature: a castle, specifically, Boleyn Castle, a house that stood on the ground of their old stadium, the Boleyn Ground, also known as Upton Park. As well as celebrating the club’s history the castle and crossed hammers had the added bonus of painting a picture of West Ham United’s ground as an impenetrable fortress that few would voluntarily enter.
But times changes. The current sans-castle crest was chosen as part of a fan vote in 2014 and debuted in the 2016/17 season. The move to simplify West Ham United’s time-honoured insignia was not without controversy. Many Premier League clubs have faced similar distillation processes as the need for more branding-friendly badges intensifies but few clubs have fared as well as the Irons in coming through the other side. Theirs is a polished, recognisable and intimidating emblem.
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Written by Sean McGeady
Crests re-worked by Jon Barmby