And now, a starting XI of the worst logos in the history of the world. AS BARI Having been in business for a hundred years playing against some of the most famous and beloved clubs in the world, Bari has stuck with this misfire for literally decades. Yes, by now it's unmistakably recognizable, and pretty much one-of-a-kind. So is Huntington's disease. When the silly 70's lower-case groovy font is the best thing about your crest, something is horribly amiss. In the words of Michael Bluth, has anyone in this club ever actually seen a chicken?
An example of me judging books by covers. I would have bet real cash dollar money that this was an apartheid-era white supremacist Afrikaner team, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Although even in context, the Irish name and the white fist on the logo is just weird. Combine that with the contrast to the Jomo Cosmos logo - a happy little thumbs up - and what was one to think? At least the Boston Celtics leprechaun is cute. It's still a hideous logo, and it's inappropriate as well. The only part of association football which uses a closed fist is punching the ball out of the area Tony Meola-style, and that doesn't exactly cry out "beautiful game" on any continent.
FC BRUSSELS MOLENBEEK
Another abstract design turned into a train wreck. The ashen player with two shades of gray and transparent shorts would have been a strong contender for this list by itself, but check out that ball. I know it's not a Telstar, because Adidas never made a Telstar two feet across. And, thanks to incompetent drafting, the shot that Smudgy Belgian is about to take is going to catch on the back of his left ankle, and he will be extremely fortunate not to leave the field on a smudgy stretcher. Still, he's lucky he didn't trip over the ball, what with not having a face or anything.
CAROLINA DYNAMO God bless these guys. Any lower division American team that has stayed in business for twenty years deserves a great deal of respect, and here's to the next twenty years. Maybe one day in MLS, hopefully with old pals Charleston and Richmond. But hopefully sometime in the next decade or two there will be a massive image overhaul, because this is a white-hot mess. I realize that the triangle has some sort of local reference, and I realize the club's founder was a big Nottingham Forest fan, so it's a tribute instead of a ripoff. Problem is, Nottingham Forest's logo is another outdated doodle sanctified by ancient success - there's no excuse for Greensboro to chain themselves to someone else's tradition. My personal least favorite aspect - even more so that the "carolina" wedged in the triangle and tree like a contractual obligation - is the ball. Substituting a ball for an "o" in the team name is almost always a sign of total creative bankruptcy, and that's certainly the case here. But italicizing a soccer ball? That's what turns this MS Paint flop into a war crime.
Speaking of Dynamo - the scene is 1992. The Soviet Union has fallen. The Ukraine is independent. While your arch-rival across town has made a seamless transition to capitalism, and has a history of success and tradition, your team has lost the support of its patron, the now-highly unpopular Soviet Army. How to make yourself stand out? Well, if the local team has a staid, boring design, you can position yourself as a forward-thinking, radical alternative. If the other team's colors are blue and white, why not go with charcoal and fuchsia? What do you mean, "because it looks terrible"? You're not going to dethrone Dynamo Kyiv with that attitude. In fact, you're not going to at all, because you're going to go out of business in 2009, an unmourned relic of an outmoded system.
FC LAHTI The worst, laziest, most inexcusable badge in European history. This logo actually makes me angry. They've since fired up MS Paint again to add a crummy looking mermaid and lion, but they still took the field with, and paid players to represent, a logo that would embarrass a team in the background of an Abby Wambach Gatorade commercial. By reading this paragraph, you've given more thought to this design than the designers. Being insulted on a comedy blog is more attention than this deserves. In the words of the Dickies - FC Lahti, hail my middle finger.
MK DONS There aren't enough electrons on the Internet to blast the self-righteous hypocrisy about the protests of the original Wimbledon moving from a ground-share to one of the last remaining cities in Europe without a professional team. As if shutting down Wimbledon and starting an entirely new one would have been any more honorable. Or any less honorable. The Football Supporters Association made the brave, noble stand to exclude Milton Keynes fans because - they wanted to have a team of their own. The bastards. The filthy, filthy bastards. If people wanted to make serious, lasting, meaningful action against the evils of unrestrained capitalism, there were and are roughly twelve million better and more productive ways. That said, just because thousands and thousands of fans believe your team is an unholy abomination, that's no reason to look like one. I believe the word I'm looking for is "abortioriffic."
"Okay, we're going to call them the Pittsburgh Phantoms. And THIS is our new logo! ... Well? What do you think? ... You like? ... What? Come on, say what you're thinking. ... WHAT? ... A Ku Klux KLAN hood?! ... Guys, I don't see that at ALL. ... No, I think you guys are way off base here. ... I AM looking at it! For one thing, it's BLACK, not WHITE! ... You guys are just imagining things. No one's going to make that connection! ... No, that's it. This is the one we're going with. ... Well, I guess we'll see who's right, won't we?"
I'm pretty sure.
I sure hope so, anyway. KF TURBINA CERRIK And speaking of dick jokes in logos - an under-researched topic, to be sure - this is the badge that came the closest to making the other, more complimentary list. I just can't believe that a former Eastern bloc club is this scatologically subversive. Maybe I'm just underestimating the Albanian sense of humor. ....Hell, now I'm back to thinking it was deliberate. I mean, the ball is where the ball would be, or at least one. There's no reason to put the year vertically. But maybe I'm just dirty-minded - the ball-to-bat ratio is more suited to a chimpanzee, and the Telstar is in mono as opposed to stereo. A discreetly-worded email would maybe settle the matter, but my Albanian is rusty. (No, "rusty Albanian" is not a reference. Is it? This logo is warping my mind.)
It's irrelevant whether they ripped off the Orthodox Union kosher label, or the other way round. Universitario is taking the fall here for an entire continent. For as rich and glorious as South American football is, for all the current and historic traditions of excitement and creativity from players and fans, and for all the passion and heartbreak and love those teams inspire - for some weird reason none of clubs seem to have spent any more than two minutes on their logo. Step one: choose shape. Step two: choose colors. Step three: insert club initials. Step four: enter Copa Libertadores. It's like a blind spot that covers half a hemisphere. I mean, say what you want about the original MLS logos, at least they tried.
And, we're done. Feel free to suggest your own, of course. If you've enjoyed all this half as much as I have...but of course, you haven't. You're starting a class action suit to get your wasted time back.