In Brief

Aston Villa drop 'prepared' from crest amid rebranding row

Club criticised for splashing out on a new badge as team prepare for a bleak future in the Championship

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As relegation-threatened Aston Villa prepare for life in the Championship, the club has unveiled a new crest - without its "prepared" motto.

The new-look logo, which will adorn the club's claret-and-blue shirts from next season, also features a larger, more ornate lion, with newly added claws, which presumably will be needed in the fight for promotion.

However, a club source told the Daily Mirror: "It will cost millions to complete at a time when the club has just lost out on next year's huge television deal by dropping out of the Premier League."

The club have disputed the claim of the Birmingham Mail, which says the rebranding exercise will cost as much as £2m. A London-based design company updated the badge and Villa told the BBC that the tweaks cost around £80,000.

Fans on Twitter pointed out that this is still £80,000 more than Aston Villa have spent on signing players this year.

The club has insisted no "significant sums" would be spent on changing the branding, but said in a statement that small changes were necessary to make Villa "more effective in the digital age".

It is "ironic" that the club has decided to ditch the word "prepared" during "a season of farce, failure and financial and footballing losses", says Mat Kendrick of the Birmingham Mail. But the blame for the rebrand shouldn't lie at the boardroom door as the decision was taken before a new board was appointed at Villa Park.

"The proposed sharpening of the lion's claws will at least be representative of the no nonsense approach [Villa chairman] Steve Hollis has adopted in an attempt to sort out a mess of a football club," adds the journalist.

It has also been suggested that the change is overdue. There is an unfortunate irony to players of a club so woefully mismanaged running out with the word "prepared" on their chests and the club says that "in the fan focus groups, 'prepared' was not deemed to be an essential part of the badge".

However, say Villa, "prepared" will always be part of the club's heritage and fans will continue to see it around the grounds.

The motto is said to mean that Villa are "prepared and willing to meet every challenge, both on and off the pitch". Fans would argue that in recent times, the very opposite has been true.

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