It may sound as bizarre as a £200 million footballer refusing to shake hands with an 18-year-old, writes Donald Stewart, but two years ago someone decided to report Ayr United for ancient heraldic infringement.
Their crime? They had a badge which had a scroll bearing the name of the club and a Saltire. Those two design features were criminal design faults and with a rival fan putting the boot in, the Court of Lord Lyon was forced to act.
Lord Lyon is unable to act without complaint so once one was made, the race was on.
Firstly, the kit for the following season had already been ordered meaning that the Lord Lyon could have been asking the club to scrap their kit and buy new kit. A costly affair to a club like Ayr, but some common sense prevailed at least as they gave the Honest Men time to adhere to the archaic law.
Whilst we may think it an ass, if it is there and enforceable, once you know it has been breached then action must follow.
The club made an application to change their badge and were allowed up until the beginning of this season to achieve that. All the mugs, the pens, the key rings, the bath towels, the kid’s bedding and pyjamas in the club shop had also to be changed!
Ayr could have applied for the badge to be registered as a Coat of Arms, therefore no longer illegal, but with a cost of around £3,000 to make application to do so, and with the likelihood the club would have been turned down anyway as the Saltire is reserved for national institutions rebranding was the only way forward.
So the club shop, under independent ownership, had to organise a fire sale and the club had to find a new badge. They were not the first to be forced through this process and will not be the last by all accounts.
Fellow League One side, Airdrieonians, had been forced down that route in 2014 and had to make significant changes in their rebranding. For Ayr, the badge which had been with the club since the 1950s was now to go the same way as the old Airdrie badge – consigned to history.
Its not as new as you might think and badges have changed before – remember Hibs? So it was hardly going to be onerous, was it?
I mean fans agreeing on one badge for their team….easy right? Right?
The club received a number of new designs and put it to the fans to vote on and one from Peru won. Course it did.
After all, that makes as much sense as a rival fan making a complaint to an ancient medieval court to force their rivals to change their badge.
So the guy from Peru was actually an Ayr fan and had moved there because his wife is Peruvian.
Former Ayr Academy pupil Jamie Stevenson’s entry received 48% of those voting online and has the nickname of the club alongside the black and white colours of the club. It also has a saltire!
Shh don’t tell Lord Lyon.