From the Archives: Origins of Villa's Rampant Lion
Lambert's Lions are ready to roar next season - but how did the idea to adopt the regal beast come about in the first place?
Well, Villa's Lion - facing a different direction to today's version - was introduced by October 1878, according to John Lerwill's 'Villa Chronicles' book.
It was seen on the club's notepaper and envelopes of that era and was brought into existence at the request of Villa's Scottish contingent, in particular George Ramsay and William McGregor.
In terms of appearing on the shirt, after a period of wearing black and white tops, the shirts switched to plain black before a decision was made to bring the top to life.
Director Charlie Johnstone explained: "We had decided on a self colour. I suggested black and black it was. That was too sombre and, as our president George Kynock, our two vice-presidents Fergus Johnstone and William McGregor and our captain George Ramsay were Scots - and as there was a strong contingent at the club - we adopted the Scottish Lion as a relief.
"This was forthwith emblazoned on our shirts by Miss Midgeley, our secretary's sister."
Interestingly, though, the lion motif was removed after problems with laundry!
Johnstone continued: "Our lion had no chance with the washing lady! He became pale and anaemic so 'Mac' - William McGregor - was deputed to send to Scotland for thirteen lions on yellow shields proper, which could be attached and detached at will.
"They came - about the size of a dessert plate! When they were duly attached - you could hardly see the man for the lion - we were each as self-conscious as a bride in a wedding dress.
"We went on to the field but the gorgeous lion got us down. We had a most awful whacking and the lion was relegated to the club notepaper and flags."
The lion badge - at an appropriate size - was not reintroduced on to the Villa's playing shirts again until shortly after the start of Villa's FA Cup run in 1957 - and clearly had a beneficial effect on the team.
Interestingly, the reintroduction on to the team's shirts had been discussed as early as 1894 but it was not pursued at that time.
The lion badge has been retained on the kit since 1957 in different forms, with the most interesting change coming about in the crest consultation process of 2007.
The famous lion was given a different look.
Gone was the fragmented image seen on previous Villa badges.
The lion was made "proud, looking to the future and unified - signalling our desire for togetherness."
Let us hope he roars us on to greater things in the future.
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