Editor’s note: World Soccer Talk writer Matt Jones recently went on a mission from his home on the Wirral to take photographs of Prince Rupert’s Tower in Liverpool, and to share his insight regarding the connection between the tower and the history of Everton Football Club.
A soccer team’s crest is a pretty big deal. After all, aside from the club colors, it’s the one other most pertinently emblematic feature of a team. It’s for that very reason Everton supporters kicked up quite a substantial fuss last season when the club altered theirs, almost beyond recognition.
It was because the Toffees’ crest is entrenched in culture and local history, but it’s not what you’d describe as a typical soccer badge. There’s no fierce bird, roaring lion or proud devil on Everton’s shirt, just a humble tower, a pair of modest laurel wreaths and the latin motto of “Nil Satis Nisi Optimum”.
The basic blueprint for the emblem we see on Everton jerseys today was put in place back in 1938. But throughout the club’s distinguished history, it was often no surprise to see the Toffees don jerseys without a badge, with the iconic blue shirts and white shorts seemingly enough to define the football club’s identity.
Indeed, the tower and wreathes were only used initially on ties produced by the club itself and while the Toffees did have “EFC” emblazoned on their strips in a stylish font from 1920 for 10 years, a badge wasn’t really too important back then. It wasn’t until 1972 that the letters appeared on the kit again and six years later, a crest resemblant of what we see today.
According to the club’s official website, the then club secretary Theo Kelly was given the honor fashioning the badge. “I was puzzling over it for four months,” he said. “Then I thought of a reproduction of the ‘Beacon’ which stands in the heart of Everton.”
So what’s the explanation behind such a bespoke symbol? The building in question is known as Prince Rupert’s Tower and it was built in the 18th century on Everton Brow. Initially, it’s construction was for the containment of the intoxicated or the unruly getting into trouble overnight before they were hauled before magistrates the next day.
Here’s a look at where the landmark is in comparison to Goodison Park itself (see below). The Tower is a 39 minute walk away from Goodison Park, and is actually closer to Anfield than Everton’s stadium.