This badge was used on-and-off for the best part of fifty years, even before Leeds United were formed but played as Leeds City. When it was not used, there was no decoration on the shirts. The badge is based on the City of Leeds coat of arms, and indeed some versions show the same motto as the City's - "pro rege et lege" (for the king and the law). The badge went through several variations, sometimes in just two colours, sometimes more. This version dates from around 1933.
The 'owl' badge would seem to be more suitable to, say Sheffield Wednesday ('the Owls') than to Leeds, but there are three owls on the City of Leeds crest, and this is where the logo came from. The badge lasted for many years, but was usually not present on the away shirts which were often any old colour, even red! This badge was supposedly ditched due to the superstitious Don Revie's belief that birds were bad luck.
The cursive 'LUFC' script is considered by many to be the alltime classic Leeds logo, and has made two re-appearances in later years, once on the 'retro-look' Asics shirts in the mid-90's and then with the new club crest from 1998. Despite this it was actually only used originally for two seasons.
|1973-1976, 1977-1978 & 1979-1981
The classic 'smiley' badge was a true seventies icon, made up of the letters 'L' and 'U' in the sort of bubble writing that is very familiar on album sleeves etc. from that era. It arrived along with the new shirt manufacturer, Admiral. It was used exclusively for three seasons, and then came back for two more spells on the away shirts later on.
|1976-1977 & 1978-1979
The 'negative smiley' was a strange development, not least because it shrank in size somewhat and was rotated through 45°. This was presumably to make it clearer that it really was the letters 'LU', but this destroyed the balance of the design, and it later reverted to the original angle. It was used for a year on both home and away shirts, and then made a comeback for another year on the away shirts later on.
The original 'smiley' badge was obviously too confusing for some, so it got a border added containing the name of the club. This badge survived for four years on the home shirts, but didn't feature on the away shirts. There were obviously supply problems with these badges at first however - the picture on the right shows three players sporting different ones in the same game (the new badge on the right, the 'negative smiley' on the left, and no badge at all in the centre!)
With a new shirt manufacturer (Umbro) came a new badge, similar to the previous one, but with the 'smiley' replaced by a stylised peacock, after the (now defunct) club nickname.
The now familiar 'rose and ball' badge was the longest lived Leeds crest in the modern era. The design neatly encapsulates what the club is about, with the white rose of Yorkshire, the club's name, and a football forming the centre of the rose.
The next badge retaned the white rose and saw a return of the curly 'LUFC' script from the seventies. The shield, and the accompanying new strip had a definate 'european' look to them, in keeping with the club's adventures in the European competitions at the time.
The 1999/2000 season saw the centre of the rose change to be a football, echoing the previous 'rose and ball' badge.