The original Airdrieonians Football Club began its life as Excelsior Football Club in 1878. In 1881, the club’s name was changed to Airdrieonians and they continued as such until their demise in 2002.
Throughout the 1920s, this original Airdrieonians FC proved themselves to be a competitive side within Scottish football. They finished second in the league on four consecutive occasions from the 1922/23 season until the 1925/26 season (behind Rangers for the first three and Celtic for the fourth) and defeated Hibernian 2-0 in the 1923/24 Scottish Cup final. But after this era, the club never again rose to such great heights.
In 1912, Airdrieonians adopted their distinctive shirt designs – a white field featuring a red ‘diamond’ (seen as a ‘V’ on both the front and backs of their shirts). As a result of this design, which the club used throughout the remainder of their existence, Airdrieonians became known as ‘the Diamonds’.
After this original club folded, a new Airdrie club, called Airdrie United, was formed. Technically speaking, Airdrie United’s admittance into the Scottish Football League was the result of the organisation’s buyout and subsequent renaming of the original Clydebank FC. Airdrie United then became, for all intents and purposes, the new Airdrieonians, using the same home ground (Excelsior Stadium) and wearing the same diamond motif on their white shirts. This club became known as Airdrie in 2012 and then revived the name Airdrieonians in 2013.
As far as badges go, recently, Airdrieonians have been the subject of a rather widely-publicised campaign. The club badge, first used by the original AFC in 1974 and then adopted by the new AFC when they revived the name in 2013, featured a shield, within which were the club’s initials and two lions passant, one above and one below the initials. In March 2015, the Court of the Lord Lyon informed the club that their badge did not comply with an ancient Scottish law forbidding the use of lettering within an heraldic device, such as a shield (a legal challenge that has proven or could prove problematic with a number of other clubs). In response, the club adopted an altered badge, omitting the shield though all but implying it by including a red chevron shape where the base of the shield once was. This chevron was included so as to mirror the ‘diamond’ that had adorned the AFC kits for more than a century. This current badge can be seen below.
For my redesign, I considered the heraldic images in the current badge, but took minor issue with the current badge’s use of the chevron shape. It has long been the conviction of Airdrieonians supporters that the ‘V’ on the front of the shirt is, in fact, neither a ‘V’ nor a chevron, but one half of a diamond. Being that the club’s nickname is ‘the Diamonds’, I wanted to emphasise that shape. When elongated horizontally, the diamond would bear too much resemblance to the Umbro logo. A vertically-elongated diamond badge is used by the German club Borussia Mönchengladbach, but I thought that I might be able to produce a very different badge within the same shape. I designed an illustration of a nineteenth-century football to occupy the middle of the badge and built the simple ‘AFC’ lettering around it, which can be seen below. I include no founding date as the current club has only existed for 16 years. But for those who see the current Airdrieonians FC as a continuation of the original club, I believe that both the retro football and the diamond shape call back to that heritage sufficiently.
While I made a clear departure from the 1974 badge, I see the ‘Airdrie Diamond’ as the classic and essential AFC kit and for my kit redesigns, I only added my own personal touch.
As ever, I am indebted to Dave at Historical Football Kits for some of the historical information used above.