Fort William Football Club was established in 1974, making the club the second-youngest in the Highland Football League (after Strathspey Thistle, established in 1993). From their formation, Fort William had campaigned unsuccessfully to gain admittance into the Highland Football League. They would not participate in a competitive league until joining the North Caledonian League in 1983.
In their first season with the NCL, Fort William finished second-top in the league table. By the end of the following season, they were crowned league champions. After this success, the club was finally granted a place in the Highland League.
Fort William’s time in the Highland League can be characterised as rocky. They have yet to achieve any honours and in 2018, all six club directors resigned. The club has survived, but the 2018/19 season is not proving especially fruitful, having won two points from two draws and having been deducted nine points to finish December at the bottom of the table with -7 points and a -149 goal difference after 21 matches.
Things are looking quite bleak for Fort William these days, but here’s hoping that the club can find some inspiration to fight on and produce some significant results.
For the badge redesign, I decided to retool the current badge, which features a version of the Fort William coat of arms. The minimalism of the current badge is to be admired, though I have several issues with it. The first is that the Lochaber axes, crossed to form a Saltire – well, they don’t much resemble axes to me. Additionally, the Fort William coat of arms features a chaplet of oak branches, not of what appears to be olive branches. Lastly, the football takes the place of the crown found in the actual coat of arms. Cards on the table, I am not a monarchist, but the Fort William coat of arms is more about the town’s history than the present, with Fort ‘William’ having been named after William of Orange. Although the initial fort had been constructed during the rule of Oliver Cromwell, by the eighteenth century, it was used as an outpost against Jacobite forces.
For my redesign, I decided to include all of the traditional elements of the Fort William coat of arms and place a football, similar to the one in the current badge, at the centre. In order to avoid a clear association with ‘one side’ or the ‘other’ (read: Scottish sectarianism), I have also included two small white cinquefoils in the outer circlet, symbolising the Jacobite history of the region.
For the home kit redesign, I went with something that calls back to the club’s formation in 1974. The away kit makes use of the current black-dominated away colour scheme.