Football League announce the new EFL

No, it’s not a new far-right “patriotic” splinter group, but the new identity for 72 of England’s football clubs.

The Football League have today announced the new identity and branding by which the second, third and fourth tiers of the English game will soon be recognised.

The English Football League, or EFL as it will be known, was introduced with a video (above) highlighting the new dynamic logo, featuring 72 balls – representing each of the member clubs – segregated into three groups of 24 – representing the three divisions in which they play. Each club will be provided with a unique version of the logo in their own colours.

Introducing the EFL, the Football League’s Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said:

The new EFL name rightly emphasises the central role our clubs play at the heart of English professional football.

One wonders how Welsh clubs Cardiff City and Newport County (assuming they survive this season) – and indeed Swansea City if they lose their Premier League status in May – feel about a new emphasis on English football. That said, the Football League were keen to point out that the change of name follows a wide consultation “that included detailed surveys, interviews and focus groups with clubs, stakeholders, commercial partners and more than 18,000 football supporters” and that those consulted “included the Football Association, the Premier League, the Professional Footballers Association, the Football Supporters Federation, the League’s competition sponsors, its broadcast partners and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport”.

Mr Harvey continued:

In an increasingly challenging global sports market, it is absolutely essential that sports properties can project a modern identity that not only resonates with their regular audience but is also easily recognisable to a broader audience of potential fans, viewers and commercial partners.

We believe the EFL name and brand will give our competitions an identity that is new and distinct, while at the same time retaining our unique heritage. As such, it will be something that all fans can identify with – whether they be young or old, at home or abroad.

The current division titles of “Championship”, “League One” and “League Two” will remain under the new brand as, according to Mr Harvey, these “have proven popular with fans since their introduction in 2004.”

The new EFL name does, however, sound ominously like a cross between the United States’ National Football League (more commonly abbreviated to NFL) and the far-right anti-Muslim organisation English Defence League (more commonly abbreviated to EDL) – which, incidentally, partly evolved from football hooliganism.

I’m sure the Football League were fully aware that such a potential confusion might arise when they were considering and consulting on their new identity…

The power behind the Gills

The fairy tale of Gillingham ended, like all good fairy tales, in dramatic fashion.

The blue boys, playing in red as they have done throughout their centenary season, only needed one point to secure the nPower League Two trophy but, after less than 23 minutes the thought of a draw was far from the minds of players and fans alike.

Veteran striker Deon Burton opened the scoring for the Gills early on with a strike that seemingly came from nowhere before former Don Danny Kedwell doubled the Gills’ lead heading in Chris Whelpdale’s cross.

The Gills kept pushing until the second half, when they returned from the dressing room playing like they’d OD’d on valium. AFC Wimbledon, fighting for Football League survival for the first time in their short history, saw their chance, with Jack Midson bringing them back into the game after the hour and Jon Meades levelling the scoring with less than ten minutes to play.

Every Gills fan knows that supporting the club is not easy, and were nervously watching the clock as referee Andy D’Urso seemed to drag out stoppage time. In the end, it need not have concerned Gillingham whether they won, lost or drew, as Port Vale dropped points at home to Northampton, securing the Gills’ League Two title as the sun shone on the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

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In times of success, it is fashionable to congratulate those who made it happen – and it went without saying that on Saturday the Chairman, Paul Scally, the Manager, Martin Allen, the Assistant Manager, John Schofield, all the backroom staff, Captain Adam Barrett, the whole playing squad and, of course, the loyal fans, were all mentioned in dispatches.

Also worth giving thanks to, though, are the sponsors – those who, along with paying fans, fund the football club and have allowed such a successful squad to be built. To Medway Mowers, sponsors of the 37 goals scored at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium. Ah yes, to MEMS, who sponsor the club and the stadium, and whose logo has been seen across the country side-by-side with that of the Football League sponsors nPower (the irony of which I will let you research yourself). And to all those whose advertising space can be seen in matchday programmes and advertising boards around the ground.

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There is now just one game of the season to go and Martin Allen may look to play those who have spent much of the season warming the bench. He is keeping his selection under wraps for now, but the Medway Messenger are reporting that Mad Dog is approaching the final game of the season differently.

Who knows, even Tommy Forecast might get his first league start for the champions before he returns to Southampton…