Emblematically Speaking - Stockport Town

Tue 27th February 2018 | Stockport Town
By Stewart Taylor

Stockport Town FC

At first glance the emblem of Stockport Town FC may give the appearance of a traditional coat of arms and, reasonably, that would be the coat of arms of Stockport.

However, all is not what it might at first seem, as this emblem bears no relationship whatsoever to the coat of arms of the town.

What we see is an emblem put together by the founders of the club which, rather cleverly perhaps, mixes a new design into the overall form of a traditional coat of arms.

So what can we see and what can we deduce about the meaning of this one?

The reference to the name of the organisation represented by the emblem is clear in the wording.

Also clear is that football is the business of the organisation by the incorporation of a football into the shield design.

The shape of the elements of the football brings to mind a recent mild controversy, when a mathematician suggested that the design of the football on the brown information roads signs which point the way to football grounds are wrong.

He was correct in that the signs depict only hexagons whereas a mix of hexagons and pentagons are needed to achieve the spherical shape of a football. However, what was not explained in any great detail was the representation of a three dimensional form in two dimensions.

We could go on at great length here, but I would not wish to abuse the loyalty of the readership with seemingly endless explanations of two and three dimensional shapes, except to say that recent suggestions of a football being rectangular or, even more bizarrely, triangular, cannot be correct.

The remainder of the shield presents us with a few more charges to consider. A five pointed yellow star in heraldry is normally taken to represent the unity of workers, peasants, intellectuals, traders and the clergy.

The Union Flag depicted top right is self-explanatory, but there is a much more local reference if we look at the top left.

This is a representation of the famous Stockport Viaduct which takes the train line from Manchester to London over the valley of the River Mersey.

At the time of its completion in early Victorian times, the viaduct was considered to be the largest brick built structure in the world and remains today as a monument to the construction skills of the Victorian era.

Lurking on the left side of the viaduct is the single word “Superbia” (Latin). This translates simply into English as Pride and is entirely appropriate as a football club motto.

We could try to look more deeply into this, as the Superbia Weekend is the more nuanced name of what is more generally known as Manchester Pride weekend.

Perhaps more relevant to football is that the motto of nearby Manchester City FC is “Superbia in Proelio” – Pride in Battle.

The remaining device on the shield is the black lion. In heraldic terms, a lion in this pose is described as a lion rampant and the colour would be described as sable. This device dominates the shield and evokes the nickname of the club – The Lions – represented by the courage, strength and valour of that noble beast.

Above the shield, we see a closed helm, which is often used to represent the bourgeoisie, atop which sits what looks to be the traditional design of the Prince of Wales feathers depicted here in yellow and blue.

Going back to one of my favourite themes, pubs and beers, I can find no reference to a pub called the Prince of Wales in Stockport but there is one of such name in nearby Gatley.

We know that Stockport Town FC were not formed until 2014, and we have seen above that the emblem resembles something much more traditional. The question remains as to the circumstances in which it was designed.

From the above, we could think about a group of Manchester City supporters from Stockport sitting in the Prince of Wales in Gatley cogitating over a couple of pints, and coming up with what we see as a most informative club emblem.

Or would that be too fanciful?

With thanks to Rob Clare of Stockport Town for his help in compiling this article.

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