THE release of Everton’s new official club crest has sparked strong protests from Blues fans, who say the design compromises the club’s history and tradition.

Club officials insist the design is “more modern, cleaner and dynamic”, and that it was “created following an extensive consultation process with fans, supporters’ groups and branding experts”.

But many supporters have reacted with dismay to the new badge. Fans are particularly unhappy that the club motto, ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’, as well as the iconic laurel wreaths, which denoted the club’s past successes, have been dropped from the crest. One independent fans’ website, Toffeeweb, ran a poll following the release of the crest. More than 10,000 supporters were asked to give their views on the new design, with 91% offering a “negative” response. As many as two-thirds went as far as to say that they “hated” it.

Across the social media platforms, Evertonians have been equally quick to voice their displeasure. On Twitter, a page named “No to new EFC badge”, which claims that the design is “a disgrace to the club’s name and heritage”, had collected more than 3,000 followers by Sunday evening.

In addition, an e-petition on the website has been set up, demanding that the club retains the motto and laurel wreaths. The petition, set up by Blues fan Danny Zocek, suggests that the new crest will “not only be an embarrassing crest to represent the club, but will also make the club lose money on merchandise, due to no one wanting to buy any merchandise with that awful crest printed on to it.”

The petition had gathered more than 12,000 signatures in a little over 24 hours, up until Sunday evening.

Everton, though, have gone to great lengths to explain the rationale behind the decision to change the crest.

An article posted on the club’s website stated that: “It combines four historic elements of the previous badge – the tower, the shield, our name and the year of our formation – to form a concise, modern and dynamic representation of Everton.

“From the very outset of a process which began in Autumn 2012, the club’s in-house design team talked to fans about our crest, its significance, its meaning and the importance of the individual components.

“The project team received feedback on initial concepts from the club’s Fans’ Forum – a wide spectrum of Evertonians including season ticket holders, supporters’ club officials, corporate members, shareholders and fans from the Everton Disabled Supporters Association. The Forum gave honest and candid feedback and suggested changes which, where appropriate, were integrated.”

The Everton shareholders' association issued a tweet on Saturday stating that they had not been consulted by the club prior to the crest's unveiling. Everton claim that the previous crest, created in 2000, was “often misrepresented, suffering regularly from the omission of key elements like our name and year of formation,” and that “On television, websites and mobile devices, the crest was far too often badly reproduced.”

The first crest to be used on an Everton jersey was created in 1920. Since then no fewer than nine different designs have been used. Everton say the new crest used Theo Kelly’s classic 1938 version as its inspiration, and that commercial partners such as Nike, the kit designer, and Kitbag, the suppliers, were consulted, providing “invaluable” input. The club also pointed out that a number of fellow Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, have changed their crest in the last decade.

Supporter reaction, though, has been almost exclusively negative, with fans calling upon the club to reconsider its decision, or risk alienating sections of the club’s fanbase.