The West Coast Eagles entered the VFL in 1987 without any history, and were the second team (tied with the Brisbane Bears) outside of Victoria to become a part of the competition.
Once the league started expanding in 1982, only 2 new teams have won a total of 3 premierships, and one of those is West Coast. Their decade was the 1990s, where they never finished lower than 7th and won 2 premierships.
Since then, club has performed like most across a longer period of time – with successes followed by rebuilding followed by success. But I think most would be surprised at the speed of both their crashing down (1st in 2006 to 15th in 2008) and their rebuilding (16th in 2010 to 4th in 2011).
I recently read an article pointing to the effect of rebranding on a club, and while there were some positive connections between the two, the case of West Coast is fairly unhelpful in making that correlation truly stick.
During the heydays 1990s the Eagles had 2 different logos, one in the first half (the start of the AFL era) and in the second half. They shared a lot of similarities, and the second seemed like a more mature reworking of the first. Their latest logo was first put to use in the year 2000, and it was in this year that the Eagles reached their worst ever ladder position (13th), and it got worse the year after (14th).
The rebranding launch was timed at a changing of the guard with Ken Judge taking on the coaching role after the Malthouse-lead 90s. It saw the club going through their first serious rebuild in 12 years.
It’s not surprising reading that there are WCE fans out there who want the old uniform and logo back as they were so closely tied together to the good ol’ days. It’s also not surprising to me, a non-WCE supporter, because this logo is a bit of a mess.
The head of the eagle is the strongest thing here, after that the spaced out Eagles text is passable, but far below that on the taste scale we have the wing which takes up an unhealthy 60% of the logo space without looking any good, and the horrendous stretched capital T and W.
The idea of having larger capitals at either end is such a fragile one. I’ve seen it work many times less than the technique has been tried. It’s more likely to work when the contrast in size isn’t too dramatic (see the University of Wisconsin or Gold Coast Titans logos below), or when the inevitable emphasis on the last letter is somehow lessened (see the NUCB Wild Fox logo or Tennessee Valley Vipers below).
In 2013 it’s easy to say the Eagles logo is dated. The West Coast text, apart from having a significant number of serifs missing, is really showing its age. The eagle head would work in a new version, but out of everything on display it is the only thing worth keeping. With a little less history the club has the luxury of flexibility to adjust the logo, but if they do rebrand, I’d recommend something that excites the older crowd as well as the younger crowd as this one excites neither.