Arbroath Football Cub was established in 1878 and as early as 1885, their shirts featured a badge consisting of a golden portcullis sewn into a large shield, representing the entrance to the ruined Arbroath Abbey (famous, in part, for its association with the Declaration of Arbroath), derived from the Arbroath coat of arms. That same year, Arbroath boasted a victory of 36-0 against the now-defunct Aberdonian side Bon Accord FC (who competed from 1884 until 1892), the largest margin of victory in world football until 2002 (the current record of 149-0 between Malagasy sides AS Adema and SO l’Emyrne was thrown, with SO l’Emyrne scoring 149 own-goals in protest to a previous refereeing decision made which saw them out of contention for the Malagasy title).
After competing in the Northern Football League for a number of years, Arbroath joined the Central Football League from its formation in 1909. Twelve years later, the Central League was incorporated into the Scottish Football League.
During their years in the SFL, ‘the Red Lichties’ have advanced to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup on two occasions. In the 1946/47 Scottish Cup, Arbroath triumphed over Stenhousemuir, Raith Rovers and Hearts before losing 0-2 to Aberdeen, who would go on to win the tournament. Arbroath reached their second major cup semi-final in the 1959/60 season, losing 3-0 to Third Lanark.
At the end of the 2018/19 season, Arbroath finished at the top of the League One table, securing promotion to the Scottish Championship (the second tier) for the first time since their relegation to the third tier after the 2002/03 season.
For several periods from 1953 until 1992, the Arbroath kit featured some variation of the club initials, sometimes in a shield. In 1980, a single colour version of the current badge saw regular use. This badge was updated with light blue and yellow in 1992. In recent years, the colours have been more in line with the 1980 version.
I have always been impressed with Arbroath’s 1992 badge. I would commend its timelessness, if not for the dated typeface and colours. For my redesign, I stripped the shield away and retooled the portcullis so that it forms something similar to a traditional Iberian shield found in some historical depictions of the Arbroath coat of arms. I also swapped the typeface for something more Romanesque, recalling the historical significance of the town.
The Arbroath home shirt first featured in maroon in 1882. Typically, this was accompanied with white details and shorts, not dissimilar to Hearts kits over the years. Arbroath first used a fully maroon kit in 1997 (Hearts did not use this scheme until 2002). I decided to capitalise on the attractive look of a fully maroon kit, with light blue details. My redesigned away kit is dominated by this light blue, with black shorts and details.
As ever, I am indebted to Dave at Historical Football Kits for some of the historical information used above.