[Editor’s Note: In the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II yesterday afternoon, our own Anthony Emerson has done an outstanding job compiling the UK sports world’s reaction to her passing. — PL]
The death of Queen Elizabeth II, who served for 70 years as the monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 other nations, rippled through the British sports world yesterday (including at at Old Trafford, shown above, where Manchester United players observed a minute of silence prior to their Europa League match against Real Sociedad). Here’s a look at how some of those ripples played out.
- Arsenal: The London club changed their social media avatar to a black-and-white version of their club crest, but kept their header image. The club’s statement was headed with a portrait of the Queen.
- Aston Villa: Villa also changed their social media avatar to a black-and-white version of their crest, and changed their header image to a photo of the Union Jack flying at half-staff. They also posted a lengthy statement about Elizabeth’s connections to the club, headed by an image of her awarding the FA Cup to the club in 1957.
- AFC Bournemouth: The Cherries changed their social media avatar to a dark-grey crest on a black background, effectively making it appear to be all black. They kept their header image, and tweeted a message of condolence.
- Brentford: The Bees changed their social media avatar and their header image to a black-and-white crest. They also tweeted a message of condolence, using the same photograph of the Queen that the Royal Family’s official Twitter account used to announce her death.
- Brighton & Hove Albion: Another black-and-white crest, but the way they changed the colors makes it look odd, with the big white circle over the black seagull. The club also blacked out their social media header. The club tweeted condolences and were one of the few to include Elizabeth’s dates on their post.
- Chelsea: Like Brighton & Hove, Chelsea kept the negative space in their black-and-white crest white. They also blacked out their header, and tweeted a message of condolence.
- Crystal Palace: The club appears to have shrunk the size of their crest to increase the amount of black space in their social media avatar. They blacked out their header and tweeted a message of condolence.
- Everton: The Toffees changed their social media avatar to a black-and-white crest, but kept their header. They also tweeted a brief condolence.
- Fulham: Another black-and-white crest and blacked-out header. The club quote-tweeted the Royal Family’s official statement for their message of condolence.
- Leeds United: The Whites also changed their social media avatar to a black-and-white crest, but kept their header. They also used a photo of the Queen awarding the FA Cup to Leeds in 1972 with their message of condolence.
- Leicester City: Leicester City went with a more neutral-colored grey-and-white crest, as if applying a black-and-white filter in Photoshop. They appear to have done the same thing with their header image. The club tweeted their message of condolence in a three-tweet thread.
- Liverpool: LFC updated their social media avatar with a black-and-white crest, though it looks more off-white than others. They kept their header image, and tweeted a message of condolence along with a photo of Elizabeth awarding the FA Cup to the club in 1965. Notably, they blocked replies on the tweet, likely due to Liverpool supporters’ general left-leaning political views and with it the disdain of the monarchy. They also tweeted their condolence message noticeably later than other clubs.
- Manchester City: The Citizens changed their social media avatar to a black-and-white crest, and blacked out their header image. They also tweeted a condolence message with a photo of Elizabeth awarding Man City the FA Cup in 1956.
- Manchester United: Another black-and-white crest and blacked-out header image, and a condolence tweet with a photo of the Queen awarding the FA Cup to the team, this time in 1963. Manchester United also blocked replies on their tweet, but only after thousands of people already had replied. United also played a match last night, a Europa League fixture against Real Sociedad. Both teams wore black armbands and observed a minute’s silence before kickoff. In addition, advertising boards at Old Trafford were darkened for the entirety of the match.
- Newcastle United: Newcastle also changed their social media avatar to a black-and-white crest and blacked out their header image. Because Newcastle’s colors are black and white already, the club essentially inverted the striping on its crest. Notably, the use of the inverted crest extended to the club’s official website. The club also posted a statement of condolence on their website, but incorrectly formatted the photograph, cutting off the bottom half of the Queen’s face.
- Nottingham Forest: Another black-and-white logo, another blacked-out header image. The club tweeted a statement of condolence and then separately tweeted a photograph of the Queen awarding the club the 1959 FA Cup, with no text.
- Southampton: Soton also changed their crest, but to a grey-scale version on a black background. The size of the crest was also reduced to increase the amount of black space. They kept their header image, and tweeted a condolence message, along with a photograph of Elizabeth awarding the club the 1976 FA Cup.
- Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs’ crest is usually depicted as white when it’s on a dark background, but the club did change their social media avatar to a white version on a black background rather than navy blue on white. They also blacked out their header image, and posted a condolence tweet.
- West Ham United: The Hammers also changed their crest to a black-and-white version, in addition to reducing its size in their social media avatar. They also blacked out their header image and tweeted a message of condolence. Like Manchester United, West Ham were also active last night, playing against Romania’s FCSB in the Europa League. West Ham wore black armbands and both teams observed a minute’s silence before kickoff.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers: Wolves also changed their social media avatar to a black-and-white crest, but kept their header image. They tweeted a message of condolence along with a photo of the Queen reviewing soldiers.
- Meanwhile, the league has postponed this weekend’s games.
Other UK Soccer Leagues
Memorials outside of England were seemingly more muted. Few Welsh and Scottish clubs went so far as to change their social media avatars, though most tweeted messages of sympathy. Three of the four Welsh clubs that play in the English league system — Cardiff City, Swansea City, and Wrexham AFC — did not change their social media avatars, though Swansea City did tweet a black version of their logo on a dark-grey background. Newport County, the fourth club, changed their social media avatar to a grey-scale version of their crest.
Defending Scottish champions Celtic FC, a club with deep ties to both Irish and Scottish nationalism as well as left-wing and republican political movements, only acknowledged the Queen’s passing with a one-sentence statement on the club’s website. They did not make any aesthetic changes on social media, nor did they post a link to the statement. Rangers — Celtic’s crosstown rivals and a club traditionally associated with Scottish unionism and British patriotism — changed their social media avatar to a black-and-white version of the team’s logo and changed their header image to a photograph of all the flags flying at half-staff at Ibrox Stadium. The club also made multiple statements on Twitter, with one depicting a portrait of the Queen hung in Ibrox Stadium and another announcing the lowering of the Union Flag to half-staff at the stadium.
Aberdeen FC, another Scottish Premiership side, did not change their social media avatars but did tweet a statement of condolence with a black-and-white club crest attached. The news of the Queen’s death broke during Heart of Midlothian’s Europa Conference League match against İstanbul Başakşehir, with a minute’s silence being observed before the second-half kickoff. Players and officials came out of the dressing room wearing black armbands.
In Northern Ireland, most clubs released statements and changed their social media avatars to black-and-white. One exception was Cliftonville FC, a club closely associated with Irish nationalists. Their only acknowledgement was a brief tweet saying that the league had postponed the club’s Friday-night match due to the Queen’s passing.
- Rugby Union: In England, Premiership Rugby sides varied in terms of aesthetic responses to the Queen’s passing. Harlequins depicted their Harlequin logo as a white silhouette on a black background, rather than simply a black-and-white version of their primary logo. Other clubs went the black-and-white route, but some didn’t change at all — among them Exeter Chiefs, Sale Sharks, London Irish and Saracens.
- Rugby League: Most teams in the Super League, the second most popular rugby code in Britain, did the black-and-white avatar thing. The two exceptions were the French teams Toulouse Olympique and Dragons Catalans, the only two teams based outside of England.
- Formula 1: Most Formula 1 teams have bases in the UK’s “motorsport valley,” even if they’re registered outside of the UK. For example, Alpine, an indisputably French team owned by Renault, has its primary factory in Enstone, England. Naturally, British influence is everywhere in F1, and every team released a statement mourning the Queen’s passing. Only McLaren and Aston Martin changed their social media avatars, though Williams posted a rather touching tribute showing a framed photo of the Queen knighting team founder Sir Frank Williams.
Outside of Sports
BBC presenters wore black suits and ties after rumors of the Queen’s health began circling at around noon UK time. Following the announcement of the Queen’s death, the UK’s major political parties changed their social media avatars to black-and-white. However, nationalist parties such as the Scottish National Party, Sinn Féin, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, and the Scottish Greens retained their usual logos. One exception was the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru, which, similar to other entities, adopted a black-and-white logo. Keir Starmer, the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, tweeted a statement and changed his social media icon to black. Other organizations, from universities to fast food restaurants, similarly removed color from their logos.
Outside the UK
In Canada, the Vancouver Canadiens — a High-A minor league baseball team affiliated with the Blue Jays — put maple leafs and the queen’s silhouette behind the catcher’s box:
Other Canadian and Commonwealth teams presumably had memorials of their own. If you know of any, feel free to share them in today’s comments.
Great job with today’s Lede, Anthony! Definitely impressive how you managed to get so much put together on fairly short notice!
Appreciate it Ian!
I’ll add that the top two English and Scottish women’s soccer tiers, the W Series, and England’s cricket teams also did the black and white avatar/blacked out header photo thing. The Netball Superleague did a blacked out header photo, but kept the normal avatar. They of course all posted statements.
The women’s soccer games were also postponed (along with the men’s games) and some had been scheduled for their equivalent men’s teams’ stadiums which makes those a lot more difficult to reschedule.
I know multiple people tweeted about Man U’s adboards being blacked out yesterday but it was the same for West Ham and Hearts (but the latter only in the second half).
There will be a minute of silence before AFL men’s and women’s games this weekend (link)
Also, the men’s cycling Tour of Britain was going on this week but the last three stages were canceled. (link)
One other Arsenal note about the Queen. The news broke during Arsenal’s Europa League match with FC Zurich in Switzerland.
When the teams came out at halftime, they observed a minute of silence before the second half kicked off. Never saw a mid-game minute of silence like that before.
Celtic did it right. Just say no to monarchy in any form.
Well, they were saying no to it specifically in English form. If the British Prime Minister died, Celtic might also have a muted response.
And look at all the implications in the other institutional responses in the article. It’s mostly about being English versus being conquered.
Ah, the subtleties of tribalism!
I’m a regular blood donor too, Paul. Nice to hear that your technician “Gets It.” :-) As a lifelong University of Michigan fan, whenever they pull out the red bandage, I tell them, “Sorry, but I’m going to need to request the blue.”
I’m also a regular donor, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything other than a red bandage. I might be wrong, I haven’t given as much as I’ve wanted to since the pandemic. (Although I’m helping host a blood drive at my university in November, so I may request ARC only to bring blue to match our school colors)
Nice getting the green wrap. In my experience they only have it sometimes, it is always red, and if they don’t have it you are stuck with the tape which then rips all your arm hair off on removal.
RE: The Rams unis last night. Happened to scroll past some article on former Ram Andrew Whitworth, and the accompanying photo was of him in the LA years white horns with white jersey and pants. As much as the gold-less helmet and pants caused a problem with the gold trimmed white jersey, I actually found it better looking than what the Rams have now. Perhaps because it simply had various elements which look better. All I could thing was, if only they just recolored that set with royal blue and yellow.
Very impressive work covering everything, Anthony!
Thank you Adam!
At least for the news channels in England, the whole black & white graphics/chyrons I was reading are part of the “Operation London Bridge” in case of her death. They had those ready, and played prerecorded segments to give anchors time to switch to black clothing that was also stashed in case just for this. All the sports teams probably followed the same model with their social media logos.
Is it just me or does Paul’s bandage look more blue than green?
It’s not a perfect match for the green sleeve, but it’s definitely green!
Think it was the colour settings on my monitor. Looks much greener on my phone!
Great job with the lede, Anthony! That’s some great in-depth coverage on the reaction to the Queen’s passing. I particularly appreciated the look into the reactions of teams with ties to movements that don’t necessarily support the monarchy. Very interesting!
I’m only commenting to see the UW+ badge next to my name.
And then today:
The English Premier League postponed all 10 matches scheduled for this upcoming weekend after Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died Thursday at age 96.
EPL officials made the decision Friday morning despite official guidance from the UK government that did not require them to do so. “There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period,” the guidance states.
The Premier League, in a statement, said it chose to pause its season “to honor [the queen’s] extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect.”
Wholly unlike what the NFL did in 1963 when JFK was assassinated.
Great job Anthony, that’s really impressive. One correction though: This weekend’s slate of Premier League games wasn’t canceled, it was postponed.
Not really at all sports related, but in Canada the superior courts of a few provinces changed their names effective immediately.
Anyone who has the title “Queen’s Counsel” gets a new title immediately as well.
The comments on the team’s’ Twitter condolence messages definitely lived down to my expectations.
I subscribed to UW+ today. I gotta say that it is well worth the money. The website is so much easier to navigate without the ads, and you don’t know what you’re missing in the forum. If you’re on the fence I say jump.
Remember the giant portrait of Queen Elizabeth that used to be displayed at old Winnipeg Arena? The new owner of it plans to display it soon.
Great lede today. It is very interesting to see the reaction of Scottish, Welsh, and Irish clubs. Many changes in Canada today within the legal community (crown attorneys) and new Canadians swearing allegiance to the king.