Portugal’s Vitória de Guimarães have a badge so good it wouldn’t look out of place on a film poster.
The Primeira Liga side hail from the city of Guimarães in the north-west of the country and whilst they may not have interrupted Os Três Grandes’ dominance of the division; they have a strong, loyal fan-base who rank their Taça de Portugal victory in 2013 as their finest hour.
Often referred to as the “birthplace of Portugal,” the city’s historic, medieval centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to Vitória Sport Clube, who will celebrate a century of football in 2022.
The figure standing proudly at the centre of their wonderful, monochrome crest is Afonso Henriques, the country’s first king and the man credited with delivering the country’s independence.
To cut a long story short, young Afonso was born in Guimarães and into the ruling nobility of what was then a much smaller County of Portugal.
He battled for power against his mother, renounced treaties with neighbouring powers, headed south to take on the Moors and ultimately established the country’s independence having defeated the real Kings of León; all this whilst doubling the area of Portugal’s borders.
What a fella eh?
No wonder they called him Afonso o Conquistador and why many centuries later a football club should want to be referred to as Os Conquistadores and play their games at the Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques?
The reason this crest is regarded as a classic is not just about the story of Afonso I, it’s down to the execution of the design.
Os Vimaranenses (the ones from Guimarães) have re-styled the badge down the years, evolving each time towards the strong, monochrome shield we see today.
The positioning of the legend, Vitória, in the top left corner of the shield is beautifully done and is necessitated by the black sash that sits behind the main image of Afonso I.
The skillful use of club colours makes the badge look like it’s been carved by hand into oak, or etched onto an old-fashioned printing block.
This really is a stunning piece of craftsmanship.
So let’s raise a toast to Vitória de Guimarães, their first 100 years of football and wish them many, many more to come!