AS the 1990s approached, rugby league clubs began trying to rejuvenate themselves – and it may well be the case again under new shareholders IMG.
With the onset of the summer game and the proposed ‘Super League’, clubs then began to reinvent themselves with a new brand – although some had already led the way in this regard years earlier.
Castleford had become the Castleford Tigers in 1992, Leeds the Leeds Rhinos in 1996 and Wigan the Wigan Warriors in 1997.
Bradford became known as the Bulls in 1996 whilst Huddersfield had flirted with two other name changes (Barracudas and then Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants) before becoming the Giants at the turn of the 2000s.
Warrington added Wolves for the 1997 Super League season, though London had become the Broncos in 1994 after a name change from the Crusaders.
Hull, of course, had previously been Hull Sharks before ‘Hull FC’ was adopted whilst bitter rivals Hull KR continued their long tradition with Kingston Rovers.
Oldham became the Bears for 1996, Salford became the Reds in 1995 and then City Reds in 1998 before becoming the Red Devils in 2013.
Leigh have had the most recent name change, going from Centurions to Leopards whilst Wakefield Trinity dropped the Wildcats midway through 2016.
This begs the question, do Super League, Championship and League One clubs need the nicknames or should they revert back to tradition?
It has certainly helped Wakefield whose badge looks a lot slicker and whose name means a lot more following the dropping of ‘Wildcats.’
Perhaps as in the advent of Super League, will the new shareholders, IMG, go for a big rebrand? The company is already intent on changing the names of the top flight and second tier, would a rebrand of the clubs also be included?
It would be interesting to see, if requested, how clubs would respond to potentially being asked.