Everton’s new badge draws ire of supporters

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Gross. Hideous. Tragic.

These are only a few of the words that describe Everton’s newly designed badge (pictured, at right), which has come under heavy criticism by fans of one of English football’s founding members.

The original badge, created by club secretary Theo Kelly in 1938, featured a tower wrapped by a fence line. Over the years the fence line has disappeared and each adaptation has included additional towers, wreaths and the club motto, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum (“nothing but the best is good enough”). The new creation is the first in Everton history with just one of those defining characteristics (the tower).

The current design, released yesterday, has removed all of these iconic symbols but for a single, plain tower. The biggest complaint concerns the removal of the wreaths and the motto, aspects that the club – in a meeting between Everton and their Shareholders’ Association- described as signifying heritage, history and tradition. The decision to keep the club’s founding date (1878) and the word “Everton”, have been kept as the club pursues new marketing directives.

Fans, however, see the club’s marketing goals as being strong evidence of a club that’s growing increasingly out of touch with its fan base. Making matters worse, Everton’s official site claims that the new “modern” design was allegedly created “following an extensive consultation process with fans, supporters’ groups and branding experts,” which includes Season Ticket Holders, Supporters’ Club officials, Corporate Members, Shareholders, fans from the Everton Disabled Supporters Association, Nike and Kitbag.

This claim has drawn the massive ire of the fans who, upon the leak earlier this spring, voiced strong opposition to the badge’s comical nature. Disregarding these opinions, the club nevertheless released the new badge. Since the unveiling more than 10,000 supporters have taken to a vote over fansite Toffeeweb with 91% disliking the new design (64% hating it, 27% did not liking it, 7% liking it and 2% loving it).

And while rumors exist that the club may be open to new changes, it’s highly unlikely anything will change before next season as the new shirts and merchandise have already been ordered.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the design in the poll below, comments, and/or by sending the club a message over Twitter @Everton.

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.