A letter to the Halifax Evening Courier, signed by ‘Old Sport’, drew the attention of a group of city fathers. The letter, published on 20 April 1911, suggested the setting up of a football club in an area dominated by both rugby codes. The Saddle Hotel became the scene of an assembly on 23 May 1911, during which ‘Old Sport’ revealed his true identity as Mr. A.E. Jones. He declined an official role in the club and so the pioneers behind the club’s first years became Dr. A.H. Muir and Joe McClelland, respectively president and club secretary. Halifax Town first played at Sandhall, a patch of land taken over from a munitions factory, quite close to Thrum Hall. Although it was only used for a few years,the ground was turned into quite a reasonable venue.
After the First World War hostilities had ended Halifax Town were reformed in June 1919. The directors managed to secure a lease at the Exley Ground, the former home of Salterhebbe Rugby Club. Due to its lack of facilities it was always considered to be a temporary home. They found their present home, The Shay, in 1921, on a site of a former council rubbish dump. The ground’s name gave them their nickname The Shaymen.
Halifax Town adopted the blue and white colours used by both rugby codes in the town – even today the Rugby League Superleague team are the Halifax Blue Sox. In a desire to emulate success the striped format may have been influenced by neighbouring Huddersfield Town.
Black and white stripes made a fleeting appearance in the early 1900s. During the 1930’s Halifax Town starting sporting all blue shirts. In 1952, the much imitated claret and blue colours of Aston Villa and Burnley were introduced but the familiar blue shirts returned in 1960 and white sleeves were added in 1971.
In the early Seventies the club tried a new and distinctive style of tangerine and sky-blue, innovatively wearing numbers on the front of the shirts – an idea that only reached the world stage with the World Cup in the USA in 1994!. The tangerine and blue hung around for a season or two as trimmings to an all white kit, but since the mid-seventies Halifax Town have played in blue and white, albeit in a variety of designs.
Halifax Town belong to a very small band of clubs that did not adopt the town’s coat of arms as their initial emblem. The first crest shows a blue and white quartered shield with the letters HTFC. The town’s arms were embraced, first in 1974, only to be replaced one year later, by a horrid design with the multiple use of the letters HTFC, set in a circle. The arms came back in 1988.
So, the present crest of Halifax is also the towns coat of arms, granted in 1948. The arms are based upon an unofficial device, adopted a century earlier. The gold and blue squares, forming a chequered shield, are taken from the arms of the Earl of Warrenne, who was Lord of Halifax under the Norman Kings. The ‘halez fax’ in the shield, an allusion to the name of the town, from the Old Norman for ‘holy face’, is that of St John the Baptist, to whom the parish church is dedicated. The Baptist’s symbol is the Holy Lamb, because it was he who hailed Jesus as ‘the lamb of God’. On account of this symbol, St John became the patron saint of wool merchants. Halifax owed its early prosperity to the wool trade and therefore it is appropiate that the lamb appears in the crest, standing on a Saxon crown. This crown denotes that the manor was held before Norman times by Edward the Confessor. The supporters, denoting a borough, are British lions tinctured gold, each holding a White Rose of York. The motto, a quotation from the psalms, is “Except the Lord keep the City”.