It has been a long 18 months for the University of East London’s American Football team, but they have finally completed the transformation from UEL Titans and are now officially known as the UEL Phoenix.
The UEL Phoenix are starting their new season in November under a brand-new name but what were the reasons behind the name change? According to head coach Greg Ivison, it was, “due to the university wanting to have all teams having the same name and uniform colours.”
A move like this is not unique as City University recently underwent the same change this summer from the Sentinels to Wolfpack.
However, the move hasn’t gone down well with many people within the UEL organisation. Ivison said, “We were initially frustrated by this as we had built a strong bond under the Titans banner, however we understood the reasoning and got behind it.”
It is also understood that there are issues concerning branding. Ivison went on to say, “It is frustrating that after 18 months a logo hasn’t been decided on for us to use on our helmets and in our publicity.”
Club president Louis Oswald also weighed in on the subject. “We’ve been waiting for the University to officially announce [a logo] for over a year now.”
One key aspect that the team are lacking is funding, that was said to be coming with the name change. “It’s rather frustrating as we were promised more backing with the change which hasn’t come to fruition either. Our club is desperate for new equipment and investment and sponsorship is what we need,” Oswald added.
However, from UEL’s standpoint, the university are doing their best to prepare the Phoenix for the upcoming season.
James Kilden, Sports Development Manager, said that in terms of rebranding, “The team are doing everything they can in order to get the logos ready, but they are going to take time. The process is ongoing as we speak and we should have a logo ready for the Phoenix soon.”
One key topic that James also spoke about was funding. Uniforms were paid for by the university with the option for the players to purchase the uniforms themselves.
Instead, the players opted for the university to buy them which suited everyone. However, as many players who have departed have taken equipment and uniform, it has led to a shortage for current athletes who are in need of equipment.
With the season underway and not enough equipment to supply the players the issues are clear. However, the team are eager to leave these issues aside and focus on the preparation needed when they face Anglia Ruskin in their first game of the season.