The first badge worn by the football club was the Borough coat of arms. This was used by the club from the 1950’s until replaced by an individual crest of their own.
The Coat of arms, first registered in January 1915, is a Blue shield with a silver pile. This is imposed on a gold anchor, a gold grid iron and underneath is a gold trefoil. The blue background is symblomatic of the town’s coastal location. The gold anchor symbolises St.Clement (Leigh Church), the grid iron represents St.Lawrence (Eastwood) and the trefoil the Holy Trinity (Southchurch).Out of the silver pile rises a vase of lilies representing the Virgin Mary and the parish of Prittlewell. The shield is topped by a red mural crown and a ship’s mast flying the flag of St.George.
Supporting the crest on either side is a medieval fisherman holding a net and a Cluniac monk holding a red book and a staff. The fisherman representing the traditional town industry and the Cluniac monk emblematic of the Cluniac Priory established within the town’s boundary since 1110 AD.
Underneath the crest is a scroll with the motto “Per Mare per ecclesiam” which translates as “By the sea and by the church”
In 1968 the football club adopted its own shield. The design was a traditional shield separated into four quarters with different devices in each corner.
In the top left hand corner are the three curved seaxes on a red background representing the County of Essex. The top right hand corner is an old fashioned paneled leather football. The lower left corner is a silhouette of a shrimp, emblematic of the traditional town industry and also the clubs most enduring nickname “The Shrimpers”. The nickname was certainly used in the clubs early years and a regular cartoon in the Southend Standard newspaper featured a bearded character called “Pa Shrimper”. The lower right corner contained three wavy blue lines symbolizing the nearby River Thames and the town’s coastal heritage.
During the 1970’s the club adopted a second badge which was a football boot design with the word “United” incorporated in the boot shape.
In 1986 the club’s autocratic chairman, Vic Jobson, introduced a new club badge without any consultation with the supporters. He cited copyright problems with the traditional badge but in truth it was symptomatic of his bullish manner which despite on field success would drive an irreparable wedge between Jobson and the supporters.
The shield colouration was changed to the “new” club colours of blue and yellow which had been adopted in the 1985-86 season when the club were sponsored by John Laing a building firm in which Jobson had a major interest.
The seaxes of Essex and the waves were retained but the football and the identifying symbol of the club, the shrimp, were cast aside. In its place was an anchor for some maritime symbolism. The major bone of contention was the shrimp being replaced by a meaningless lion rampant. No explanation was ever given for the presence of a lion.
The badge was replaced by an updated version for the 2000/1 season. The return to a modern incarnation of the original shrimp badge occurred in 2001 following a lengthy campaign by supporters. The old version of the badge had already been adopted by the reformed Southend United Supporters Club.