We have relied first of all on the
Football Association website's chronological list of pre-war captains, which notes the first and last years
each one served as captain although not the particular matches in which they
served as captain or the total number of matches they served as captain.
We have given full credence to that list since the Football Association keeps
the official England team records. We have also relied on the
post-World War II match-by-match lists of captains in the Football Association
yearbooks for various years, although we believe they are not entirely free of
We also have relied on four books which contain match-by-match captain
lists: Ron Hockings
& Keir Radnedge, Nations of Europe,
vol. 1 (Articulate, Ernsworth, Hampshire, U.K., 1993); Mike Payne,
England: The Complete Post-War Record
(Breedon Books Publishing Company, Derby, U.K., 1993);
International Federation of Football
History & Statistics, England (1872 - 1940), Eire (1924 - 1940),
England/Amateurs (1906 - 1940): Full Internationals (IFFHS,
Wiesbaden, Germany, 2000); and Andrew Mourant
& Jack Rollin, The Essential
History of England (Headline Book Publishing, London, 2002). These
books contain some inconsistencies regarding the captains for particular
matches, but we believe we have been able to
resolve them satisfactorily through resort to the F.A. records and/or other reputable sources.
*Match No. 5, 4 March 1876, Scotland
3 England 0 - Hockings/Radnedge and Mourant/Rollin say G. Hubert H. Heron was
captain, while the IFFHS says it was his younger brother, C. Francis W. Heron.
On the face of it, it would seem the elder brother, Hubert, was the more
likely captain since he was earning the fourth of five caps while Francis was
winning his one and only cap. However, the seminal Scottish source, Alan Brown's Scottish Football Data Services
website, has the captain as Francis Heron. Moreover, the F.A. list has Francis Heron as
a captain in 1876, but does not mention Hubert Heron as a captain in any year,
and that settles the matter for us.
No. 39, 15 March 1890, Ireland 1 England 9 - Hockings/Radnedge is silent
as to the captain, while both the IFFHS and Mourant/Rollin say it was James H.
Forrest. The F.A. lists Forrest as serving as captain in 1890 and
only 1890, and it is settled that Percy M. Walters was the captain for
the two other matches England played in 1890. We have thus gone for
Forrest as captain, although the matter is not free from doubt.
Football historian Cris Freddi, himself the author of a book on
the England team, has done extensive research in the English and Irish
newspapers of the time and has not found a single contemporaneous record of
England's captain for the match. In correspondence with this website, he
has questioned whether Forrest was in fact the captain. It is
perhaps noteworthy that this is one of the three instances in the 1890's in
which England fielded separate sides against Wales and Ireland on the same
45, 5 March 1892, Ireland 0 England 2 - Hockings/Radnedge is silent on
the captain, while both the IFFHS and Mourant/Rollin say it was Harry B.
Daft. The F.A. lists Daft as a captain in 1892 and only 1892, and it is
settled that Arthur T. B. Dunn was captain in the two other matches England
played that year. We have therefore gone for Daft, but, again, the
matter is not free of doubt because Cris Freddi's extensive research has
failed to turn up a single contemporaneous record of England's captain for the
match and he has questioned whether Daft was in fact the captain. This
is another of the three instances in the 1890's in which England fielded
separate sides against Wales and Ireland on the same day.
No. 51, 12 March 1894, Wales 1 England 5 - Mourant/Rollin has Robert C.
Gosling as captain, Hockings/Radnedge is silent, and the IFFHS has Charles
Wreford-Brown. The F.A. lists Wreford-Brown as serving as captain in
1894, but does not
list Gosling as captain in any year. That is decisive for us,
particularly since it is settled that John Goodall and Robert Holmes were the
captains for the only other matches in 1894.
No. 55, 6 April 1895, England 3 Scotland 0 -
Hockings/Radnedge say Robert C. Gosling was captain, and the IFFHS says it was
John Goodall. The F.A. list does not mention Gosling as captain in any
year, but it does say Goodall served as captain in 1895. Since it
is settled that Robert Holmes and Charles Wreford-Brown were the captains for
the only other matches in 1895, we are satisfied that Goodall was captain for
No. 56, 7 March 1896, Ireland 0 England 2 -
Hockings/Radnedge has George B. Raikes
as captain, but both Mourant/Rollin and the IFFHS have Gilbert O. Smith.
The F.A. list does not mention Raikes as captain for any year, but it does say
Smith was captain in 1896, although not too much should be read into
that latter fact because Smith indisputably captained the side in two other
matches in 1896. Raikes was never an England captain, and
so we accept Smith as captain for this match as well.
No. 64, 2 April 1898, Scotland 1 England 3 - Hockings/Radnedge and
Mourant/Rollin have Charles Wreford-Brown as captain, while the IFFHS has
Gilbert O. Smith. The F.A. list says Wreford-Brown last served as
captain in 1895, three years before this match, while the years it has for
Smith's first and last matches as captain, 1896 and 1901, fall either side of
the year of this match. More convincing,
pre-eminent Scottish source, Alan Brown's Scottish Football Data Services
website, also says Smith captained England in this match.
No. 82, 9 April 1904, Scotland 0 England 1 - Hockings/Radnedge has Stanley S. Harris
as captain, while both Mourant/Rollin and the IFFHS both have Robert Crompton.
The F.A. list says Harris did not first serve as captain until the next year,
1905, while the years it has for Crompton's first and last matches as captain,
1903 and 1914, embrace the year of this match. Furthermore, Alan Brown's
authoritative Scottish Football
Data Services website also says Crompton captained England in this
No. 109, 13 March 1911, England 3 Wales 0 -
Hockings/Radnedge has Robert Crompton
as captain, while Mourant/Rollin and the IFFHS both have Vivian
J. Woodward. The F.A. list says that Woodward last served as captain in
1911, and this is the only 1911 match in which he could conceivably have
served as captain, since it is indisputable that Crompton was captain in the
other two matches played that year.
*Match No. 134, 10 May 1923,
France 1 England 4 - The IFFHS has Frederick N. Creek as captain, while both
Hockings/Radnedge and Mourant/Rollin have Charles Buchan. The F.A. list
does not mention Creek as captain in any year, but it does say Buchan last
served as captain in 1923, and since it is settled that the captains in other
matches played that year were players other than Buchan, we are satisfied he
was captain in this match.
*Match No. 171, 10 May 1930,
Germany 3 England 3 - The IFFHS has F. Roy Goodall as captain, while both
Hockings/Radnedge and Mourant/Rollin have David B. N. Jack. The F.A.
list does not resolve this dispute. A contemporaneous match report from
The Observer refers to Jack as the captain. Moreover, a match summary
prepared by the Association of Football Statisticians, the scholarly football
history organisation based in England, lists Jack as captain. We believe
Jack was the captain.
*Match No. 172, 14 May 1930, Austria 0 England 0 -
As in the match against Germany, which immediately preceded this match, the IFFHS has F. Roy Goodall as captain, while both Hockings/Radnedge and
Mourant/Rollin have David B. N. Jack. The F.A. list does not resolve
this dispute. Because the IFFHS was wrong about the captain for the
Germany match and because it was usual that the same player remained captain throughout a Continental European tour, we believe Jack was the
*Match No. 177, 16 May 1931,
Belgium 1 England 4 - The IFFHS has F. Roy Goodall as captain while both
Hockings/Radnedge and Mourant/Rollin have Alfred H. Strange. The F.A.
list does not resolve this dispute. We have decided on Strange, although
we are not entirely free of doubt. The F.A. list says Strange served as
captain only in 1931, we have another source--an old list of England pre-war
captains from the defunct England team website of sponsor Green Flag--which
says Strange served as captain in three matches, and this one would have to be
included to give him three captaincies in 1931.
*Match No. 226, 24 May 1939,
Romania 0 England 2 - The IFFHS has George C. Male as captain, while both
Hockings/Radnedge and Mourant/Rollin have Stanley Cullis. The F.A. list
has Cullis serving as captain in 1939, and since it is settled that Edris A.
Hapgood was captain for the other three matches played that year, Cullis must
have been captain for this match. Moreover, the F.A. list has Male last
serving as captain in 1937, two years before this match. Finally, the
IFFHS nowhere lists Cullis as an England captain, and yet the English football
literature is littered with references to Cullis as an England captain.
*Match No. 441, 21 April 1970, England 3 Northern Ireland 1
- Who could forget the
night Bobby Charlton led the team out at Wembley as captain when he became
the second England player to earn 100 caps? Football Association
yearbooks from the 1980s and 1990s credit Bobby Moore with
captaining England that night, but the F.A. yearbooks from the 1970s and other
sources--Payne, Hockings/Radnedge and Mourant/Rollin--give proper due
to Charlton. Apparently, admiration for Moore led to an
outburst of historical revisionism which gave him the additional captaincy he needed to become the leader in captaincies with 91, one
more than Billy Wright's 90. Much as some of Moore's admirers
might wish otherwise, Charlton was not merely an honourary or ceremonial captain the
night of his 100th cap, and Moore remains level with Wright as the leader in
captaincies with 90, which is still the world record.
Match No. 668, 6 February 1991, England 2 Cameroon 0, and
Match No. 669, 27 March 1991, England 1 Republic of Ireland 1 - For some time the F.A. yearbooks indicated that Bryan Robson captained England in
these two successive matches at Wembley, and authoritative works on the
England team--Payne, Hockings/Radnedge and Mourant--agree. More recent
F.A. yearbooks, however, have credited Gary Lineker with captaining England in those two matches.
Robson, who had served as England's regular captain until
he was injured at the World Cup 1990 final tournament in Italy, was returning
after a long absence, and Lineker had taken over as captain for the three
matches played while Robson was out. Initially, in the absence of
evidence to the contrary, we presumed the F.A. had corrected what were
mistakes in its earlier yearbooks, and that
the other works had picked up the mistakes. Now, however, we have
consulted contemporaneous reports from the London Times which show that
manager Graham Taylor gave the captaincy back to Robson for these two matches,
a decision which was greeted with a great deal of criticism on the grounds it
destroyed continuity on the team and might undermine Lineker's morale. We have thus credited
Lineker with 18 captaincies instead of 20 and Robson with 65 rather than 63.
Match No. 739, 11
October 1997, Italy 0 England 0 - Who could ever forget Paul Ince--his
head swathed in bandaging, his shirt bloodied but his captain's armband still
firmly in place--directing his team against Italy in Rome on October 11, 1997
in the scorelsess draw that gave England first place in their World Cup 1998
qualifying group and relegated Italy to qualification play-off as a second
place team? Recent F.A. yearbooks credit Tony Adams with captaining England
that night, and Mourant/Rollin picks up that mistake. It is an assertion
belied by photographic evidence (right) as well as contemporary match reports,
and it is one Adams certainly does not make, as shown by the list in his fine
autobiography, Addicted (1998), of England matches in which he
served as captain.