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England's Uniforms

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David Barber

England's Uniform
March18
80 to May1902

1872 Uniform
1903 Uniform
 
 
 

P 67 W 44 D 11 L 12 F 248: A 80
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England probably began the new decade in a set of collared shirts, the first issued by the Football Association. It was a timely intervention by the governing body, as players were turning up in a variety of club colours up until this point.

The F.A. Council meeting minutes recorded that a sum of �7.2s was paid to Gann, Root & Co. for jerseys 1879-80. This was a firm of hosiers, tailors and general outfitters, with a shop at 171, Fenchurch Street, London. It is doubtful that they realised their place in English football history, but it was to be a short-lived one, for just three years later, the company was bankrupt. Nevertheless, the style of dress shirt that was supplied was to stand the England team in good stead until 1954! Interestingly, the purchase was described as 'jerseys' rather than 'shirts' and it was 'jerseys' that the F.A. continued to purchase in subsequent years, though unfortunately, they did not record who they bought the jerseys from after 1883.

This period was also notable for the emergence of commercial photography studios and there are many pictures available today of the England players of the 1880s and '90s posing proudly in their England shirts and caps. Without exception, they are all pictured in collared shirts, with four buttons down the front, and with the badge on the left breast. It appears that the F.A. paid for these photographs, and, from 1886 onwards, also supplied players with commemorative caps to wear on these occasions. They were given purple caps for games with Scotland, red for Wales and white for Ireland, and each cap often represented a number of appearances against the same opposition. It is still very common to describe a player's total appearances in terms of caps won, but in truth, the number of caps won is always less than the number of appearances. In fact, it is probably true to say that no England player has ever won a hundred caps.

There is an intriguing photo of Charlie Bambridge (click here to see it), taken in around 1886, which gives us a tantalising glimpse of a style that was about to die out. He is wearing the collared shirt, with a knitted jumper over the top. It looks like a photo of a cricketer, but Bambridge, one of three brothers to play for England, was one of the top footballers of the 1880s. The presence of the badge on the jumper must surely mean that it was worn in matches. It seems difficult to imagine the whole team being issued with knitwear, so we can perhaps conclude that his outfit was just his own preference. The fact that he was a senior member of the team and had scored 11 goals in 18 internationals may have afforded him the luxury of his own distinctive attire, but he was not the only one to appear like this.

Although England now had uniform shirts, the players were still expected to provide the rest of their kit. A drawing from the 1883 game against Scotland at Sheffield depicts players in both white and dark knickers, and they are still wearing their own caps.

By 1884, the friendly meetings with their near neighbours had been transformed into the Home International (British) Championship, the world's first international competition. Meanwhile, wealthy factory and mill owners in the north of England were attracting players to their clubs by paying them and achieving some success as a result. These players, understandably, were then selected to play for their country. This caused friction as it challenged the established amateur ethos of the international game and, in 1885, Scotland objected to one of the England players, Jimmy Forrest, because he was a professional. As a compromise, he was forced to wear the colours of his club, Blackburn Rovers, which were light blue and white. Forrest had already been photographed with the England badge on his Blackburn shirt, in a team group after his club had won the previous year's F.A. Cup.

The earliest known photograph of the England team at a match (click here to see it) is from the fixture with Scotland at Ewood Park, Blackburn in 1891. By this time, they had discarded the caps worn in earlier games and the knickerbockers had been replaced by dark shorts, though some England players still wore white shorts up until 1897, when the F.A., presumably, insisted that players wear dark blue shorts from then on. Socks were still a combination of colours. Interestingly, the goalkeeper, Billy Moon is wearing a woollen jersey at a time when 'keepers did not have to wear a different top to the outfield players. It appears that goalkeepers could choose whether to wear a different jersey or not. Those that did not differ, were distinguishable on the field by the fact that they wore a cap.

Towards the end of the 1890s, the shape of the badge was altered slightly, possibly due to more sophisticated sewing machines being available. A change shirt was probably used in an unofficial international against Germany in 1901, but the four-buttoned white shirt with badge, entered the twentieth century as England's established attire for every full international.

Matches in Which England Wore the 1880 Home White Shirt

* these games are based on photographic evidence, the rest are presumed.

1879-80
10 13 March 1880 4-5 vs. Scotland, Hampden Park, Hampden Terrace, Glasgow Fr AL
11 15 March 1880 3-2 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham AW
1880-81
12 26 February 1881 0-1 vs. Wales, East Lancashire Cricket Club, Alexandra Meadows, Dukes Brow, Blackburn Fr HL
13 12 March 1881 1-6 vs. Scotland, Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London HL
1881-82
14 18 February 1882 13-0 vs. Ireland, Knock Ground, Bloomfield, Belfast Fr AW
15 11 March 1882 1-5 vs. Scotland, Hampden Park, Hampden Terrace, Glasgow AL
16 13 March 1882 3-5 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham AL
1882-83
17 3 February 1883 5-0 vs. Wales, Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London Fr HW
18 24 February 1883 7-0 vs. Ireland, Liverpool Cricket Ground, Aigburth Road, Aigburth, Liverpool HW
19 10 March 1883 2-3 vs. Scotland, Bramall Lane, Little Sheffield, Sheffield HL
1883-84
20 23 February 1884 8-1 vs. Ireland, Ulster Cricket Ground, Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast BC AW
21 15 March 1884 0-1 vs. Scotland, Cathkin Park, Cathcart Road, Glasgow AL
22 17 March 1884 4-0 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham AW
1884-85
23 28 February 1885 4-0 vs. Ireland, Manchester Football Ground, Upper Chorlton Road, Whalley Range, Manchester BC HW
24 14 March 1885 1-1 vs. Wales, Leamington Street, Mile End, Blackburn HD
25 21 March 1885 1-1 vs. Scotland, Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London HD
1885-86
26 13 March 1886 6-1 vs. Ireland, Ulster Cricket Ground, Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast BC AW
27 27 March 1886 1-1 vs. Scotland, Hampden Park, Crosshill, Glasgow AD
28 29 March 1886 3-1 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham AW
1886-87
29 5 February 1887 7-0 vs. Ireland, Bramall Lane, Little Sheffield, Sheffield BC HW
30 26 February 1887 4-0 vs. Wales, Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London HW
31 19 March 1887 2-3 vs. Scotland, Leamington Street, Mile End, Blackburn HL
1887-88
32 4 February 1888 5-1 vs. Wales, Nantwich Road, Crewe BC HW
Notes Despite being played on English soil, this was still a Welsh home match.  Moved from Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham at the last moment.
33 17 March 1888 5-0 vs. Scotland, Hampden Park, Crosshill, Glasgow BC AW
34 7 April 1888 5-1 vs. Ireland, Ulster Cricket Ground, Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast AW
1888-89
35 23 February 1889 4-1 vs. Wales, Victoria Ground, Stoke-Upon-Trent BC HW
36 2 March 1889 6-1 vs. Ireland, Anfield Road, Liverpool HW
37 13 April 1889 2-3 vs. Scotland, Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London HL
1889-90
38# 15 March 1890 3-1 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham BC AW
38# 15 March 1890 9-1 vs. Ireland, Ulster Cricket Ground, Ballynafeigh Park, Belfast AW
Notes # please note that the matches with identical match numbers and match dates, were both played on those given dates.
40 5 April 1890 1-1 vs. Scotland, Hampden Park, Crosshill, Glasgow BC AD
1890-91
41# 7 March 1891 4-1 vs. Wales, Newcastle Road, Sunderland BC HW
41# 7 March 1891 6-1 vs. Ireland, Molineux, Waterloo Road North, St.Peter's, Wolverhampton HW
Notes # please note that the matches with identical match numbers and match dates, were both played on those given dates.
43 6 April 1891* 2-1 vs. Scotland, Ewood Park, Blackburn BC HW
1891-92
44# 5 March 1892 2-0 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham BC AW
44# 5 March 1892* 2-0 vs. Ireland, Solitude Ground, Cliftonville, Belfast AW
Notes # please note that the matches with identical match numbers and match dates, were both played on those given dates.
46 2 April 1892* 4-1 vs. Scotland, Ibrox Park, Copland Road, Glasgow BC AW
1892-93
47 26 February 1893 6-1 vs. Ireland, Wellington Road Football Ground, Perry Barr, Birmingham BC HW
48 13 March 1893 6-0 vs. Wales, Victoria Ground, Boothen, Stoke-on-Trent HW
49 1 April 1893* 5-2 vs. Scotland, Athletic Ground, Kew Foot Road, Richmond, London HW
1893-94
50 3 March 1894 2-2 vs. Ireland, Solitude Ground, Cliftonville, Belfast BC AD
51 12 March 1894 5-1 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham AW
52 7 April 1894 2-2 vs. Scotland, Parkhead, Glasgow AD
1894-95
53 9 March 1895* 9-0 vs. Ireland, Derbyshire County Cricket Ground, Nottingham Road, Derby BC HW
54 18 March 1895* 1-1 vs. Wales, Recreation Ground, Queen's Club, West Kensington, London HD
55 6 April 1895* 3-0 vs. Scotland, Goodison Park, Liverpool HW
1895-96
56 7 March 1896 2-0 vs. Ireland, Solitude Ground, Cliftonville, Belfast BC AW
57 16 March 1896 9-1 vs. Wales, Arms Park, Cardiff AW
58 4 April 1896* 1-2 vs. Scotland, Parkhead, Glasgow AL
1896-97
59 20 February 1897 6-0 vs. Ireland, Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, Nottingham BC HW
60 29 March 1897 4-0 vs. Wales, Bramall Lane, Little Sheffield, Sheffield HW
61 3 April 1897* 1-2 vs. Scotland, Sports Arena, Crystal Palace Park, Penge, London HL
1897-98
62 5 March 1898* 3-2 vs. Ireland, Solitude Ground, Cliftonville, Belfast BC AW
63 28 March 1898 3-0 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham AW
64 2 April 1898 3-1 vs. Scotland, Parkhead, Glasgow AW
1898-99
65 18 February 1899 13-2 vs. Ireland, Roker Park, Sunderland BC HW
66 20 March 1899 4-0 vs. Wales, Ashton Gate, Bristol HW
67 8 April 1899 2-1 vs. Scotland, Aston Lower Grounds, Birmingham HW
1899-1900
68 17 March 1900 2-0 vs. Ireland, Lansdowne Road, Dublin BC AW
69 26 March 1900 1-1 vs. Wales, Arms Park, Cardiff AD
70 7 April 1900 1-4 vs. Scotland, Parkhead, Glasgow AL
1900-01
71 9 March 1901 3-0 vs. Ireland, The Dell, Milton Road, The Common, Southampton BC HW
72 18 March 1901 6-0 vs. Wales, St. James' Park, Gallowgate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne HW
73 30 March 1901* 2-2 vs. Scotland, Sports Arena, Crystal Palace Park, Penge, London HD
1901-02
74 3 March 1902 0-0 vs. Wales, Racecourse Ground, Mold Road, Wrexham BC AD
75 22 March 1902 1-0 vs. Ireland, Balmoral Showgrounds, Balmoral, Belfast AW
76 3 May 1902 2-2 vs. Scotland, Aston Lower Grounds, Birmingham HD

 

England's Record wearing the 1880 Home Shirt
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Home 34 23 5 6 136 37 +99 1 13 4.00 1.088 75.0 +17
Away 33 21 6 6 112 43 +69 2 10 3.394 1.303 72.7 +15
Total 67 44 11 12 248 80 +168 3 23 3.701 1.194 73.9 +32

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