This curious photograph of one
George Richards is all that we have to convince us that England wore an
alternative emblem on their 1909 tour of Austria and Hungary.
Richards made only one full
international appearance, against Austria. In keeping with tradition, new
international players were photographed (we believe at the expense of the
Football Association) in their England shirts and caps. As the cap in this photo
is labelled as 1909, we can only presume that this is also the shirt that
Richards wore on his one and only appearance.
The emblem appears to have been
re-designed, presumably for the tour. This was England's second successive
end-of-season tour. The previous year's trip to the same countries, plus
Bohemia, was obviously deemed to be such a success that the Football Association
wanted to make the 1909 tour another special occasion, hence a
newly-commissioned design for the emblem.
What remains a mystery, however, is
what happened to the emblem, for it was never seen again. England reverted back
to their traditional emblem after the tour, an emblem that they would wear in
every game between 1872 and 1948, apart from on this one tour.
The shield in the photo has taken on
a more ornamental shape, compared to the almost-square original, the crown on
the top of the shield appears to have been given a three-dimensional rendering
and the lions have been lengthened, whilst still maintaining the same posture.
If you can shed any more
light on this unusual emblem, or on any past England kits, please
get in touch.
UPDATE: Having now seen a team group of the
England amateur team from 1910 (courtesy of Selwyn Rowley), when they wore a
similar emblem, but without the crown on top, I'm now less convinced that the
full international squad wore it in the previous year. Richards may not have had
his shirt for the photo and may have acquired a different one. However, it is
still a possibility, so this page remains until we can ascertain which emblem
was worn on the 1909 tour.