RSS

Category Archives: History

Noel George’s 1921 FA Cup Final jersey

Noel George’s 1921 FA Cup Final jersey

The annals of football history are full of odd stories. One quaint story comes from the Midlands where Lichfield-born Noel George was goalkeeper for Wolverhampton Wanderers for the 1921 FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.

Cup Final

Spurs won the 1921 final with a goal from Jimmy Dimmock but our story concerns the Wolves goalkeeper of the day, Noel George.

George was an imposing figure, often described as a giant. One article made the dubious claim that he could hold the ball between the thumb and forefinger of either hand. Who are we to doubt this claim?

He first came into the Wolves first team during the 1920/21 season when he took Welsh international goalkeeper Teddy Peers place in the side. He played throughout Wolves’ cup run to the final.

Noel George’s Wolves lost to Spurs in the final.

George would cement his place as a regular in the Wolves team for the next six years. However, an illness curtailed his career and he had to retire in the late 1920s. Sadly the illness that ended his career also ended his life, and he passed away at the terribly young age of only 31.

Lichfield 1946

We pick up the Noel George story again in 1946 in Lichfield where this wonderful article appeared in the Lichfield Mercury

Probably the most ancient jersey ever on display in the annals of the Lichfield and District League was on show on Saturday at the Burntwood Rangers – City Institute game. Spectators were amazed at the spectacle of a tattered pain spattered, bottle-green jersey worn by goalkeeper C. Gough, for the Institute, who was obviously proud of his possession.

Gough’s jersey is one with a famous history and came into his possession at the time of his entry into the City Institute club as goalkeeper last season.

The jersey, over 25 years old, had been worn and was the property of one of Lichfield’s foremost and most distinguished footballers – none other than the late Noel George of Molineux fame. Noel George, a colourful figure in national football during the twenties, wore the jersey when keeping goal for the Wolves in the 1921 Stamford Bridge Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur. it was a most thrilling final, as some of our older sportsmen will recall Noel George, wearing the same green jersey, only let one goal past him, and it was the winner for Spurs.

Whether Gough, who has played consistently well in goal for the Institute this season wears the jersey through necessity in these couponless times or for sentimental reasons is a matter for conjecture. But, in any case, the jersey is in good hands and, despite its age and tattered appearance, continues to render good service to the cause of local football.

It’s absolutely wonderful to hear that a jersey from the 1921 Cup Final was still in use after the second World War albeit in a local league. It caused a bit of a stir locally at the time but this story is now long forgotten.

The present whereabouts of said jersey are currently unknown.

Source material from the excellent British Newspaper Archive.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 20, 2019 in History

 

Tags: , , ,

England vs Germany – 4th December 1935

England vs Germany – 4th December 1935

Pictures from England vs Germany from the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News 13th December 1935. Game took place at White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur on 4th December 1935.

Images via British Newspaper Archive.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2018 in History

 

Tags: , ,

Motorcycle football

Motorcycle football

Motorcycle football is an odd beast. As a sport it has emerged and disappeared in many different countries across the world to differing degrees of success. In the early 1930s Wembley was used as a venue for an England vs Germany motorcycle football clash.

The German side faced Watford Motor-cycle club and featured riders who specialised in “hill climbing” and “road racing”.

England vs Germany - March 1930

England vs Germany – March 1930

The Germans continued their tour of England playing matches in both Coventry (at Highfield Road) and Norwich.

Many football clubs seemed to think the advantages of a big crowd would override any consideration of playing surface. Especially after the end of the regular football season.

Coventry vs Germany

Coventry vs Germany

There’s some great footage from British Pathe on youtube of a match that took place in Paris in the mid 1930s, not long after the games in England took place.

Video via British Pathe

Image and article from the British Newspaper Archive.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2018 in History

 

Tags: , ,

Cabbage football in Chesterfield

Cabbage football in Chesterfield

Cartoon “How to fool your husband” from the Stirling Observer – November 16 1944

Steve Bruce has made the news once more for an interesting football oddity. After the re-discovery of the excellent Steve Barnes novels he penned during his time at Huddesfield Town, his reign at Aston Villa was effectively ended when a cabbage was thrown toward him from the crowd.

This isn’t the first time cabbage has played a controversial role in football. In 1928 a group of miners from the north-East got carried away in Chestefield high street, kicking around the versatile vegetable. Unfortunately for the trio it appears they got a little too carried away, attracted up to 600 spectators, and subsequently were ordered to leave the town after appearing in a Chestefield court room.

Like the miners Steve Bruce has been ordered to leave the town and also finds himself looking for work. Somehow history has a way of repeating itself, though this is a script that even Bruce in his Barnes novels would have found a little too far-fetched.

Clipping from The Derbyshire Times, Saturday August 18th 1928. Taken from the excellent British Newspaper Archive.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 4, 2018 in History

 

Tags: ,

How sportswear manufacturers advertised in 1891

How sportswear manufacturers advertised in 1891

For all the changes in football, one thing has remained constant throughout the 150 years of its history. The advertisements for football goods have remained a source of great interest. The adverts from the 19th Century displayed below have some fantastic descriptions. The recent World Cup balls such as the Tango, Telstar and Jabulani evoke certain memories, but what of the 19th Century footballs, the “Special Club”, “Football King”, “Centre-Half” or “Victor”?

The idea that a football could be marketed as “The Scottish” is probably unthinkable today, but it happened in 1891. It was also absolutely fine to advertise as follows “These footballs have stood the test for years, and have been played with in cup ties throughout the United Kingdom and America. They are unequaled for quality and workmanship. Once used always used.”.

Enjoy reading through these adverts, all come from local newspapers and sourced from the ever wonderful British Newspaper Archive.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 29, 2018 in History

 

Tags: , ,

Dogs at the football

Dogs at the football

One of the greatest accounts on twitter is @nonleaguedogs. The pure simplicity of pictures of dogs against a backdrop of grassroots football is irresistible. However, it’s not just modern social media that’s abuzz with interest in dogs at football games. There are many forgotten stories of pups at games and we present those to you here.

The beautifully presented images of the dog below are of Pompey the footballing dog who would entertain the crowds at half-time at Fratton Park during the early part of the 20th Century.

pompey dog sketch jan 9 1907

The Sketch, 9th Jan 1907

If in Portsmouth dogs were demoted to only appearing during the interval we can see in the Midlands things weren’t so simple. In the Midlands in the latter part of the 19th Century during a Birmingham Cup tie between Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion a remarkable tale emerged of a dog entering the field of play…

Leicester Chronicle, March 10th 1888

Leicester Chronicle, March 10th 1888

While we may like to think that the link between dogs and sport is a steadfast one, it’s certainly not as well known as that between alcoholic beverages and football. This case from Glasgow (published in the Dundee Courier) demonstrates how dogs are often a man’s best friend.

Dundee Courier, 4th April 1899

Dundee Courier, 4th April 1899

As we’ve seen, dogs accompanying their owners to football or even escaping their owners and entering the field of play was certainly a common story at the start of the 20th Century. However, there’s one final remarkable tale of a dog who loved football so much he traveled to games solo.

Aberdeen Press & Journal, 14th Jan 1924

Aberdeen Press & Journal, 14th Jan 1924

As marvellous as these stories are, it’s hard not to think that they may have been embellished in some way. The tales are almost too good to be true. Even if these magnificent articles are not as truthful as they are presented, they’re certainly lovely to read.

All articles from the wonderful britishnewspaperarchive.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 19, 2017 in History

 

Tags: , , ,

19th Century football advertisements

19th Century football advertisements

Reading through old copies of late 19th Century copies of Athletic News is an interesting hobby. It has unearthed some excellent adverts meant to attract football clubs and players into buying their wares.

William Shillock of Birmingham advertised his sporting goods in the Athletic News in 1899. Only four years earlier it was from his shop window in Newtown Road that the FA Cup was stolen. It was on display after Villa’s FA Cup win and was never recovered. However, this didn’t appear to affect Shillock’s reputation as he was clearly still very much in business during 1899.

botos

Shillock’s advert claimed that was the inventor and maker of the lace to toe football boot boasting that they were “STILL THE BEST” and that they had an “INDESTRUCTIBLE TOE”. The list of clubs that use these “celebrated boots” include some great 19th Century football names such as Newton Heath (Manchester United), Woolwich Arsenal (Arsenal), Leicester Fosse (Leicester City) and Glossop North End.

ball

Obviously footballs were clearly an important aspect of sporting advertisement, and from William Shillock you could buy “The McGregor”. A ball that was used in “the International match England v Scotland and the English Cup Final”. If the McGregor was a little too pricey you could always opt for the excellently named Bulldog, Endurance or Junior League ball, demonstrating that footballs have always had evocative names long before the “Mitre Delta” or “Jabulani”.
shirts_shillockYou’ve got your boots, you’ve got your football, now all you need is a shirt to proudly wear. Shillock claims his shirts are splendid quality and offers such delights as sash, stars or crosses on his shirts. He makes a similar claim that you can buy “indestructible” shirts to go with your indestructible football boot toes.
trophy

William Shillock wasn’t the only businessmen advertising his goods in the Athletic News. Fattorini & Sons who would later make the FA Cup that is still in use to this day.

alecwatson

 

A direct rival for William Shillock was Alec Watson who supplied a wide array of footballing goods from Shin Guards to “Knickers”. He appears especially proud of his butonless football, the Globe used for “Final Cup Ties and Principal Matches”. The buttonless football comes in many styles with lovely names, Champion, Chrome, Triumph, Alert, League & Wonder being your options.

turnstile

Perhaps my favourite football advertisment in the Athletic News is for turnstiles. It may seem an odd thing to advertise, but football was going through a great expansion and clubs needed a way to control their crowds a little more easily.

Source: The wonderful British Newspaper Archive. Athletic News February 27 1899, August 7 1899 & August 14 1899.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 13, 2017 in History

 

Tags: , , ,

Edgar Kail’s wedding cake

Edgar Kail’s wedding cake

Edgar Kail is a name that’s perhaps not that familiar to many football fans. However, to Dulwich Hamlet fans he is a legend whose name is often still sung at Champion Hill.

Kail was one of the final great amateur footballers. He was the last footballer at an amateur club to be selected by England when he appeared three times for his country on a continental tour of Europe. He even scored two goals against France in Paris during the tour.

Kail spent the whole of his career at Dulwich Hamlet (a charity game for Scotland’s Queen’s Park aside), winning a Charity Shield as part of the Amateurs side (it was Professionals vs Amateurs at Wembley in those days), plus a couple of Amateur Cups for Hamlet. But what I want to discuss in this short piece is the marvelous picture of his wedding day which appeared in The Sketch newspaper on the 27th February 1926.

Kail on his wedding day

Kail on his wedding day

On first glance it may seem like the perfect photo, the groom alongside his bride, cutting the wedding cake. However, there are a few different interesting aspects to point out with regards to this page of The Sketch newspaper.

  1. That a wedding between an amateur footballer should be seen as significant enough to gain a whole page in a newspaper.
  2. That the page was entitled “Women in Sport” – marrying a sportsman being enough to qualify for this apparently?
  3. That the cake topper for the wedding cake is actually of a goal being scored.

Goal!

Goal!

Edgar Kail obviously had an understanding bride.

Pictures and information from the excellent: http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 10, 2017 in History, Non League

 

Tags: ,

1945 – Albert Osakwe, Oxford University captain

1945 – Albert Osakwe, Oxford University captain

In the first half of the 20th Century it was a rare for black footballers to play professionally in England, so it was a surprise to me when I came across Albert Osakwe, who captained the Oxford University side against Cambridge University at Dulwich Hamlet in 1945.

Oxford and Cambridge captains shake hands before game at Dulwich Hamlet.

1945 – Oxford and Cambridge captains shake hands before game at Dulwich Hamlet. Note the wonderfully marked out centre-spot.

University sport in England has never really hit the heights that it has in the United States. The only event that even comes close to the American college football matches is the boat race between Oxford and Cambridge. It’s not just the boat race that Oxford and Cambridge compete against one another, varsity rugby games and football games have been regular fixtures over the years.

The Cambridge side Osakwe's Oxford faced.

1945 – The Cambridge side Osakwe’s Oxford faced.

After the second world war, the varsity football matches between Cambridge and Oxford resumed, with one of the first matches being held at the famous non-league club Dulwich Hamlet in London.

Captains

1945 – Captains

Not only did Oxford University include Albert Osakwe, from Lagos in Nigeria, in their line-up, he also captained the Oxford University side. Playing at inside-left he scored in his side’s 2-1 victory over Cambridge in 1944. However, he could not repeat his goal-scoring exploits in 1945, with the two teams playing out a 1-1 draw.

1944 - Goal scorer

1944 – Goal scorer

Albert Osakwe, inside-left, captain, goalscorer, trailblazer and nice jumper.

All images and information from the excellent http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 5, 2017 in History

 

Tags: , , , ,

Football in Top Hats: The intervarsity rag at Cambridge 1946

Football in Top Hats: The intervarsity rag at Cambridge 1946

I’ve recently spent some time trawling through some old newspapers, and whilst doing so came across some lovely photos of an inter-varsity football match between Oxford and Cambridge universities. These sorts of “crazy” charity football matches were quite commonplace in the early and mid 20th Century, often featuring people dressed as policemen, clowns, (or even in some cases, women). I’ve included the pictures below as well as the text below. They come from “The Sphere” newspaper, edition: December 14th 1946.

The teams

The teams

Some of the bearded and bewhiskered participants in the football match between “fifteen gentlemen of Caius College, Cambridge, and fifteen sportsmen of Oxford”. During the morning there were carnival scenes in the town.

playing

MATCH ACTION

The match was played with three balls, coloured red, yellow and green. Caius won the toss and kicking off two of the three balls, they soon went ahead, and when they were returned victors 6 to 4 they saw to it that their rivals from oxford paid for the “kilderkin of good English ale” which they all drank in the clubhouse at the end of the game.

The beard and hat may have fallen off but the fun continues

The beard and hat may have fallen off but the fun continues

Only once was there a foul. It began in a mid-field melee and the defaulters were then hauled before the governor of the game for an old-fashioned admonishment delivered in Latin.

policeman

Policeman and the Penny-Farthing

The spectators in period costume had the time of their lives. One man arrived on a “penny-farthing” cycle, much to the amusement of a real sergeant of police who attended the game in his official capacity.

Man with a gouty foot

Man with a gouty foot

The gentleman with a gouty foot made a thorough tour of Cambridge during the course of the day and was a prominent figure on the sidelines at the big match. At half-time in the game the nobility and gentry of Cambridge and Oxfordshire – and a good many other places besides – paraded across the field and quite obviously enjoyed themselves immensely.

Images and a lot of the text from the incomparably brilliant British Newspaper Archive.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 9, 2017 in History