Historical Football Kits

 

Eminent Victorians

Before professionalism was recognised by the Football Association in 1885, the game was dominated by amateur teams from the south of England, largely drawn from the public schools where the game had originated. In Scotland, thanks mainly to the pioneering efforts of the Queen's Park club, the game quickly took root among the working classes in the 1870s. This gallery features some of these early pioneers, who were later eclipsed by the rise of the professional sides.

wanderers fc 1872

Royal Engineers

Formed in 1862 under the captaincy of Major F Marindin, the army club were beaten FA Cup finalists in 1872, 1874 and 1878, winners in 1875. They were the first to adopt a team approach to the game.

 

Queen's Park

Scotland's oldest club, formed in 1867 competed in the English FA Cup 1872 to 1885. They provided all 11 players for the first Scotland England international in 1872. Scotland still wear navy, white and red, Queen's Park's original colours.

Oxford University

Formed in 1872, the club won the FA Cup in 1874 and were runners up in 1873, 1877 and 1880, the last year they competed. No fewer than 29 players were capped for England.

 

 

Old Etonians

Formed by former pupils of Eton College, the club appeared in six FA Cup Finals, winning the cup in 1879 and 1882. In 1883 they were beaten by Blackburn Olympic in the final. They also played in halved jerseys

Wanderers

Based in Battersea, Wanderers won five FA Cup finals in seven years including the first in 1872. Players were selected from the various former public school clubs but as these began to enter the FA Cup, Wanderers were wound up in 1887.

Crystal Palace

Not to be confused with the modern club, the original Palace was formed in 1861 and competed in the FA Cup between 1872 and 1876 after which they seem to have disbanded.

Peter Manning

 

Old Carthusians

Established in 1875, the club comprised former pupils of Charterhouse School. They won the FA Cup in 1881 and the FA Amateur Cup in 1894 and 1897. The club still exists and plays in the Amateur Football Alliance.

Blackburn Olympic

Formed in 1877, the team was made up of young factory workers. In 1883, Olympic became the first northern club to win the FA Cup, breaking the monopoly of the southern ex-public school teams.

 

Sheffield

On October 24th 1857 the world's oldest football club was born. The members organised matches between themselves and were instrumental in forming the Football Association in 1862. Sheffield continues to thrive to this day.

Clapham Rovers

Formed in 1869, Rovers were runners-up in the 1879 FA Cup and winners the following year. Shortly afterwards the club was wound up. A new club was formed in 1996 and currently plays Sunday League football.

Druids

Wales' oldest club played in Cefn Mawr, near Wrexham and won the Welsh FA Cup eight times in thirteen appearances between 1879 and 1904. They were eclipsed by the rise of professional teams but play to this day.

Hitchin

Formed in 1865, Hitchin played in the first FA Cup. They later turned professional but were wound up during the First World War. Their successor, Hitchin Town, formed in 1928 plays in the Southern League.

Reigate Priory

Priory were formed in 1870 and entered the first FA Cup in 1871-72. They still exist as an amateur side in the Redhill and District Saturday League and have a thriving junior section.

 

Harrow School

Harrow still play their unique version of the game today, with teams competing in the inter-house competition wearing their own unique striped shirts. This kit was probably worn in the annual match with Harrow's old boys team.

Cambridge University

Recent research has revealed that the first attempt to draw up a universal set of rules took place at Cambridge in 1848. The football club entered the FA Cup several times during the late 19th century.

Excelsior FC

The success of this Kent club in local competition led to the formation of New Brompton, one of the first professional clubs in the south in 1893. New Brompton became Gillingham in 1913.

Corinthians

Formed in 1881 to challenge the supremacy of Queen's Park, Corinthians would have won the FA Cup several times but their constitution forbad entering any competition. In 1939 they merged with Casuals FC.

Leyton

Formed in 1868, Leyton are one of London's oldest football club. In 1910 they folded having briefly turned professional. Reformed in 1919, Leyton still exists as an amateur club.

blackheath fc 1870s

upton park fc

civil service fc

barnes fc

Chirk

Founded in 1876, the Colliers are one of the oldest clubs in North Wales. Between 1886 and 1894 they won the Welsh Senior Cup five times but never reached the final again.

 

Earlestown

This side, from Newton-le-Willows, reached three successive Liverpool & District Challenge Cup finals in the 1880s, beating Everton 1-0 in 1884 to win the trophy.

Steve Flanagan

Blackheath

Founder members of the FA, Blackheath later withdrew in protest over the banning of "hacking" (ie kicking opponents' shins). They helped from the Rugby Football Association and still compete at national level.

Upton Park

Formed in 1866, Upton Park played in the first FA Cup. In 1884 they lodged a complaint against Preston NE over payments to players after the northern club had beaten them in the Cup. A year later professionalism was officially recognised.

Peter Ferrette

Civil Service

Founder members of the FA and participants in the first FA Cup, CSFC regularly toured Europe while former players posted as diplomats did much to foster the game around the world. They still play as an amateur side.

Peter Ferrette

Barnes

Some claim that Barnes Club can trace their history back to 1838 but there are no records of any matches until 1862, when they played Richmond. Founder members of the FA and RFU, they played in the FA Cup until 1886.

Peter Ferrette

forest fc 1859

Forest

Not to be confused with Nottingham Forest, this club was formed in 1859 in Leytonstone. In 1864 they fetched up in Battersea Park and became The Wanderers, one of the greatest of all Victorian teams.

Peter Ferrette

1st Surrey Rifles

Association football started out as a pastime for gentlemen, which included Army officers who organised a number of teams. This team competed in the FA Cup between 1872 and 1878.

Peter Ferrette

Gitanos

There is not a lot I can tell you about this team. Based in Battersea Park, they played and lost to Uxbridge in the first 1873-74 FA Cup and were never heard of again.

Peter Ferrette

Wey-side

Aside from a description of their 1870 harlequin jerseys, no other records have survived of this club who were probably based in Surrey. They were one of the first clubs formed in the Home Counties.

Peter Ferrette

Marlow

Also known as Great Marlow FC, Marlow (formed in 1870) holds the unique distinction of having entered every single FA Cup competition since its inception bar 1910-11 when their application arrived a day after the deadline.

Peter Ferrette

Malvern College

One of the many public schools that played their own version of football before the FA drew up the first unified rules in 1863, Malvern's halved jerseys inspired the founders of Blackburn Rovers to adopt a similar design.

Hertfordshire Rangers

Formed around 1865, Rangers featured in the FA Cup between 1875 and 1881. In 1898 they merged with Watford St Peters to form the modern Watford FC. A club bearing the same name was formed in 2001.

Pilgrims

This club first entered the FA Cup in 1873 and appeared every season until 1885 but I can find no trace of them after that.

Uppingham School

In 1862, a teacher at Uppingham School in Rutland, drew up a set of rules that banned hacking and charging players in offside positions. This less violent form found favour with several other public schools at the time.

Sheffield Zulus

Formed in 1879, this team played exhibition games in Sheffield to raise money for widows of the Zulu Wars. Players blacked up and paraded with Zulu regalia before games. They were ordered to disband in 1882 for infringing the amateur rules of the time.

Turton

Formed in Chapeltown, a district of Turton in Bolton, this club dropped the Harrow Rules in 1874 in favour of London Rules, thus becoming one of the first association football clubs in Lancashire. They still exist.

Peter Ferrette

Burnley Rovers

Formed in 1881 as a Rugby Union team, the club disbanded after one season and reformed as Burnley FC, adopting association rules. The Maltese Cross worn on their shirts was a popular motif at the time.

manningham fc kit 1893
aldenham school
hackney black rovers
sheffield mackenzie
sheffield norwich
forrest fc 1869

Manningham

In West Yorkshire rugby was more popular than the association game in the late 19th century. Manningham RFC, formed in 1880, later fell on hard times and became Bradford City AFC in 1903.

Aldenham School

One of the public schools that pioneered the game, Aldenham codified their own form of football in 1825. The school was the location for Lyndsey Anderson's landmark film, If...

Hackney Black Rovers

This team is mentioned in Volume 8 Issue 58 of Blue Blood, George Orr's Historical Everton fanzine.

 

Mackenzie

Based in Sheffield, Mackenzie took part in the Youdon Cup in 1867, the world's first football tournament, played under Sheffield Rules. The name and plaid bonnet suggest a Scottish connection.

Norfolk

Despite the name, this was another Sheffield based club that apeared in the Youdon Cup in 1867.

Forrest (1869)

The second Forrest (or Forest) FC was formed in 1869 after the original team had changed its name to Wanderers. Their unique jerseys were red on the front and black on the reverse.

Peter Ferrette

10th lanarkshire rifle volunteers ist lanarkshire rifle volunteers greenock volunteers 1884 adventurers fc 1890 alexandra athletic 1874 annbank fc 1879

10th Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers

Based in Glasgow between 1884-86, 10th LRV were one of many teams formed by members of Volunteer Regiments. Their knickers were made up of Black Watch tartan.

1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers

Another of the Volunteer Rifle teams, 1st LRV played at Burnbank in Glasgow between 1874 and 1879. The last reference to the team was in 1883.

Greenock Volunteers

Formed in 1884 as 1st Renfrewshire Rifle Volunteers, this team played at senior level 1884-1890 followed by 11 seasons as juniors before winding up in 1901.

Adventurers

This splendidly named club played in Edinburgh between 1888 and 1906. The colours illustrated were worn from 1890 until 1901. For a while they also played in Musselburgh.

Alexandra Athletic

Formed in 1873, Alex played at Cumbernauld Road in Glasgow and were one of the pioneers of the Scottish game. They disappeared in 1884.

Annbank

This Ayrshire team played mainly in regional competition and was wound up in 1920. Illustrated are their original colours from 1879.

arbroath wanderers
athenian fc 1887
balgay fc 1880
blantyre thornhill fc 1875
brechin fc 1888
broughty fc 1882

Arbroath Wanderers

Formed in 1892, Wanderers existed for only eight seasons. Their original colours are recorded simply as "red, blue and chocolate." The graphic shows a likely arrangement.

Athenian

Presumably an amateur team, Athenian played in Edinburgh for just one season, 1887-88 in these wonderful pale blue and primrose "harlequin" shirts.

Balgay

A Dundee side that existed only from 1880 until 1884, Balgay played in maroon and "drab" hoops before switching to black shirts for their last season.

Blantyre Thornhill

Formed in 1875 on the wave of enthusiasm that swept the West of Scotland in the mid-1870s, this Lanarkshire team entered the Scottish Cup in 1876 and then disappeared.

Brechin

This club played between 1888 and 1896 and predates the two teams (Brechin Hearts and Brechin Harp) that merged in 1906 to form Brechin City.

Broughty

Pink was never as popular in Scotland as it was in England but this team, from Broughty Ferry in Angus, are an exception. No record of the colour of their knickers survives so navy is assumed.

caledonian fc
clydesdale fc 1872
dundee hibernian 1879
glasgow hibernian fc
glenarnott thistle
grahamston fc

Caledonian

In the 19th century at least 20 clubs included Caledonia or Caledonian in their name. This team, which played at the Kelvinbridge Cricket Ground in Glasgow is the oldest, formed in 1875.

Clydesdale

Formed in 1872 in Glasgow, Clydesdale were one of the stronger teams in the West of Scotland and contested the first Scottish Cup final but were gradually eclipsed and folded in 1881.

Dundee Hibernian

The first of three clubs with the same title, (the 1909 version became Dundee United), this club wore green like all the other teams that sprang up from the Irish catholic community. It disbanded in 1884.

Glasgow Hibernian

Formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Celtic (formed the previous year), this team folded in 1891.

Glenarnott Thistle

Formed in Ecclefechan in 1897, Thistle wore myrtle green shirts during their brief, two year career.

Grahamston

This Stirlingshire team was formed in 1882, adopting these unusual cream shirts in 1886. they went out of business in 1896.

grasshoppers fc 1875
kinleith fc
kirknitilloch central fc
newton stewart athletic
pollokshields athletic
rob roy fc

Grasshoppers

The graphic shows the Stirlingshire side's original colours from 1875. Formed in Bonnybridge they became Longcroft Thistle in 1886, folding in 1901.

Kinleith

Kinleith played in Edinburgh between 1880 and 1884 wearing an attractive combination of varsity hoops and red hose.

Kirkintilloch Central

Dunbartonshire was, alongside Lanarkshire, the crucible of Scottish football with several teams springing up in Kirkintilloch. Central played 1885-90 in startling blue and orange jerseys.

Newton Stewart Athletic

Based in the Wigtonshire town of Newton Stewart, Athletic existed from 1881 until 1902. They played in these extraordinary gray and chocolate shirts 1891-95.

Pollokshields Athletic

Formed in 1875, Athletic played in this strking outfit between 1884 and 1887. They disappeared in 1890.

Rob Roy

Several teams took inspiration from Scottish literature, none more so than this senior Perthshire team formed in 1878 and disbanded 1899. No fewer than five junior teams also adopted the name.

shotts ironworks fc
stenston thistle fc
thistle fc (Edinburgh)
upper clydesdale fc
vale of atholl fc
whiteinch fc

Shotts Ironworks

This works team existed for a single season (1876-77) and are included for their magnificent magenta shirts.

Stevenston Thistle

Thistle played in the various Ayrshire leagues from their formation in 1885 until their demise in 1903. This attractive maroon and amber top is from 1888-89.

Thistle

This team were based in Edinburgh 1874-1900. A Glasgow club with the same name played briefly in the Scottish League.

Upper Clydesdale

Based in Rutherglen, an area of Glasgow famous for its shipyards, Upper Clydesdale existed for just four seasons from 1878. The red star stitched onto their hooped jerseys makes for a fine contrast.

Vale of Atholl

Formed in Pitlochry as Vale of Athole in 1878, the club never rose above the Perthshire League but are included for these wonderful breeches, made from the Atholl tartan, worn in 1888-89.

Whiteinch

Whiteinch was a shipbuilding district west of Glasgow city centre. The local team formed in 1874 had a one-inch white stripe sewn into the left sleeve of their shirt. White-inch. Oh dear.

dundee harp 1885 royal artillery fc 1894 newcastle association fc 1880 shankhouse black watch fc 1885 tyne association fc 1883 newcastle rangers 1883

Dundee Harp

Following the demise of the old Dundee Hibernian, Harp represented the city's Irish/Catholic population until they were disbanded by order of the SFA in April 1894 for non-payment of match guarantees.

Royal Artillery

Based in Portsmouth, RAFC competed in the Southern League until they were banned for professionalism after players spent a week at a health spa at the army's expense. Portsmouth FC took their place.

Richard Essen

Newcastle Association

Also known as Newcastle FA, the team was formed in 1880 and enjoyed a prominent if brief career, closing down in 1885. They adopted black jerseys in 1884 and then cardinal and light blue quarters.

Shankhouse Black Watch

Shankhouse were one of the strongest of many colliery teams that sprang up in the north-east. Formed in 1884, they played Aston Villa in the 1887-88 FA Cup and reached seven Northumberland Challenge Cup finals between 1885 and 1895.

Tyne Association

The first association club to be formed in Newcastle, Tyne AFC were formed in 1877 and were the city's premier team. They were gradually eclipsed by other sides and closed down in 1887.

Rangers (Newcastle)

Formed in 1878, Rangers were Tyne's main rivals. Initially based in Gateshead before moving to a site on Castle Leazes, which they named St James' Park. Rangers folded in 1885 and their old ground is now home to Newcastle United.

morpeth harriers fc
rendel 1881
st mary 7 st james fc 1884
all saints fc (newcastle) 1882
prudhoe rovers fc 1882
alnwick fc 1879

Morpeth Harriers

A five match marathon against Shankhouse in the Northumberland Cup of 1885-86 failed to reach a result. The captains tossed to see who would go to the final on condition the winner would represent both teams. As a result Morpeth became joint winners even though they did not reach the final.

Rendel

The 1890 Northumberland Challenge Cup final between Rendel and West End was billed as Northumbrians v Scots because the Rendel team was made up of locals while their opponents were mainly Scottish professionals. Shown here are Rendel's original colours from 1881.

St Mary's & St James

One of many minor clubs that sprang up in Newcastle, the team was named for the historic St James' Chapel and the 12th century St Mary Magdalene Hospital that once stood in the area. These colours were worn when they were founded in 1884.

All Saints

Formed in 1882, All Saints played in Newcastle city centre and were the first winners of the Northumberland Junior Cup in 1884.

Prudhoe Rovers

Rovers (formed 1882) were based in the industrial Tyneside village of Prudhoe that boasted a pit and brickworks. In March 1884 they beat East End (now Newcastle United) 4-1.

Alnwick

One of the first clubs formed in the north-east (1879), Alnwick come from the picturesque town of that name in rural Northumberland.

st michaels fc (Alnwick) 1883
stockton fc 1882
sunderland-albion fc 1888
liverpool ramblers fc 1883
hotspur fc 1886
ruabon fc 1876

St Michael's

Properly known as St Michael's Guild Athletic Club, the team were based in Alnwick in northern Northumberland and were formed in 1883. Their distinctive colours were buff and blue.

Stockton

The Cleveland area was a bastion of amateurism in the 1880s and although Stockton flirted briefly with professionalism as did their great rivals, Middlesbrough both swiftly returned to amateurism.

Sunderland Albion

An acrimonious split over payments to players led the founder of Sunderland FC, John Allen, to form a rival club in March 1888. After a bitter running battle with their parent club, Albion closed down in August 1892.

Liverpool Ramblers

Formed in 1883, the Ramblers entered the FA Cup until 1886 since when they have steadfastly stuck to the strictest of amateur principles, playing only friendlies against school and club teams.

Hotspur

Not to be confused with the Spurs from North London, this team was formed in 1878 and played regularly in the FA Cup. By 1886 they were based in Wimbledon but went out of business a decade later.

Ruabon

In October 1876 the records of this venerable north Wales club reveal their new strip would be all-white: jerseys, knickers, socks and turbans.

Dylan Jones