1878-1881 a k n
1886-1890 a k s z
1891-1899 a b g k
1900-1903 a e k v
1905-1910 a b k v
1910-1915 a k
1920-1921 a k
1922-1924 a v
1924-1930 a k t v
1934-Feb 1935 k
March 1935-1936 v
Oct 1936 t
1936-1939 b f k
1939-1940 a k
1942-1943 a k
1945-1946 a h k
1946-1947 a b k
1949-1953 d k
1955-1958 b d i k
1958-1961 i s
1961-1962 i s
1961-1962 late i s
1962-1963 early q s
1963-1965 k s v
Aug-Nov 1973 l
Nov 1973-1974 x
1981-1983 c h B
1983-March 1984 x
March-May 1984 x B
1987-1988 c j p
1988-1989 c p
1989-1990 c j m
Aug-Dec 1991 w
Jan-May 1992 c w
1995-1997 c j o
1997-1998 c o
2001-2003 c j
2003-2005 b j
Sheffield is the crucible of football, boasting the world's oldest clubs, Sheffield FC and Hallam FC formed in 1857 and 1860 respectively. On Wednesday 4th September 1867 the Wednesday Cricket Club formed a football branch to keep members together during the winter season. The cricket team played on Wednesday afternoons when members, craftsmen, shopkeepers and clerks, had a half day off work. The new club was officially named The Wednesday Cricket & Football Club. Although they were frequently referred to as Sheffield Wednesday, the club did not formally adopt this title until 1929.
In their first ever game, The Wednesday defeated the Mechanics Club by three goals and four "rouges" to nil. Under "Sheffield Rules", the goal posts were four yards apart and a second pair of vertical posts stood four yards to either side. If the ball passed between these outer posts and was touched down by the attacking side, a rouge was scored: if teams finished level on goals, the one with the most rouges was the winner. The club's colours were royal blue and white although this was before the introduction of uniform kits. Players wore whatever they had to hand adorned by royal blue caps, scarves or sashes. The club has retained these colours throughout its long history.
A press report of a match on 14 January 1876 describes the team as wearing "blue striped jerseys and smuggler's caps, look(ing) all the world like Dutch sailors." The team photograph from three years later reproduced above shows various styles of jersey and two players are wearing self-coloured tops one of which bears what may be the crest of the Sheffield FA. Furthermore various knickerbockers, ducks and hose are apparent. This motley appearance was typical of the period when players provided their own kit.
In The Romance of the Wednesday 1867-1926, the author records that Wednesday wore "blue and white quarters like Blackburn Rovers" in 1886-87. In 1890 their shirts were described as "blue and white butcher's stripes."
By 1883 the club was one of the strongest in the country and the footballers split from the cricket club arguing that they earned all the money while the cricketers merely spent it. In 1886 the club secretary forgot to submit Wednesday's application to the English FA Cup in time and several leading players defected to a local works side, Lockwood Brothers FC in order to play in the competition. They then threatened to form a breakaway professional club, Sheffield Rovers, but after protracted negotiations they were persuaded to return to The Wednesday in return for payment of 5 shillings (25p) per home game and 7/6d (37.5p) for an away game. On 22 April 1887, The Wednesday formally became a professional team.
Wednesday were overlooked when the Football League was founded in 1888 so the club president formed the rival Football Alliance in 1889, winning the championship at the first attempt. They also reached the FA Cup final, the first Yorkshire team to do so, but were beaten by Blackburn Rovers. A white rose was embroidered onto the pale blue shirts worn in this match.
In 1892 the Alliance was incorporated into the Football League as Division Two and in the process The Wednesday were elected to play in Division One. After two consecutive semi-final appearances The Wednesday won the FA Cup in 1896. After a single season in Division Two (1898-99) the club were First Division champions in 1903 and 1904 and won the FA Cup again in 1907.
In 1920 the club were again relegated but returned as Division Two champions in 1926 and went on to win consecutive Division One titles for the second time (1929 and 1930). Around 1929 the club formally adopted the title of "Sheffield Wednesday." In 1935 they won the FA Cup for the third time. As was now customary, the city's coat of arms were worn on the shirts in the final. Two years later, Wednesday were back in Division Two.
In the final year of wartime competition (1945-46), Wednesday were unable to obtain their traditional vertical blue and white shirts so played in hooped jerseys instead, a style they had previously worn in the reign of Queen Victoria.
During the 1950s, the "Owls" (the club's home is in the Owlerton district of Sheffield) were promoted and relegated between the top two divisions with bewildering frequency. The club's first official crest was adopted in 1956 but was never used on the team's shirts. This featured an owl, which would become the regular motif of future crests along with the club's Latin motto (which translates as "By Wisdom and Courage").
The 1960s were spent in the First Division and included an FA Cup final appearance in 1966 (in which the old crest appeared for the first and last time). This period saw a departure from Wednesday's traditional stripes when a smart blue shirt with white sleeves was adopted. In 1970 Wednesday were relegated and in 1975 they dropped into the Third Division for the first time.
The striped shirts were reinstated in 1972, now for the first time with blue shorts, and the following season a stylised outline of an owl appeared on the players' shirts. This became one of the most iconic of all the "animal badges" and has been worn (apart from a break 1995-99) ever since in one form or another.
In 1980 the Owls were promoted back to Division Two and only four years later the club was back in the First Division. At this stage the crest was modified to include the club's initials. This badge appeared in blue and gold, as shown, or in white.
Apart from one season in Division Two (1990-91), Wednesday became firmly established at the top for the next twenty years. In the 1992-93 season they visited Wembley four times for a League Cup Final, FA Cup semi-final final and replay. However, they ended the season without adding any silverware to the trophy cabinet.
In 1995 a new crest was adopted with an altogether more traditional feel to it. The original version had a blue and white background, echoing the team's traditional striped shirts but this was replaced by a plain white background in 1997.
In 1999 the previous crest was replaced by a simplified version that reintroduced the popular, stylised owl as the centrepiece.
Wednesday began another downward cycle that took them to the depths of the third tier in 2003. After narrowly avoiding relegation to the basement in 2004, Wednesday returned to the second tier (now the Championship) via the play-offs in 2005. After several campaigns of mixed fortunes, the club was relegated to League One on the last day of the 2009-10 season.
Superstitious supporters favour a blue central stripe on the players' shirts, regarding white central stripes as unlucky.
In a landmark deal in England, Wednesday and Sheffield United shared the same sponsors in 2011-12. Wednesday wore the logo of a Volkswagen dealership on their home shirts and that of Westfield Health Insurance Company on their away shirts while United reversed the arrangement. This followed concern expressed by local businesses that by sponsoring one club and not the other some supporters would be alienated from their brand. Similar concerns had led to Celtic and Rangers sharing sponsorship over a decade earlier.
- (a) The Owls - this is an excellent hobby site run by Andrew Drake with a superb history section including a graphic kit history
- (b) Sheffield Wednesday Official Website
- (c) Sporting Heroes
- (d) Football Focus
- (e) Bury FC - Images of Sport (Peter Cullen 1998) | Buy from Amazon.co.uk
- (f) The Football Encyclopaedia (Associated Sporting Press 1934) Information provided by Arthur Fergus
- (g) Association of Football Statisticians - provided by Pete Wyatt
- (h) Lee Allott
- (i) Pete's Picture Palace
- (j) David King
- (k) Sheffield Wednesday 1867-1967 (Images of Sport - Nick Johnson 2003)
- (l) Alick Milne
- (m) Steven Draper
- (n) www.chrishobbs.com
- (o) Mark Wild
- (p) Christopher Worrall
- (q) Roger Law
- (r) David Rice
- (s) Paul Clarkson
- (t) Simon Monks
- (u) Andrew Drake (Sheffield Wednesday History)
- (v) Keith Ellis (HFK Research Associate)
- (w) Mark Etches
- (x) Bulldog1867
- (y) Darrin Foss
- (z) The Romance of The Wednesday 1867-1926 (Richard Sparling 1997) provided by Ben Bebbington
- (A) Nick Bruzon
- (B) Old Football Shirts
Crests are the property of Sheffield Wednesday FC