In 1946 England and the other Home Nations rejoined FIFA and took part in the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup for the first time, the British Home Championship serving as a qualifying competition throughout the 50s. Despite the presence of some of England's greatest ever internationalist, including Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews, participation exposed just how far England had fallen behind the leading European and South American teams.
Designer: St Blaise, Hope Brothers, Umbro
When England resumed international football in 1946, the team wore plain navy stockings but against opponents wearing blue, navy or black socks, players wore red instead. This was such a frequent occurrence that almost half of their games between 1946 and 1952 were played in red stockings.
1949-Oct 1953 Alternate
29 June 1950 v USA World Cup Finals
9 May 1951 v Argentina
May 1953 South American Tour
Oct 1953-Apr 1954
Oct 1953-Apr 1954 Alternate
20 June 1954 v Switzerland
26 June 1954 v Uruguay
Designer: St Blaise, Hope Brothers (1949-1952) Umbro (1952-1954)
In 1949 a new crest, designed by the College of Arms was introduced: the traditional three lions were redesigned and ten tudor roses added, one for each of the FA regions and the badge was enhanced by a crescent shaped scroll with the name of England's opponent and the year.
England had rejoined FIFA in 1946 and in 1950, they entered the World Cup for the first time. After a famous defeat at the hands of the United States, England failed to progress beyond the first round. The blue change shirts worn for the occasion were immediately dropped and the next time colours clashed, the team wore red instead (with orange numbers no less).
In 1952 Umbro were awarded an exclusive contract to supply England's playing kit.
In 1953 England were beaten at home 3-6 by Hungary, the first time a team from outside the British Isles had won at Wembley. This was followed by a 1-7 thrashing in the return game but the FA establishment was slow to absorb the lessons and the team continued to be picked by committee. The team then went on tour to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay wearing short sleeved shirts, the FA being apparently unaware that May is the onset of Autumn in these countries. Short sleeves were reinstated for the summer internationals in May 1954.
2 Oct 1954 v N Ireland
10 Nov 1954-1957
No change kit used between 1956 and 1959
1957-1960 v Wales
27 Nov 1957 v France
1958 World Cup Finals
13 May 1959 v Brazil
17 May 1959 v Peru
24 May 1959 v Mexico
28 May 1959 v USA
15 May 1960 v Spain
Designer: Umbro (Bukta supplied some kits in 1959)
The FA international committee may not have concluded that they needed to change their approach to picking and coaching the team but they did introduce a new streamlined playing kit (popularly known as "Continental"), worn for the first time on November 10 1954 against Wales. The colour of England's stockings varied between red and navy (navy with white turnovers were the official first choice until 1956) as before and the numbers on players' shirts were coordinated to match them. The red change kit was used only twice, in games against West Germany.
In 1956-57 red socks with white turnovers became England's first choice, the old navy and white sets were used only when red clashed with their opponents' stockings.
In 1957 the old bulky woollen stockings were replaced with modern lightweight versions in all-red with a white hoop at the calf. Navy sets were used for games against Wales, France, the USSR and other teams who wore red stockings. For the 1958 World Cup the scroll underneath the crest was dispensed with due to the difficulty of producing these should England progress beyond the group stage.
Three variants appeared on the South American tour of 1959 including a revival of the blue shirt last seen when England lost against the United States. A 1-4 thrashing at the hands of Peru has ensured that England have never worn blue shirts since. The new white stockings with red and blue bands introduced for the game against Mexico were also used against Yugoslavia in May 1960.
Navy stockings with a white calf band were worn against Wales between 1957 and 1960 and also against the USSR on 22 October 1958.
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