One of the earliest known England team photographs [courtesy
See notes at bottom of page.
Ten of the team that faced
Standing - Field, Buchanan, Smith, Green, Maynard.
Sitting - Savage, Turner (Umpire), H. Heron, Bambridge, F. Heron.
Front row - Jarrett.
Absent player is Cursham, presumed taking the photo;
The grainy photograph of the England football
team (left) has never before been 'published' in the modern era.
Prior to its posting on this website the 1876 image has been entirely
unknown to the modern generation of football lovers in general and
sports academics in particular. Even the in-house historian of the
Football Association had no knowledge of the picture's existence.
So You & Yesterday may proudly claim a 'world exclusive' - a veritable
football 'scoop' - for this is the earliest image of an England football
team yet discovered. As such it extends the photographic time-line
of international football history by quite some years, for prior to this
the earliest England team pictures known to exist dated only from the
From the Soho Square headquarters of the
Football Association, the organisation's official historian David Barber
said: "We have a number of books on the history of the England
team and the earliest picture I have ever seen dates from the
early-1890s - certainly nothing like 1876. So yes, this is a major
A 'feather in the cap' then for the newspaper
archive of Derby Local Studies library, for it was discovered in a 1920s
edition of the Derbyshire Football Express which the library
holds on old microfilm - hence the rather poor quality of the copied
image. Notwithstanding that, the picture demands to be shown for
its historical rarity alone. Not least because no images of some of the
players have hitherto been known. So at last faces are being put to
names for some of the very first men to wear 'three lions on their
The photograph was taken in Glasgow on 4 March
1876 on the occasion of only the fifth ever international football game
-that between England and Scotland played at the West of Scotland
Cricket Ground, Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow. Scotland emerged
victorious by 3 goals to 0 - the photograph shows ten of the vanquished
England side plus the 'umpire' - the early appellation for the match
controller we now know as a referee.
The original photograph had been sent to the
Derbyshire Football Express - at that time the 'Football Special'
edition of the Derby Telegraph - for inclusion in a
'Bygones'-style feature. Yes, even then the 'heritage business' was
flourishing! The correspondent was 71-year-old Edgar Field - one
of the England players in the photograph - who was living in Littleover,
Derby, at the time.
Edgar Field was born in Wallingford, Berkshire,
on 29 July 1854. He was educated at Lancing College at a time when
'association football' - born in 1863 - was not yet a decade old. He was
a member of the school's football XI in 1870-71. After leaving
Lancing he played first for Clapham Rovers and later for Reading, the
former at that time one of the foremost association sides in the
country. Field had the singular honour of playing in two FA Cup Finals
with Rovers - their 1-0 defeat by Old Etonians in 1879 and a 1-0 victory
over Oxford University in 1880.
He was 'capped' twice for England at full-back
- the photograph was taken on his 1876 debut day when he was aged 21.
His second and final game came 5 years later on 12 March 1881. That too
was against Scotland, this time in England - but yet again the Scots
prevailed......by a healthy margin of 6 goals to 1. Several
sources credit Edgar Field with having scored an own goal in that game -
if that is so, he claims the rather dubious honour of becoming the first
player to score an own goal in an England match. His serious
football career spanned the years 1871 to 1888 and he never received
anything more than 'expenses' for playing. None of the players in
the picture were 'professional footballers' - payment for playing was
not officially sanctioned until 1885. So all were unpaid 'amateurs' -
literally 'lovers' of the game, for those who recognise their Latin
By profession Edgar Field was an accountant -
he practised initially in London, before coming to Derby in 1913 just
prior to the First World War. He joined the Land Agents Messrs Shaw and
Fuller of College Place, Derby, where one of the partners Mr. Fuller was
his brother-in-law. When he submitted his 'Bygones' piece in 1926,
Edgar Field was living in Warwick Avenue, Littleover, still healthy,
very active and continuing to attend the office.
He later moved to 7, Fairfield Road, Derby,
where he died aged 79 on 11 January 1934. No doubt the current occupant
of that modest home - not far from Normanton Park and Littleover village
- has no idea that a pioneering England international footballer once
lived there! In his 'Bygones' interview Edgar Field gave a
fascinating insight into the very early days of association football. Of
himself he said: 'I was hard as nails in those days and thought nothing
of walking for miles. I was almost six feet in height and scaled 13 and
a half stone. I never looked my weight, although opponents at different
times agreed that I felt more'.
So there it is - an evocation of a bygone age
when an early England football player mingled with the good people of
Littleover. Yet the picture may have lain undiscovered for all
time, for it was only by chance that Derby-based author and sports
historian Peter Seddon came across it. He had been looking for
material on the Rams and England star Steve Bloomer in connection with
his latest book - 'Pickles the World Cup Dog and Other Unusual Football
Obituaries' - and had not expected the England 'bonus'.
Peter said of the discovery: "When I saw the
England picture I knew instantly from my knowledge of football history
that it was a significant find. What made it better still was that the
photograph had a direct provenance - a personal link with one of the
players who had appeared in the game, and a citizen of Derby to boot".
The discovery is proof positive too that the 'heritage industry' has
valuable secrets yet to yield. In this case a significant addition to
the England football archive - and the earliest picture of any
international football team yet discovered. - YouAndYesterday.com
seen at a glance that England had not sent her best men to Scotland, but
many of those who did appear were no mean exponents of the 'dribbling
Southrons were heavier men, and the experienced one could foretell that
the condition of the ground would militate materially against their
chance and, as it afterwards turned out, this helped to intensify the
Northern victory. -
Bell's Life in London and
Sporting Chronicle - Sunday 5th March, 1876