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England's Caps


The caps awarded Alf Ramsey in 1953 for England's
matches against the Rest of the World [FIFA] and Uruguay

The cap Ray Wilson earned 
for the 1965 match against Yugoslavia


On 10 May 1886, the Football Association Committee approved a proposal, authored by N. L. Jackson, a famous Old Corinthian, reading:  "That all players taking part for England in future international matches be presented with a white silk cap with red rose embroidered on the front. These to be termed 'International Caps.' "  

This was the beginning of the tradition under which England players are awarded caps for their international appearances.  So entrenched did the tradition become that in common parlance a player who has made, say, 25 appearances for England is said to have 25 caps or to have been capped 25 times.

Technically this is incorrect because the award of a cap is no longer synonymous with an international appearance..  At first caps were awarded for every international appearance, and today caps are still given for each stand-alone friendly match.  But only a single cap is awarded for each tournament in which a player takes part.  Thus a player receives only one cap no matter how many qualifying or final tournament matches he plays in a single World Cup or European Championship competition. 

The first caps were of royal blue velvet, not white silk, as Jackson envisioned.  They bore a rose at the front and the match date on the peak.  Later, the initial letter of the opposition--"S" for Scotland, for example--was added to the peak.  Eventually, the full name of the opponent was used.  Other changes included the addition of a silver tassle and replacement of the rose with the three lions emblem.  

The caps are still made of blue velvet, although on occasion green has been used.  They are supplied by the Midlands firm Toye, Kenning & Spencer.