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This curious photograph of one George Richards is all that we have to convince us that England wore an alternative emblem on their 1909 tour of Austria and Hungary.

Richards made only one full international appearance, against Austria. In keeping with tradition, new international players were photographed (we believe at the expense of the Football Association) in their England shirts and caps. As the cap in this photo is labelled as 1909, we can only presume that this is also the shirt that Richards wore on his one and only appearance.

The emblem appears to have been re-designed, presumably for the tour. This was England's second successive end-of-season tour. The previous year's trip to the same countries, plus Bohemia, was obviously deemed to be such a success that the Football Association wanted to make the 1909 tour another special occasion, hence a newly-commissioned design for the emblem.

What remains a mystery, however, is what happened to the emblem, for it was never seen again. England reverted back to their traditional emblem after the tour, an emblem that they would wear in every game between 1872 and 1948, apart from on this one tour.

The shield in the photo has taken on a more ornamental shape, compared to the almost-square original, the crown on the top of the shield appears to have been given a three-dimensional rendering and the lions have been lengthened, whilst still maintaining the same posture.

If you can shed any more light on this unusual emblem, or on any past England kits, please get in touch.

UPDATE: Having now seen a team group of the England amateur team from 1910 (courtesy of Selwyn Rowley), when they wore a similar emblem, but without the crown on top, I'm now less convinced that the full international squad wore it in the previous year. Richards may not have had his shirt for the photo and may have acquired a different one. However, it is still a possibility, so this page remains until we can ascertain which emblem was worn on the 1909 tour.

Matches in Which England Wore the 1909 Home White Shirt

* based on the above photograph, the others are presumed.

102 29 May 1909 4-2 vs. Hungary, Millenáris Sporttelep, Budapest Fr AW
103 31 May 1909 8-2 vs. Hungary, Millenáris Sporttelep, Budapest AW
104 1 June 1909* 8-1 vs. Austria, Hohe Warte Stadion, Wien AW


England's Record wearing the 1909 Home Shirt
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Away 3 3 0 0 20 5 +15 0 0 6.667 1.667 100.0 +3
Total 3 3 0 0 20 5 +15 0 0 6.667 1.667 100.0 +3