original illustrations of the kits worn during the season
Change Kit (probable)
The Season in brief
With the team filled with Scottish imports it was a Welshman that rejuvenated the 'Heathens' fortunes. Caesar Augustus Llewellyn Jenkyns arrived from Woolwich Arsenal in May 1896 and was immediately given the captaincy. At fourteen stone and five foot ten he had a reputation for crunching tackles and fierce shoulder charges and was exactly what the team needed.
The 'Heathens' led the table until late October, top spot being surrendered to Notts County. The two teams met on December 19th at Trent Bridge. With County a goal up at the interval Jenkyns' tackles grew increasingly wild as he tried to muscle the 'Heathens' back into the game. Eventually the referee send him off - and he became the first 'Heathen' to be dismissed.
The club progressed to the F.A. Cup quarter finals, beaten for the second successive year at Derby County's Baseball Ground. Fittingly it was a 2-0 victory over Jenkyns' old club on April 3rd that guaranteed Newton Heath the runners up spot and a test match place. Unfortunately they finished bottom of the four team mini-League.
Newton Heath's registered colours are given as white and blue in the Association of Football Statistics annual covering the 1896/97 season. This information was confirmed by contributor Pete Wyatt. We have based the design of the home shirt on the shirt worn the previous season and from later photographic evidence. In all probability the committee would have decided upon the change on purely pragmatic grounds. White shirts remained the cheapest option. Although we have not found evidence of any 'Heathens' change kit for 1896/97, it is likely from later photographic evidence, and what we know of the club's perilous financial plight, that they would have used kits from earlier seasons.