original illustrations of the kits worn during the season
Possible Change Kit
Possible Change Kit
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.
There is less certainty of the club's change kit. A new change kit would have been needed as white shirts were common amongst League clubs and although we have not found contemporary evidence of any 'Heathens' change kit for 1896/97, we know from later seasons that they wore a striped shirt. Given the club's increasing perilous financial plight, it is probable that ther new change kit introduced in 1896 would have been used for several years.
We had assumed that the green/gold striped home shirts from 1893 were used as a change kit, but a match report from Newton Heath's game at Walsall in January 1899 describes the change shirt as a "red and black combination". This shirt may have been borrowed for the game at Fellows Park, although equally it could have been the club's standard change kit.
We have included both shirts as possible change kits. Our research is continuing.