Now there is a spot of confusion over this set because some time in early 1914 a set of cards were issued by Churchman, and they showed portraits of footballers, but they did not have a title on the cards; as you might imagine, one had to be found so they could be recorded, so they went down as “Footballers” (A), the (A) standing for adopted title.
However in November 1914 along comes this set, also by Churchman, and would you believe it, it is titled “Footballers”. Luckily the fronts on these were not just portraits, so we were able to tack on an extra bit and say this set is either “incidents in play with inset of player” or “coloured action portraits with black and white portrait inset”. And how we know that this set came second is quite simply that we would have straight away called the untitled set something else other than “Footballers” all over again.
Another curious fact is that our “action” set is recorded to have been printed by Mardon, Son and Hall, but there is no record of the printer of the “portrait” set, and nor is there a month of issue, though most of the sets listed in our original RB.10 Churchman Reference Book do have months with the years, these being actually supplied by Churchman themselves from their own records, as well as records from Mardon, Son and Hall, and what that stands to prove is that the “portrait” set was not printed by Mardon, Son and Hall. Who it was printed by remains a mystery.
Our subject is Percy R. Sands (as in Sands of the Desert, our first clue) and he played for Woolwich Arsenal. He also appears on other cards :
- Taddy & Co “Prominent Footballers” (1908-9 issue) – this card has him as “P. R. Sands”, so it is easy to miss if you search only for his full names, there is no descriptive back. Until at least 1948 this card had only been found with a back design for “Grapnel Mixture, A delightfully cool pipe tobacco, combining the sweetness and fragrance of the better class Virginia Tobaccos with the rich flavour of Latakia....” ( Latakia was, and still is, a Syrian tobacco). However some time after that, this card was discovered with a back design for “Imperial Tobacco, A ripe, full flavoured pipe tobacco, fine cut...” - And he also appears in the 1913-14 issue of these cards, but there he is only as “P. Sands”
- Cohen Weenan “Football Captains” Un/60 (the full title continues with “1907-8 League division 1 series no.5), this also has him as P.R. Sands and it has a descriptive back which tells us he was a Centre half-back but could also play full back. he first played with Woolwich Arsenal as an amateur, and he seems quite a valuable player, probably why he was the Captain.
- Gallaher “Association Football Club Colours” (1910) 80/100 - though the reverse is only about the team not him. The front does have the dates 1909-1910.