Card of the Day - 2023-05-27

Wills Scissors Football Club colours
W.D. & H.O. Wills `Scissors` brand [tobacco : UK] “Football Club Colours” (September 1907) Un/50 – W675-500 : W62-357 : W/220

This card related to June because the Norwich City Football team was founded on the 17th of June 1902 at a meeting held at the Criterion Cafe in Norwich. Its original name was the Norwich Church of England Young Men's Society Football Club, but that was soon shortened to "Norwich City". At that time they were part of the  Norfolk and Suffolk League, and in their first season they finished third. They joined the Southern League a couple of years later. But their original name lives on, in all its lengthy glory, as part of the Anglian Combination Football League, which was founded in 1964, and now has over a hundred local teams taking part.

Our football correspondent, Bowbara, tells us this card shows the Norwich City strip that was worn between 1903 and 1907, which was before they changed to the yellow strip that led to them becoming known as "The Canaries". These bright little birds were part of local history, for one of the many influxes  of workers to the area from the Low Countries saw them accompanied by their feathered friends who kept them company, and kept them amused, whilst they worked. You can also see a canary, on a football, on the club crest. Humorously, when they moved to their new ground it then became known as "The Canary`s Nest",  or just "The Nest". And he also, amazingly, tells me that the player shown on this card can be identified, as Davie Ross. 

But at the time our card was issued this was all in the future - and our team had another nickname, which was "The Citizens". That name disappeared, but lives again with the Community Sports Foundation, who run many local fundraising events to help people in need, all thanks to a network of truly wonderful volunteers - who are called The Canary Citizens.

Our original Wills reference book part four tells us that this set is :  

220. 50 FOOTBALL CLUB COLOURS (adopted title). Size 63 x 36 m/m. Unnumbered. Fronts per fig.85 lithographed in colour. Backs in red, horizontal; illustration of closed “Scissors” packet on left, panel inscribed “Special Army Quality” on right, “Scissors” issue, between 1905-10.

It then has a list of the teams, in alphabetical order. But I can do better, or rather our friends at the Football Cartophilic Exchange can! Check out their Scissors/FCC page which shows all the cards. 

I do wonder why the captions on the front are so light - or is it that the ink faded after all this time and that at the time they shone out bright and clear? I say that because some remain more readable, but also because if you look about you will see that the cards do vary, and just because you have a light caption on your card, it does not mean you will not find a darker one on your travels. 

Most of the names are still going strong, but I do wonder at the fates of Gainsborough Trinity, Glossop, and Leicester Fosse.

The entry in our original World Tobacco Issues Index takes a bit of finding as it is under section 4, “Export issues quoting certain brands”, and then as part of sub-section 4G, for “Scissors Cigarettes”, which, the header tells us, were issued in India, and in areas where British Garrisons were stationed, between 1904 and 1927. The description is simply : "FOOTBALL CLUB COLOURS (A). Sm. 63 x 36. Unnd. (50). See W/220"

And though this description is repeated in our updated World Tobacco Issues Index, the set has moved on to sub-section 5G.