Douglas benefit matchbox

Links With The Past: George Douglas Memorabilia

Club Historian John Hutchinson's Links with The Past series continues with look at memorabilia from over 100 years ago associated with George Douglas, who played for Leicester Fosse and Leicester City before and after the First World War.
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This tin matchbox cover, above, is nearly 102 years old. On the spine of the cover are the words 'Souvenir of George Douglas. Benefit Sept 25th 1920. Leicester City v Birmingham'. On one side of the cover is a picture of Leicester City player George Douglas. 

On the other side, there is a photograph of the Foxes team from 1920/21, wearing, for the last season they were worn, blue and white vertically striped shirts, pictured below. This strip was due to a shortage of blue dye in the aftermath of the First World War.  

A couple of years after adding this matchbox cover to the Club’s heritage collection, we met, quite by chance, a community policeman on matchday duty at the stadium. His name is Steve Douglas, who is the grandson of George. As a result of our initial chat, Steve donated to the Club a remarkable collection of memorabilia belonging to George, the man who scored the first-ever goal for the newly formed Leicester City in August 1919. 

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Douglas benefit matchbox
Douglas benefit matchbox

The Leicester City squad of the time features on the matchbox design.

These remarkable items included a fragile teamsheet for the English Schools Final between Sunderland Boys and West Ham Boys (for whom George was centre-forward and captain). Steve also showed us George’s England shirt crest, which he wore when he won an England amateur cap in 1913.

Another item was George’s professional three-year contract (also pictured, below) with Leicester Fosse, which ran from 1913 to 1916.

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George Douglas Fosse contract
George Douglas Fosse contract

George Douglas' Fosse contract is also included in the precious archive.

He was paid £4 a week. It is signed by Fosse manager Jack Bartlett, by George and by his father Robert Douglas, a vaccination officer from Essex. The contract was terminated in April 1915 when League Football was suspended due to the First World War.

Steve went on to say how George then coached future England cricket captain Colin Cowdrey at Tunbridge Wells School, ran a sports shop in Tunbridge and, in later life, worked as a water bailiff checking rod licenses on the Medway.

All of these items are now in the Club’s collection and many of them are on display in the reception area at the stadium. 

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