John Players was established in 1877 and they first issued cigarette cards in 1893, however it wasn’t until 1926 when their first football cigarette cards were released. These were known as “Football Caricatures by Rip”. (Rip being an artist called R.P.Hill)
“Football Caricatures by RIP”
The set proved very popular and in 1927 another set of caricature cigarette cards was issued, this time drawn by Douglas Machin, the title of these was unsurprisingly “Football Caricatures by Mac” !!
“Football Caricatures by MAC”
We do have full sets of both series for sale on our main football memorabilia site Footybits.
By now Players had truly realised the benefits of football cigarette cards and soon issued another set of 50 titled “Footballers 1928”, these colour tinted cards featured action shots of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh Footballers, strangely enough they also included some Rugby players !!
Just over four months later in February 1929 another set of 25 was issued, very imaginatively named “Footballers 1928-29, 2nd Series”, these again featured top footballers, for some reason though the Irish and Scots players don’t seem to have been featured.
“Footballers 1928-29 2nd Series”
There was then a small gap before another set of 50 football cigarette cards appeared, these were called “Association Cup Winners” and featured the players from cup winning sides of the era.
“Association Cup Winners”
We do have full sets of these for sale on our main football memorabilia site Footybits
The final set of football cigarette cards from John Players was released in 1934 and was titled “Hints on association football”. These cards offered advice on different areas of the game, the scenarios and skills being portrayed in colour on the cigarette card. Some interesting “hints” included cards titled – “When Wing Men Should Close In”, “Centre Half As Third Back” and “When Not To Shoot” !!
These are still very common and full sets can be picked up quite easily for around the tenner mark.