Liverpool born James ‘Jimmy’ Ashcroft started his career with Everton as an amateur, but it was with Woolwich Arsenal that the keeper made his name!
Signed from Gravesend United in 1900, Ashcroft was ever present for The Gunners for his first two seasons with the club. In the 1901/2 season he kept six clean sheets in a row, which at the time of writing is still a club record only equaled by Alex Manninger.
His impressive performances between the sticks earned him three England caps in 1906 against Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the British Home Championships.This makes him Arsenal’s first England international and these badges, which came to us via Jimmy’s family, come from his England shirts worn at the time.
At the time it was commonplace for players to keep the badge, as they were not allowed to keep the shirt itself.
Below is an original photo which came with the badges, showing Jimmy proudly sporting his England shirt and cap.