This is a very early action picture of Aston Villa’s Howard Spencer, known as the Prince of Full-backs. It’s a staged photograph, one of a series taken to illustrate a feature on the Villa player in The Book of Football.
The Book of Football was a serialised magazine published in 12 fortnightly instalments during the course of the 1905/06 season. Part one appeared on Friday 20th October 1905 and the concluding part twelve on 23rd March 1906.
Howard Spencer joined Aston Villa in 1892 and went on to enjoy a successful playing career with the club until he retired in 1907 after making 294 appearances in all competitions. He also made six appearances for England. Spencer later joined the Aston Villa board in 1909 serving as a director until 1936.
For any genealogists out there with time on their hands, they may want to research the family connection between one of Aston Villa’s most famous supporters, HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Howard Spencer, “Prince of Full-backs”.