A talented all-round sportsman who represented Oxford University at five different sports – a record that remains unmatched – he was also the first captain of the English football team.
Ottaway, a centre forward in an era of seven- and eight-man attacks, was selected to lead the England team in a 0-0 draw against Scotland in Partick on November 30, 1873. The match (that followed several ‘friendlies’) is now recognised as the first full international game. He missed the return fixture in London but again captained his country in the third England-Scotland international on March 7, 1874.
As a club player, Ottaway took part in three successive FA Cup finals between 1873-75, losing with Oxford University in 1873, winning with Oxford a year later, and then representing Old Etonians against Royal Engineers who won in a replay in 1875. He died in London, as a result of complications from ‘a chill caught in the course of a night’s dancing’ aged just 27.
This rare card bearing an advertisement for the Victorian photographic firm Hills & Saunders of Oxford and Cambridge was signed in ink ‘CJ Ottaway Captain 1873’. Offered together with a copy of the 2009 book by Michael Southwick England’s First Football Captain: A Biography of Cuthbert Ottaway 1850-1878, it was guided at a modest £80-120 but took £1900 at Graham Budd.