The World’s Greatest Football Annual? – A brief guide to Charles Buchan’s Soccer Gift Book

Posted: 13th May 2014



Well was it?

The World’s Greatest Football Annual?

There are no research statistics and no sales figures about the boys’ football annuals. But if there were, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Charles Buchan’s Soccer Gift Book would rank very highly if not at the top of the popularity and sales rankings amongst all the boys’ football annuals.

Not only was the annual marketed aggressively but had a ready made captive target audience in the vast numbers of boys who had become members of Charles Buchan’s Boys’ Club, an entity he had set up through the Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly magazine in order to build loyalty and to promote that publication.

Indeed, the magazine had been in circulation for just over 2 years since September 1951, when the first Charles Buchan’s Soccer Gift Book was produced for the 1953/54 season.

If we conducted an image survey in addition to looking at sales statistics, we might even find that any such figures might well support the claim, printed on the front of the annual from 1962/63 onwards that the Soccer Gift Book was indeed, ‘The World’s Greatest Football Annual’.

But whether an appropriate description or football annual publishing hype, the Soccer Gift Book, published between 1953 and 1974 in 21 editions was hugely popular and a creation of the former Sunderland, Arsenal and England player Charles Buchan.

This post is quite long and will look first at the general story of the book and then finish with a season by season, book by book summary including a front cover visual and all the main club and player photographic and feature content.

Buchan (often referred to as Charlie) had become a journalist after retiring, taking up a job with the News Chronicle where he wrote for the newspaper and edited their small pocket football annual.

But in the early 1950’s, Buchan identified the opportunity for a regular football magazine to meet the growing post war interest in the game. His magazine, launched in August 1951,  became a big hit, especially in the 1950’s and onwards after his death in 1960, until it closed in 1974.

Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly was launched in 1951 and spawned the Soccer Gift Book shortly after.

Here is Number 41 from January 1955;


As the magazine’s circulation grew, at its’ height selling 254,000 copies a month, perhaps it was an obvious decision to launch an annual to sit alongside the magazine? Whatever the rationale, the first issue of the Charles Buchan’s Soccer Gift Book was published in 1953.

The first issue was published for the 1953/54 season and like other boys’ annuals of the time, focused on the big clubs, players and competitions of the time (see below).

Consistent with other annuals of the time, the books had dust wrappers through the 1950’s up until the 1963/64 edition which had laminated hard covers, as did all the remaining editions.

The book began and ended at 128 pages long but between 1954/55 and 1967/68 inclusive, the annuals ran to 160 pages.

Through the 1950’s, the books always had red hard cover boards with the title on the spine (not on the front cover) beneath the dust wrappers like this one for the 1955/56 edition;


From the 1962/63 edition, a red and yellow colour combination was used for the masthead / branding of the cover designs, in this case, still a dust wrapper (note the ‘World’s Greatest’ claim, top right);


The 1963/64 edition was the first without a dust wrapper using laminated card covers and spine and this format was used up to and including the last edition in 1974 (see review by year below);


Up to his death in 1960, an event commemorated in the magazine, Charlie Buchan’s presence was felt strongly with a graphic of his face at the front of the annual like here for the 1954/55 edition;


Inside, there was usually a letter or introduction from Buchan or articles by him on various aspects of the game including an A-Z of football in the 1954/55 edition.

Through the 1960’s, the editorial formula was adjusted in the absence of Buchan but not by much.

Main events within the game covered including the 1966 and 1970 World Cups. Celtic’s and then Manchester United’s historic European Cup victories are also covered;


As the years passed, there was a subtle increased emphasis on the winners of the League title as opposed to the FA Cup (as was the case in the earlier editions), like this feature on Derby County‘s 1st Division Championship win in 1971/72 in the 1973 edition;


There were many terrific photographs including the hand coloured ones similar to those appearing in annuals like The Big Book of Football Champions and other titles produced by LTA Robinson.

Here’s one inside the 1953/54 edition showing Blackpool‘s Stanley Matthews, an image which was used on the front cover of the very first edition of the Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly magazine in September 1951;


The hand coloured photographs gave way to normal finish ones in the 1957/58 edition like this one of Wolves’ Ron Flowers;


In the 1959/60 edition, teams were shown in headshot format in a feature called ‘Spotlight On’.

There were always many black and white photographs of players and three feature formats were used to package these pictures which were usually headshots.

Firstly, there was Your Football Album in the 1954/55 edition;


Second, the ‘Portrait Gallery‘ feature was used like this one from the 1956/67  edition;


Next came ‘Meet the Players in the 1957/58 edition;


In some editions, both Meet the Players and the Portrait Gallery were included.

From the 1965/66 edition, a cartoon strip format was introduced  to tell some players stories. This began with the title ‘Stars to Remember’ but became from 1966/67, ‘Star Strip’, like this one which told the story of Swansea Town, Sunderland, Cardiff City and Wales‘s Trevor Ford;


Crosswords, quizzes and puzzles were a consistent feature of the books as were amusing cartoons.

Overall, the annuals are a mass of memories through all the features and the hundreds of photographs, both black and white as well as colour, of the teams and players of the mid 1950’s to 1970’s.

1974 was the last year of publication, a year in which Buchan’s magazine, by now called Football Monthly came to an end by merging with other titles.

Here is a review of all the Soccer Gift Books, year by year with a summary of some of the main features and team interest within, including the colour player photographs, team photographs and features listed by club interest;


1. 1953/54


Birmingham City and England’s Gilbert Merrick is on the front cover of the dust wrapper of the opening edition of the Soccer Gift Book.

I have seen very few copies of the annual from this year and even though I try to include versions in as good condition as possible in my master sets of these boys’ annuals, I snapped up this edition above despite a rather worn and tatty dust wrapper; I wasn’t sure when I’d see the next one.

There is good Blackpool content in this first Soccer Gift Book following their FA Cup victory with various photos of the players and the match in which the Tangerines beat Bolton Wanderers in the famous Matthews final.

Full page hand coloured photos of top players (by club); Arsenal (Jimmy Logie), Blackpool (Stanley Matthews and Stanley Mortensen), Brentford (Tommy Lawton), Newcastle United (Jack Milburn), Portsmouth (Jack Froggatt), Rangers (George Young), Tottenham Hotspur (Alf Ramsay), Wolves (Billy Wright).

Black and white team photos; None in this edition.

Features with club (player) interest; Arsenal (Doug Lishman), Birmingham City (Gilbert Merrick with colour photograph), Charlton Athletic (Jimmy Trotter), Manchester United (Johnney Carey), Sunderland (Trevor Ford), Tottenham Hotspur (Len Duquemin), West Bromwich Albion (Ron Allen), Wolves (Billy Wright).

Towards the end of the book are some nice drawings of Scottish players including this one of Dundee and Scotland star Billy Steel;


The annuals were advertised each year in the Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly magazines published towards the end of the year.

The 1953/54 edition was advertised in this way, as seen here (taken from the November 1953 edition);


2. 1954/55


Front cover of the dust wrapper shows an action shot from what looks like an Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion match.

Covers up to and including the 1953/54 season with a full page black and white photo of First Division Champions Wolves’ captain, Billy Wright with the trophy


There is also good West Bromwich Albion content following their FA Cup victory in which the Baggies beat Preston North End, with various photographs of the players, including Len Millard, Ray Barlow, Ronnie Allen and Johnny Nichols.

Charlie Buchan’s contribution is a feature targeted towards the younger player on how to improve your play.

Sam Bartram‘s 500th appearance for Charlton Athletic is celebrated in a 2 page photographic feature where he leaves his home for the match, dressed on a raincoat and carrying a brief case looking more suited to a commute into the City for a day at the office than 90 minutes at the Valley between the sticks;


Full page hand coloured photos of top players (by club); Aston Villa (Johnny Dixon), Blackpool (Allan Brown and Stanley Matthews), Bolton Wanderers (Malcolm Barrass), Brighton & Hove Albion (Des Tennant), Burnley (Jimmy McIlroy), Cardiff City (Alf Sherwood), Celtic (Charlie Tulley), Charlton Athletic (Derek Ufton), Doncaster Rovers (Bill Paterson), Newcastle United (Jimmy Scoular), Nottingham Forest (Horace Gager), Preston North End (Tom Finney), Sunderland (Len Shackleton), West Bromwich Albion (Ray Barlow), West Ham United (George Wright).

Black and white team photos; Barnsley, Bristol City, Celtic, Colchester United, England, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Notts County, Port Vale, West Bromwich Albion, Wolves.

Features with club (player) interest; Arsenal (Jack Kelsey), Bolton Wanderers (Willie Moir), Bristol City (John Atyeo), Everton (Peter Farrell), Leicester City (Johnny Morris), Manchester United (John Berry), Nottingham Forest (Billy Walker), Notts County (Ron Wylie), Port Vale (Tom Cheadle), Rangers (Willie Thornton), Tottenham Hotspur (Ronnie Burgess) and West Bromwich Albion (Ray Barlow)

Amongst the many other great photos, I especially like this photo of White Hart Lane before a Cup replay between Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United, not only because of the state of the pitch that the players are about to play on but also because of the nice image of Archibald Leitch’s East Stand with the shelf beneath it where the faithful Spurs fans are crowding to avoid getting soaked.


Notice also the low level floodlights of the time; probably the first ones at the ground.

The annuals were advertised each year in the Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly magazines published towards the end of the year.

The 1954/55 edition was advertised in this way, as seen here (taken from the November 1954 edition);


3. 1955/56


Front cover of the dust wrapper shows action from an England international (with England in red).

Covers up to and including the 1954/55 season with good Newcastle United F.A. Cup content and good Manchester United / Busby Babes content including a full colour tinted photo of Roger Byrne;


Full page hand coloured photos of top players (by club); Blackburn Rovers (Bobby Langton), Bristol City (John Atyeo), Bristol Rovers (Geoff Bradford), Cardiff City (Alf Sherwood), Chelsea (Peter Sillett), Clyde (Harry Haddock), Coventry City (Reg Matthews), Doncaster Rovers (Len Graham), Everton (Tommy Jones), Manchester City (Roy Clarke), Manchester United (Roger Byrne), Rotherham United (Jack Grainger), West Bromwich Albion (Ron Allen), Wolves (Les Smith).

Black and white team photos; Bristol Rovers, Burnley, Chelsea, England, Everton, Fulham, Huddersfield Town, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Scotland.

Features with club (player) interest; Arsenal (Derek Tapscott), Bolton Wanderers (Billy Butler), Bristol Rovers (Bert Tann), Burnley (Tommy Cummings), Charlton Athletic (Jimmy Seed), Chelsea (Eric Parsons), Doncaster Rovers (Len Graham), Everton (Tommy Eglington), Fulham (Jimmy Hill), Huddersfield Town (Ron Staniforth), Leyton Orient (Billy Rees), Manchester City (Don Revie), Manchester United (Jackie Blanchflower), Middlesbrough (Rolando Ugilini), Portsmouth (Jackie Henderson), Preston North End (Tommy Docherty), Rangers (George Young) and Wolves (Billy Wright and Roy Swinburne).

A nice snapshot of the off field methods used to look after the players can be seen in this page feature where Leeds United players can be seen using various machines ( Roy Wood in a heat cabinet and manager, Raich Carter in a brine bath);


Such machines or approaches have been long since abandoned in the modern high-tec sports science based world of player care these days.

The 1955/56 edition was advertised in the November 1955 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;




Front cover of the dust wrapper shows an action photograph at Molyneux between Wolves and Manchester City.

Covers up to and including the 1955/56 season.

F.A. Cup winners Manchester City are featured heavily in this edition with their day at Wembley where they beat Birmingham City in the 1955 F.A. Cup Final with features (by Jimmy Meadows) , a team photo and other photos of their players including Roy Paul (hand coloured full page), Bert Trautmann, Bill Leivers, Roy Faulkner and Joe Hayes.

Also good Manchester United / Busby Babes content with photos of Tommy Taylor (v. Scotland), Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Roger Byrne and Fred Goodwin.

Full page hand coloured photos of top players (by club); Bolton Wanderers (Ken Grieves), Charlton Athletic (Sam Bartram), DoncasterRovers (Jack Teasdale),  Manchester City (Roy Paul), Manchester United (Fred Goodwin), Portsmouth (Len Phillips), Rangers (George Young), Rotherham United (Terry Farmer), Sheffield United (Tom Hoyland), Sunderland (Jack Hedley), Swansea Town (Cliff Jones).

Black and white team photos; Aston Villa,  Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Everton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Newcastle United, Portsmouth, Wales, West Ham United, Wolves.

I think the West Ham United team photo is particularly interesting as it includes so many players who would go on into management and shape the course of the game during the 1960’s and 1970’s, including Dave Sexton, John Bond, Malcolm Alison, Noel Cantwell, Frank O’Farrell and Malcolm Musgrove;


Features with club (player) interest;  Aston Villa (Keith Jones),  Birmingham City (Noel Kinsey), Blackpool (George Farm), Bolton Wanderers (Doug Holden), Bristol Rovers (George Petherbridge), Burnley (Les Shannon), Cardiff City (Derek Sullivan), Celtic (Bobby Collins), Everton (Eddie Wainwright), Fulham (Johnny Haynes), Leeds United (John Charles),  Leicester City (John Anderson), Manchester City (Jimmy Meadows), Notts County (Gordon Bradley), Portsmouth (Peter Harris), Sunderland (Stan Anderson), Tottenham Hotspur (Toni Marchi),  West Bromwich Albion (Joe Kennedy), Wolves (Bill Shorthouse and Harry Hooper and Joe Gardiner).

In the feature by Johnny Haynes, the Fulham and England inside forward talks about the ‘jumper for goalposts’ approach to playing amongst young kids, a topic you can also read about elsewhere on the Goals and Wickets site (see Blog Archive for September 2013);


The 1956/57 edition was advertised in the November 1956 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


5. 1957/58


Front cover of the dust wrapper looks like the international match between Wales and Scotland.

Covers up to and including the 1956/57 season with good Aston Villa content after their 1957 F.A. Cup Final victory over Manchester United.

Full page hand coloured photos of top players (by club); Cardiff City (Derek Sullivan), Celtic (Willie Fernie), Charlton Athletic (Johnny Summers), Doncaster Rovers (Alick Jeffrey), Leicester City (Derek Hogg), Manchester United (Roger Byrne and John Berry), Preston North End (Tommy Docherty), St. Mirren (Peter McKay), Swansea Town (Mel Charles), West Bromwich Albion (Gerald Summers), Wolves (Colin Booth).

Black and white team photos; Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Chelsea, Falkirk, Everton, Leyton Orient, Luton Town, Manchester City, Rotherham United, Scotland, Tottenham Hotspur, 3rd Division (North) representative team and 3rd Division (South) representative team.

Features with club (player) content; Aberdeen (Graham Leggat), Arsenal (Joe Haverty), Aston Villa (Jimmy Dugdale), Blackpool (Stanley Matthews photos), Blackpool (Jackie Mudie), Birmingham City (Trevor Smith), Celtic (Mike Haughney), Chelsea (Frank Blunstone), England v. Scotland (photos), Everton (Jimmy Tansey), Falkirk (Alex Parker), Hibernian (Bobby Combe), Leyton Orient (Tom Johnston), Liverpool (Louis Bimpson), Luton Town (Mike Cullen), Manchester City (Bill Leivers), Newcastle United (Alf McMichael), Preston North End (Tom Finney), Rangers (Ian McColl), Rotherham United (John Quairney), Sheffield Wednesday (Dave McIntosh), Sunderland (Ray Daniel), Tottenham Hotspur (Mel Hopkins).

Bearing in mind the current day discussions about the benefits of regionalising lower divisions, it’s not that long ago that the Third Division was indeed split into a Northern and Southern sections before the creation of the old Division 4 (the current League 2).

Here are the representative teams from both divisions who played each other in a 1956/57 representative match;


The 1957/58 edition was advertised in the November 1957 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


6. 1958/59


Front cover of the dust wrapper shows an action photograph from what may be a Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland match.

Covers up to and including the 1957/58 season.

Full page colour photos (the last year of the tinted finish had been the previous season’s annual) of top players (by club); Birmingham City (John Watts), Blackpool (Stanley Matthews), Bristol City (Michael Thresher), Bristol Rovers (Harry Bamford), Celtic (Dick Beattie), Ipswich Town (Reg Pickett), Leicester City (Jimmy Walsh), Luton Town (John Groves), Rangers (Billy Ritchie), West Bromwich Albion (Ronnie Allen), Wolves (Ron Flowers), 

Black and white team photos; Bolton Wanderers, Stoke City, Nottingham Forest.

Features with club (player) content; Arsenal (Cliff Holton), Aston Villa (Pat Saward) , Blackpool (Hugh Kelly), Bolton Wanderers (Dennis Stevens), Burnley (Douglas Newlands), Chelsea (Reg Matthews), Colchester United (Peter Wright), Fulham (Derek Lampe), Hearts (Jimmy Murray), Ipswich Town (Doug Milward), Manchester United (Harry Gregg), Manchester City (Billy McAdams), Middlesbrough (Brian Clough), Newcastle United (Albert Franks), Nottingham Forest (Eddie Bailey), Preston North End (Tommy Docherty), Rangers (Billy Simpson and Eric Caldow), Stoke City (Tim Coleman), Sunderland (Alan O’Neill), Tottenham Hotspur (Cecil Poynton and Arthur Rowe) and West Bromwich Albion (Derek Kevan).

The Munich air disaster does not have much coverage but this photo of Manchester United survivor Bill Foulkes shaking hands with Sheffield Wednesday’s Albert Quixall in the Red Devils’ first match, just 10 days after the crash, is quite poignant;


Quixall would later join Manchester United and play alongside Bill Foulkes.

The 1958/59 edition was advertised in the November 1958 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


7. 1959/60


Front cover of the dust wrapper shows Chelsea‘s Jimmy Greaves attacking Manchester United’s goal with Bill Foulkes close by.

Covers up to and including the 1958/59 season with good Manchester United content

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Arsenal (Danny Clapton), Blackpool (Ray Charnley), Everton (Albert Dunlop), Fulham (Jim Langley),  Hibernian (Johnny Grant), Huddersfield Town (Kevin McHale),  Leeds United (Wilbur Cash), Manchester United (Wolf McGuiness), Rangers (Eric Caldow), Tottenham Hotspur (Terry Medwin), West Ham United (Malcolm Musgrave), Wolves (Eddie Clamp)

Headshot ‘Spotlight on’ team photos in the ‘Spotlight on’ series; Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wandereres, Burnley, Chelsea, Everton, Luton Town, Norwich City.

Black and white team photos; Roma, Scotland, Wales, Wolves.

Features with club (player) content; Arsenal (Gerry Ward), Blackburn Rovers (Ronnie Clayton), Birmingham City (Bunny Larkin), Everton (Bobby Collins), Fulham (George Cohen), Hearts (Ian Crawford), Leicester City (Dave MacLaren), Manchester United (Bobby Charlton), Nottingham Forest, (John Quigley), Sheffield United (Graham Shaw), Stars of the World (photos), Swansea Town (Mel Charles), West Ham United (John Bond), Wolves (Billy Wright), Wolves (George Noakes).

As Real Madrid prepare for a Champions League Final in 2014, here we see their famous forward line of the late 1950’s which helped them win 5 European Cups in the early years of the competition;


The famous 5 are (left to right), Raymond Kopa (France), Hector Rial (Argentina), Alfredo Di Stefano (Argentina), Ferenc Puskas (Hungary) and Francisco Gento (Spain).

The 1959/60 edition was advertised in the November 1959 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


8. 1960/61


Front cover of the dust wrapper shows West Ham United against Aston Villa (I think, unless this is a Public Practice match between West Ham players?) with the Hammers’ Ken Brown on the left.

Covers up to and including the 1959/60 season with good Chelsea content with a feature by Jimmy Greaves and black and white photos of a number of other players, including Sylvan Anderton, Charlie Livesey, Tony Nichols, Peter Bradbrook, Reg Matthews, Mel Scott and Joe Dunn.

Includes a good 10 page pictorial review of the 1950’s.

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Aston Villa (Pat Saward), Blackburn Rovers (Matt Woods), Blackpool (Roy Gratrix), Bolton Wanderers (Brian Birch), Cardiff City (Allan Harrington),  Hearts (Jimmy Milne), Liverpool (Ronnie Moran), Luton Town (Bob Morton), Manchester United (Seamus Brennan), Norwich City (Sandy Kennon), Rangers (Sammy Baird), West Bromwich Albion (Jock Wallace).

Black and white full team photos; England, Leicester City, Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday, Walsall.

Features with club (player) content; Blackburn Rovers (Mick McGrath), Blackpool (Ray Charnley), Burnley (Jimmy Adamson), Cardiff City (Graham Moore), Chelsea (Jimmy Greaves), Everton (Tommy Jones and Ted Sagar), Hearts (Alex Young), Hibernian (Joe Baker), Huddersfield Town (Denis Law), Leicester City (Albert Cheesbrough), Manchester United (Mark Pearson), Middlesbrough (Harold Shepherdson), Newcastle United (George Eastham), Preston North End (Tommy Thompson), Sheffield Wednesday (Ron Springett), Tottenham Hotspur (Bill Brown), Walsall (Tony Richards), Wolves (Eddie Stuart).

I like this feature looking at the changes in football kit fashion;


Of course, what looked rather dated and old fashioned in the early 1960’s looks positively ancient to us now.

In the early 1960’s teams were beginning to play in round neck shirts, players to wear low cut boots, footballs to be plastic coated and all clubs to have floodlights for evening matches, things which we would regard as standard practices now.

The 1960/61 edition was advertised in the November 1960 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


9. 1961/62


Front cover of the dust wrapper shows Sheffield United and England goalkeeper Alan Hodgkinson.

Covers up to and including the 1960/61 season with good Tottenham Hotspur content after their Double winning season with a feature by Cliff Jones and photos of many players including Danny Blanchflower, Tottenham Hotspur, Ron Henry, Dave McKay, Les Allen and Bobby Smith.

There is also good content from Arsenal too with a feature by Secretary Bob Wall and photographs of many players including Jack Kelsey, Tommy Docherty, McCullough and Ian Sneddon.

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Blackpool (Tony Waiters), Bolton Wanderers (John Higgins), Burnley (John Angus), Chelsea (Tommy Docherty when with Arsenal), Everton (Tommy Ring), Hibernian (Tommy Preston), Leeds United (Jack Charlton), Manchester City (George Hannah), Manchester United (Frank Haydock), Leyton Orient (Errol Crossan), Liverpool (Roger Hunt), Rangers (Jimmy Millar),

Black and white full team photos; Aston Villa (1938/39 side), Newcastle United (in changing room with 1952 FA Cup).

Features with club (player) content; Ards (Mick Lynch), Aston Villa (Joe Mercer and Vic Crowe), Cardiff City (Derek Tapscott), Derby County (Bill Curry), Everton (Jimmy Gabriel), Liverpool (Billy Liddell), Manchester City (Bert Trautmann), Manchester United (Alex Dawson), Middlesbrough (Mick McNeil), Newcastle United (Ivor Allchurch and Norman Smith), Norwich City (Archie McCaulay), Nottingham Forest (Richard Le Flem), Sheffield Wednesday (Peter Swan), Sunderland (Stan Anderson),West Ham United (Phil Woosnam) and Wolves (Roy Swinburne).

While we can often look back and say that things were better in the olden days, in this feature on youth development, Liverpool‘s Billy Liddell calls out for more pitches, showers and coaches;


Now where have we heard that plea recently?

The 1961/62 edition was advertised in the November 1961 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


10. 1962/63


The last edition in red cover boards surrounded by a dust wrapper.

Front cover of the dust wrapper shows Manchester United’s Bobby Charlton taking on a Blackburn Rovers defender with England international winger, Bryan Douglas just behind.

Covers up to and including the 1961/62 season again with good Tottenham Hotspur content after their second F.A. Cup win in successive seasons.

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Burnley (Ray Pointer), Dundee (Bobby Cox), Hearts (Gordon Marshall), Ipswich Town (Ray Crawford), Liverpool (Kevin Lewis), Manchester City (Peter Dobing), Manchester United (Noel Cantwell), Nottingham Forest (Dick Le Flem), Rangers (Bill Paterson), Sheffield United (Ron Simpson), Tottenham Hotspur (John White), West Bromwich Albion (David Burnside)

Black and white team photos; Dunfermline.

Features with club (player) content; Arsenal (Jack Kelsey), Bolton Wanderers (Doug Holden), Celtic (Pat Crerand), Dundee (Ian Ure), Dunfermline (Jock Stein), Everton (Gordon West), Fulham (Johnny Haynes), Hearts (John Cummin), Ipswich Town (Roy Bailey), Leeds United (Billy McAdams), Leyton Orient (Malcolm Lucas), Manchester City (Barrie Betts), Newcastle United (Jimmy Fell), Nottingham Forest (Calvin Palmer), Sheffield Wednesday (Tony Kay), Swansea Town (Graham Williams), West Ham United (Ron Greenwood), Wolves (Eddie Stuart).

Amongst the Tottenham Hotspur content is this photo of centre forward Bobby Smith being mobbed by Spurs fans after he scored 2 of the 8 Spurs put past Gornik in the European Cup Winners’ Cup;


The 1962/63 edition was advertised in the November 1962 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


11. 1963/64


The first edition with laminated cover boards and without a dust wrapper.

Front cover shows Leyton Orient’s Stan Charlton heading clear from David Herd of Manchester United (thanks to Roger Hillier for this information).

Covers up to and including the 1962/63 season with good Liverpool and Everton content.

Colour photos of top players (by club); Arsenal (Joe Baker), Aston Villa (Derek Dougan), Celtic (Billy McNeil), Everton (Roy Vernon), Everton (Harry Catterick), Everton (Brian Labone), Hearts (Willie Polland), Liverpool (Ron Yeats), Manchester City (Neil Young), Manchester United (Denis Law), Newcastle United (Alan Suddick), Rangers (Willie Ritchie), Tottenham Hotspur (Jimmy Greaves), Wolves (Ron Flowers).

Black and white team photos; None in this edition.

Features with club (player) content; Chelsea (Bobby Tambling), Derby County (Geoff Barrowcliffe), England (Walter Winterbottom), Fulham (Johnny Haynes), Leyton Orient (Dave Dunmore), Liverpool (Ian St. John), Mansfield Town (Colin Askey), Nottingham Forest (Trevor Hockey), Rangers (Billy Henderson), Sheffield United (Alan Hodgkinson), Stoke City (Stanley Matthews), Third Lanark (Jimmy Brownlie), Wolves (Chris Crowe)

Almost resembling a Lowry painting, this photo of Halifax Town‘s ground, the Shay shows people skating on the pitch after it froze over;


The 1963/64 edition was advertised in the November 1963 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


12. 1964/65


Front cover shows an action photo from a match between West Ham United (Jack Burkett, Martin Peters and Bobby Moore) and Liverpool (Jimmy Melia).

Covers up to and including the 1963/64 season with good West Ham United content.

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Celtic (John Divers), Everton (Dennis Stevens), Huddersfield Town (Ray Wilson), Leicester City (Gordon Banks), Liverpool (Roger Hunt), Newcastle United (Barrie Thomas), Rangers (Willie Henderson), Sheffield Wednesday (Peter Swan), Sunderland (Charlie Hurley), 

Black and white team photos; England (1963 side), Middlesbrough (1952 side), Rangers (1963 side).

Features with club (player) content; Blackburn Rovers (Bryan Douglas), Blackpool (Jimmy Armfield), Charlton Athletic (Eddie Firmani), Celtic (Frank Haffey), England (Harold Shepherdson), Liverpool (Gordon Milne), Portsmouth (Jimmy Dickinson), Rangers (Ronnie McKinnon), Southampton (Terry Paine),  West Ham United (Bobby Moore).

These days, most players wouldn’t know what mud was if you showed it to them.

But in this photo of West Ham United’s Bobby Moore getting treatment, just about everyone is covered in the stuff;


The 1964/65 edition was advertised in the November 1964 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


13. 1965/66



Front cover shows Manchester United’s Denis Law taking on Fulham goalkeeper Tony Macedo.

Covers the 1964/65 season in which Manchester United won the 1st Division title, Liverpool won the F.A. Cup and Chelsea won the League Cup.

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Celtic (Jim Kennedy), Chelsea (Peter Bonetti, John Hollins, Eddie McCreadie), Bristol Rovers (Bernard Hall), Coventry City (Mick Kearns), Crystal Palace (David Burnside), Leeds United (Johnny Giles), Newcastle United (John McGrath), Rangers (John Grieg), Sunderland (George Herd), Wolves (Dave Woodfield).

Black and white team photos; None in this edition.

Features with club (player) content; Arsenal (Jack Kelsey), Blackpool (Jimmy Armfield), Celtic (Bobby Murdoch), Chelsea (Tommy Docherty),  Dunfermline (Alec Smith), Hull City (Andy Davidson), Leeds United (Bobby Collins), Liverpool (Peter Thompson), Manchester United (Denis Law), Middlesbrough (Bobby Braithwaite), Preston North End (Tom Finney), Rangers (George Young), Rochdale (Tony Collins), Sheffield United (Len Badger), Sunderland (Charlie Hurley).

This photo of Raich Carter adds to the collection of baggy shorts pictures;


Raich may look a far cry from the imagery of a player like Christiano Ronaldo with muscles bulging everywhere, but in his autobiography, Sir Stanley Matthews talked in the highest terms about Carter and his inside forward play.

The top schemer would be associated with the early years of the popular Soccer Star magazine after retiring.

In fact, the magazine carried his name, ‘Raich Carter’s Soccer Star, in its first two years.

The 1965/66 edition was advertised in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


14. 1966/67


Front cover shows a goalmouth action photo between Tottenham Hotspur (Alan Gilzean and Jimmy Robertson) and Manchester United (Pat Dunne, Nobby Stiles and Tony Dunne).

Covers up to and including the 1964/65 season with good Chelsea content

This edition is a World Cup Special with a 15 page section of articles and all the match details.

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Arsenal (George Eastham), Brazil (Pele), Chelsea (Allan and Ron Harris, Eddie McCreadie), Hibernian (Pat Stanton), Hull City (Mike Milner), Leeds United (Paul Reaney), Nottingham Forest (Peter Grummitt), Rangers (Bill Ritchie)

Black and white team photos; Borussia DortmundCeltic, England, Liverpool, Manchester City, Southampton, West Germany.

Features with club (player) content; Blackpool (Ronnie Stuart), Chester (Gary Talbot),  Everton (Brian Labone), Fulham (George Cohen), Liverpool (Chris Lawler), Oldham Athletic (Jimmy McIlroy), Portsmouth (Bobby Kellard), Sheffield United (Mick Jones), SouthamptonStockport County (Victor Bernard), 

I love this photo of a nun playing football at her school in Bradford after boys were admitted;


On closer inspection, it looks like she’s wearing a short stud.

The 1966/67 edition was advertised in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


15. 1967/68


Front cover shows an action photo from what looks like a Charlton Athletic home game using the design of the stand behind the players to go by.

Covers the 1966/67 season including Celtic’s European Cup victory.

Also includes good Tottenham Hotspur content with a feature by Alan Mullery, a photographic feature on the 1967 FA Cup Final, a Star Strip story of John White, a photo of Mike England (in colour, tackling John Radford), small photos of Jimmy Robertson (b/w full page), Terry Venables, Danny Blanchflower and Phil Beal and also a team photo of the 1920 side.

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Arsenal (John Radford), Benfica (Eusebio), Burnley (Andy Lockhead), Leeds United (Jack Charlton),  Manchester United (Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton), Queens Park Rangers (Ron Springett), Southampton (Ron Davies), West Bromwich Albion (Clive Clark), West Ham United (Bobby Moore), Wolves (Peter Knowles).

Black and white team photos; Corinthians, England (at Wembley after 1966 World Cup win), QPR (at Wembley after 1967 League Cup win), Rangers, Scotland (in track suits), Tottenham Hotspur (1920 team).

Features with the following club (player) content; Arsenal (Bryn Jones),  Bolton Wanderers (Nat Lofthouse),Charlton Athletic (Charlie Wright), England (Harold Shepherdson), Everton (Alan Ball), Everton (Fred Pickering), Everton (Dixie Dean), Liverpool (Ian St. John), Manchester City (Tony Book), Manchester United (Bobby Charlton),  Manchester United (George Best), Oldham Athletic (Ian Towers), Port Vale (Stanley Matthews), Rangers (Kai Johansen), Real Madrid (Puskas), Stockport County (Jimmy Meadows), Stoke City (Gordon Banks), Stoke City (John Mahoney),  Sheffield Wednesday (Jim McCalliog), Tottenham Hotspur (Alan Mullery), West Bromwich Albion (Jack Vernon).

The tension players feel is summed up nicely in this photo of Everton‘s goalkeeper, Gordon West, who can’t watch as a team mate takes a penalty in the Cup game against West Bromwich Albion;


The 1967/68 edition was advertised in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


16. 1968/69


Front cover shows an action photo from a match between Everton (Alan Ball) and Manchester United (Alex Stepney, Bill Foulkes and Tony Dunne)

Covers up to and including the 1967/68 season with good Manchester United content including a feature on their 1968 European Cup win

There are two features on the 1968 West Bromwich Albion v Everton F.A. Cup Final, one by Graham Williams and one by Gordon West.

Colour photos of top players (by club); Arsenal (Peter Storey with Tony Dunne), Aston Villa (Charlie Aitken), Blackpool (Alan Skirton with George Ley), Birmingham City (Fred Pickering with Mal Lucas), Chelsea (Tommy Baldwin with Mike England), Everton (Brian Labone with wife Pat), Everton (Alan Ball with England), Hull City (Paddy Goodwood, Roy Henderson, Malcolm Lord against Q.P.R.), Liverpool (Roger Hunt with England), Leeds United (Gary Sprake), Manchester United (George Best), Manchester United (Tony Dunne with Peter Storey), Norwich City (Mal Lucas with Fred Pickering), Portsmouth (George Ley with Alan Skirton), Queens Park Rangers (Allan Harris and Mike Keen against Hull City), Tottenham Hotspur (Mike England with Tommy Baldwin).

Black and white team photos; Celtic (with Scottish League Cup), Port Vale (1955-56 side), Willington (1950 side).

Features with club (player) content; Blackpool (Tony Green), Celtic (Bobby Lennox), Coventry City (Maurice Setters), Everton (Gordon West), Leeds United (Jack Charlton), Manchester City (Malcolm Alison), Millwall (Barry Kitchener), Newcastle United (Frank Clark), Port Vale (Roy Sproson), Rangers (Billy Mathieson), Sheffield Wednesday (1927/28 season),  Tottenham Hotspur (Cecil Poynton), Tranmere Rovers (George Yardley), West Bromwich Albion (Graham Williams), West Ham United (Martin Peters)

For England fans there is a feature imagining a match between the England team of 1939 and the 1968 side;


There is also a photo I’ve always liked showing Everton’s Brian Labone with his wife Pat;


Recently, I heard Pat being interviewed about Brian (who died in 2006) and she talked so lovingly about him and how proud she was of his achievements, how privileged she felt to have known him and to have been his wife – a very touching tribute to a legend Toffeeman.

The 1968/69 edition was advertised in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


17. 1969/70


Front cover shows an action photo from a match between Tottenham Hotspur (including Mike England) and Leicester City (Peter Shilton, David Nish and Willie Bell).

Covers the 1968/69 season with various photos of Everton players (b/w unless stated) including a back cover photo of Alan Ball taking on Wolves’ Derek Parkin at Molyneux (colour), an inside page photo of Alan Ball, a double page spread of Everton v Manchester City, Johnny Morrissey, a small Portrait Gallery photo of John Hurst and finally, one of Dixie Dean.

1969 FA Cup Final covered in 2 features by Tony Book (Manchester United) and Graham Cross (Leicester City).

1969 League Cup final is shown in a pictorial double paged spread showing Swindon Town‘s victory upset over Arsenal.

Colour photos of top players (by club); Celtic (Tommy Gemmil), Kilmarnock (Sandy McLaughlan and John Arthur) v Rangers (Sandy Jardine), Leeds United (Johnny Giles, Manchester United (Bobby Charlton with Nobby Stiles), Liverpool (Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Lawrence, Geoff Strong v Tottenham Hotspur),  Manchester City (Colin Bell),  Rangers (John Grieg), Southampton v Coventry City, Stoke City (v Leeds United), West Bromwich Albion (John Osborne and Graham Lovett) v Arsenal (Bobby Gould and Jimmy Robertson), West Bromwich Albion (John Talbot) v West Ham United (Geoff Hurst and Harry Redknapp), Wolves (Dave Wagstaffe).

Black and white team photos; Dulwich Hamlet (1919/20), Everton (1938/39).

Features with club (player) content; Arsenal (Frank McLintock), Blackpool (Jimmy Armfield), , Chelsea (Peter Broadbent), Chelsea (Peter Osgood),  (Leeds United (Billy Bremner), Liverpool (Roger Hunt), Liverpool (Peter Robinson), Liverpool (Emlyn Hughes), Manchester United (Duncan Edwards), West Ham United (Bobby Moore).

For World Cup fans, there is a good feature called The World Cup Story which was included in this edition in anticipation of the 1970 finals in Mexico where expectation was high that the England side, one many felt better than the one which won the 1966 tournament, would do very well;


The 1969/70 edition was advertised in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


18. 1970/71


Front cover shows a goalmouth incident from a match at Highbury between Arsenal (George Graham and David Court) and Newcastle United (Iam McFaul, Bobby Moncur and Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson).

Covers up to and including the 1969/70 season with good World Cup 1970 content.

Includes a 6 page photographic review of football in the 1960’s.

In this edition, the colour photos were more action shots from matches as opposed to photos of individual players.

Black and white team photos; Blackpool (1953 F.A. Cup winning squad), Blackpool (1969/70 promotion winning team), Huddersfield Town (1920’s team), Tottenham Hotspur (1960/61 Double winning team).

Features with club (player) content; Arsenal (Charlie George), Blackpool (Club history), Burnley (Ralph Coates), Chelsea (Alan Hudson), Derby County (Kevin Hector), Huddersfield Town (Ian Greaves and Jimmy Nicholson), Hull City (Ian McKechnie), Liverpool (Bill Shankly),  Manchester City (Francis Lee), Southport (Alex Parker), West Bromwich Albion (Len Cantello), Wolves (John Richards).

On the plane home after the 1970 World Cup, Alf Ransay walked down the aisle and said to Manchester United’s Bobby Charlton, ‘Thanks for everything you’ve done for England’. This was Ramsay’s way of telling Charlton that his England career was over.

But Bobby had won 100 caps for his country and was also recognised in the honours list.

Here he is at Buckingham Palace with his family after receiving his O.B.E.;


The 1970/71 edition was advertised in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


19. 1971/72


Front cover shows action from a match between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool (including Emlyn Hughes and Ray Clemence).

Covers the 1970/71 season with good Arsenal content after their double winning season with features (one London clubs and one on George Armstrong) and player photographs (Alan Ball on England duty, Ray Kennedy, Bob McNab, one with autograph hunters and one with his family, Terry Neil with his family and Peter Storey, a colour action shot with Jimmy Robertson).

There are many action photos, both colour and black and white.

Features with club (player) content; Arsenal (George Armstrong), Aston Villa (Chico Hamilton), Bournemouth (Ted MacDougall), Birmingham City (Trevor Francis), Celtic (Jim Brogan), Coventry City (Roy Barry), Crystal Palace (Steve Kember), Everton (Brian Labone), Ipswich Town (Jimmy Robertson), Liverpool (Steve Heighway),  Manchester City (Joe Mercer), Preston North End (Alan Ball Snr), Sheffield Wednesday (Derek Dooley), Southampton (Mike Channon), Tottenham Hotspur (Pat Jennings), West Bromwich Albion (Tony Brown).

In a season in which Bobby Moore was suspended by West Ham United and fans demonstrated against the manager Ron Greenwood and the club for the length of the suspension, Moore re-appeared in the side as a substitute against Derby County.

From a photographic feature on that issue, here is a rather touching photograph of the England Captain with his daughter Roberta who I remember talking so movingly about the last moments of her father’s life in a documentary about the West Ham legend;


The 1971/72 edition was advertised in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


20. 1973


Front cover shows action from an Everton (Howard Kendall) v Sheffield United (Trevor Hockey and Tony Currie) in front of one of Archibald Leitch’s iconic stands at Goodison Park with the criss-cross design on the balcony front.

Covers up to and including the 1971/72 season in which Derby County beat Leeds United, Liverpool and Manchester City to the 1st Division title.

Good Leeds United content with a feature titled ‘Ten Years At The Top’, one on Allan Clarke, Mick Jones and Billy Bremner and many photos of players including Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimar, Allan Clarke (behind Everton’s Gordon West), one of ex Leeds player Rod Belfitt with family, Terry Cooper, Allan Clarke, Asa Hartford training with Leeds before his transfer fell through and Trevor Cherry.

Full page colour photos (by club); Aston Villa (Bruce Rioch), Birmingham City (Trevor Francis), Manchester City (Francis Lee)

Black and white team photos; Cardiff City (before 1927 F.A. Cup win).

Features with club (player) content; Cardiff City (1927 F.A. Cup win), Celtic (Jock Stein), Doncaster Rovers (Charlie Williams), Leeds United (see above), Leicester City (Keith Weller), Liverpool (Kevin Keegan), Manchester City (Rodney Marsh), Manchester City (Francis Lee), Southampton (Ron Davies), Tottenham Hotspur (Martin Chivers), West Bromwich Albion (Asa Hartford), West Ham United (Trevor Brooking)

One of the above features is about the comedian Charlie Williams who was one of the original funny men on the hit show ‘The Comedians’, shown on ITV  back in the early 1970’s.


Williams had been a professional with Doncaster Rovers and the feature includes an anecdote where Charlie experienced some racist remarks from the crowd. ‘Go back to where your own country’ came the cry. Without missing a beat, Williams replied with, ‘It’s only 3 bob to Barnsley’;

The 1973 edition was advertised in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly;


21. 1974


Front cover shows action from the 1972 F.A. Cup Final at Wembley between Arsenal (Peter Simpson) and Leeds United (Allan Clarke).

Covers up to and including the 1972/73 season with good Liverpool content including a photo of Bill Shankley in front of the Kop and also photos of many players including Kevin Keegan with a small fan in the Anfield tunnel, a colour photograph of Tommy Smith and Ray Clemence running out, a colour photo showing Heighway and Toshack celebrating, Kevin Keegan and Tommy Smith.

Full page colour photos of top players (by club); Southampton (Terry Paine), Wolves (John Richards with England).

Black and white team photos; England (on pitch after ’66 Final), Newcastle United (1921/22 side), West Ham United (F.A. Youth Cup 1959 team).

Features with club (player) content; Arsenal (Jeff Blockley), Coventry City (Colin Stein), Crystal Palace (Don Rogers), Manchester United (George Graham), Millwall (Harry Cripps), Preston North End (Alan Kelly), Southampton (Terry Paine), West Ham United (Bobby Moore),

Thought this was a nice photo showing Liverpool and England star Kevin Keegan talking to himself in the tunnel at Anfield beneath the famous message, ‘This is Anfield’.

The little lad opposite the Reds’ top striker is also called Kevin Keegan;



Collecting, values and prices

As far as collecting the annuals, the editions from the mid 1960’s onwards are in relatively good supply but before that a bit more difficult to get hold of certainly in a complete state (I have 3 pre 1962 editions where previous owners have removed the front and back blank end pages).

So I’d recommend asking sellers if the annual on sale is complete and that the binding is still firm.

Finding pre 1963/64 editions with decent dust wrappers as well is also much more difficult.

With the more recent editions, collectors can watch out for the sort of faults that can be found on the annuals of this era with laminated covers;

  • split spines especially the spine ends
  • scratches, indentations and marks to the covers
  • split front and / or back hinges inside the annual itself
  • annotations from well wishing family members to recipients of the annuals when given as Christmas and / or birthday gifts usually written on the inside front cover pages or the front end pages
  • writing inside the books, often noting player names beneath photos
  • missing pages or photos often cut out to put in separate scrap books or on bedroom walls
  • age fading to the whiteness of the inside pages, especially the borders
  • orange foxing spots and also signs of damp / water damage

As with all annuals, if collectors find ones in very good condition with an absence of the faults listed above, I’d recommend snapping them up, even if that means paying a little bit more.

as always with the annuals which have laminated spine and covers, check the condition of the spine ends which can often be split. This fault will not necessarily stop you enjoying the book (split spines rarely affect the tightness of the internal binding) but from an image perspective, split spine ends just don’t look so good.

Also, as ever with old boys’ annuals, check if there are any owner or other annotations as many an annual will have a birthday or Christmas message on the inside cover pages and some owners, proud of their annuals, liked to put an owner name and sometimes an address too.


Final word

The Charles Buchan Soccer Gift Books are super annuals and provide a marvellous snapshot of the domestic game over the two decades between 1953 and 1974.

Although the annual’s self proclaimed position as ‘The Greatest Football Annual in the World’ was a lofty one in terms of sales at the time during the years it was published and now as far as the memories the annuals evoke amongst those that remember, that claim is probably pretty close to reality.


See the About Us link, top right, for details on how you can make best use of the search facility in the Goals and Wickets Ebay Shop.

Use the Ebay links above to take you to the Goals and Wickets Ebay Shop Homepage from where you can check out the available items in the FOOTBALL ANNUALS section and the other categories of football and cricket memorabilia.

To go directly to the Football Annuals in the Goals and Wickets Ebay Shop click;

Category: Football Annuals

Tag: Charles Buchan's Soccer Gift Book


Roger Hillier

Great website! The 1963-64 front cover with the players in blue and red shirts - the blue shirt is Leyton Orient's Stan Charlton heading clear from David Herd of Manchester United.

Saturday 15th August 2015 - 9:26pm


Thanks very much, Roger. I've just updated the post with this information and given you a mention too. Best wishes, Mark

Sunday 16th August 2015 - 2:25pm

Alan Tomlinson

I have two Charles Buchan Soccer Gift books1957/58 and 1958/59 Do you have any idea of the value of these.

Wednesday 29th November 2017 - 4:59pm


Hi Alan, Thanks for the contact. The value of these annuals will depend on their condition and if they have their dust wrappers and then again on the condition of the wrappers. I sell these annuals in my Ebay Shop for just under £10 including postage and packing and they usually sell, so that gives yo an idea. But their value can drop significantly should they have tears, lost pages, excessive writing in them. It's hard to find decent dust wrappers on such annuals but their value might rise by a few quid if you do. The ones I sell often have wear and tear and sometimes, always noted for buyers, I do some quick repairs on the edges with clear tape. If you have just the annuals without the wrappers, then people still buy these but for a few quid each. The first issue for 53/4 has some value but maybe up to £20/30 again, if in good condition with a decent dust wrapper. Hope that helps. Thanks for looking at the site. Best wishes, Mark

Thursday 30th November 2017 - 10:57am

Cliff Rice

Hello I have a small book entitled The Remember Football Annual By Jack Pointer, and wonder if you knew anything about it thank you

Friday 9th February 2018 - 10:33am


Hi Cliff. What year is it? Let me know and I'll do some digging. Best wishes, Mark

Friday 9th February 2018 - 9:39pm


Hi again, Cliff, If you go into the Football Annual section of the site, look at one of the early posts - A brief guide to Football Annuals: Part 1 - The Pocket Annuals, about half way down, I talk about a series of little annuals which all seemed to be the same in layout and content but were renamed various times. The annual started as the Nufsed annual and then its name changed to the Remember Annual, then to the Handy Annual and then Peter Bell's Annual. Although these annuals are reasonably scarce, they don't have any huge re-sale value. But they are nice annuals nontheless and for me, an important part of the history of all the pocket annuals. Best wishes, Mark

Saturday 10th February 2018 - 1:35pm

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