Posted: 10th January 2013
‘Great for the colour team photographs’.
It’s a way of describing the small Football League Review magazine that I’ve seen a few times, almost as if one auction house had been searching for a way to position a job lot of the magazines, could not find the right words and has focused on an aspect of the magazine which is obvious and undeniable; spot on even.
Indeed, this description makes a lot of sense, as collectors of this magazine which lived its’ life as a programme insert, do indeed collect the magazine for the team photographs which appear either as a centre page spread or sometimes on the inside front and back covers of the magazine.
Tapping into this collector psyche, if you look at the listings of the magazine on Ebay, you will rarely see a front cover but hundreds of these team photographs with players caught in their pre-season enthusiasm, probably on a nice sunny August morning, smiling out at you. My own Goals and Wickets listings are done this way. It’s the way it’s done, it seems.
Indeed, I’ve had more than one buyer ask me to give them a summary of all the issues of the magazine which include team photographs of their club so that they might complete a bulk purchase.
Quite possibly, someone in the production team back in the mid 1960′s realised that this would be a valuable feature of the new publication and established the feature in a way that they probably would not have a clue would be still so important 50 years on. Then again, maybe this smart person had spotted that Soccer Star had been doing this for a while with team photographs in the magazine from back in the late 1950′s?
However, in its’ early days, although the odd team photograph was included, it would take a few seasons for the style now sought after to develop.
At the beginning, while it is true that the Football League Review was a mouthpiece for the Football League in the days of Alan Hardaker with offices way up in St Anne’s, Lancashire close to Blackpool and its’ tourist delights, in its’ first incarnation, the magazine was not produced by the Football League and was not called the Football League Review.
Here is a look through the magazine’s history, season by season.
1965/66 – 34 issues
In late August at the start of the 1965/66 football season, as its’ editorial pronounced, a new magazine called the Soccer Review took its’ bow. Published by a company called Sport and Screen, the magazine proclaimed its’ commitment ‘To inform and entertain the people who support football’.
Published in black and white with some colour trim, stapled into its’ host programme, C5 in size, 16 pages in length and full of articles supplemented by a few photographs, the small magazine was a mixture which had a similar feel to the Soccer Star magazine of that time.
The early issues were included inside the programmes of clubs who requested it and was available by mail order. It seems clear that Sport and Screen not only relied on the commitment of early using clubs but reflected this in the content of the magazine.
The first issue claimed that 150,000 issue were available at grounds across the country and thanked Leeds United and Birmingham City specifically for their support.
Perhaps then, it is no surprise that we see an article and team photograph of the Blues (the first, although not in colour), alongside the advertisement for a fine pair of club branded socks (imploring fans to ‘lift that trouser leg and display your commitment to ‘Villa’ printed neatly down beneath your shapely calf’). Bet that went down well with Blues fans;
Also, not surprisingly, the first Club Call feature, which lasted many seasons in the magazine, was devoted to Don Revie’s Leeds United.
The articles covered many aspects of the game and the people involved in it as opposed to providing details of matches and league tables (as Soccer Star did each week).
Interestingly for the times, as well as as a Referees section, a Press cuttings feature and opinion from editor Harry Brown, these first few issues concentrated on women supporters.
In this first article, the headline posed a question so loaded with potential double entrendre that you can almost hear Frankie Howard telling everyone to, ‘No, don’t. You mustn’t titter’;
Advertisements were few and promoted an interesting range of merchandise from club branded socks mentioned above to body building programmes where that iconic picture of Charles Atlas, shirtless, probably oiled and bulging, smiled out at us (as opposed to Charles Buchan with his brylcreamed hair and pipe who had by now, passed into football heaven, but whose Football Monthly magazine was still flourishing).
On some of the issues, if we remembered to look at the back cover, we were reminded by the Ford Motor Company that we would ‘Enjoy Life More With an Anglia’.
1966/67 – 38 issues
It would appear that the Football League took over the publication of the magazine the next season 1966/67 at which point the name was changed to the Football League Review and the numbering system started afresh with Number 1.
The content had a much greater feel of being a mouthpiece of the League with the editorial comments marked as coming from ‘St Anne’s’ (the location of the League’s offices) and if you wanted to take out a subscription to the magazine, it was to St Anne’s that you were instructed to post your cheque.
But it also appears that the League were not nailing their colours securely to this mast yet as the page 4 review of events in the 4 divisions has a small reverse disclaimer at the bottom stating ‘NOTE – THIS IS AN OFFICIAL LEAGUE ARTICLE’ (see the bottom right of this page;
Many of the previous year’s features were maintained with a new Club Directory added listing the basic information about all the league clubs, a few at a time each issue. The design, including the front cover, had been refreshed and the paper quality improved.
The Club Call feature was expanded to 2 pages, as shown here with West Bromwich Albion as the club in focus;
1967/68 – 39 issues
The issues for the 1967/68 season are where I think the magazine was at its’ best.
In 1967, based on the launch of new Jimmy Hill’s Football Weekly and a refreshed Soccer Star, it was as if the football magazine industry had either realised or given in to the fact that the world was now in colour and colour now consumed the Football League Review.
A smart eye would have spotted that this season’s magazines were part of Volume 2, thereby making the previous season’s magazines Volume 1, obviously. Quite what this said about the Soccer Review, anyone knows but it seems that a sort of separation by numbers had taken place, whether deliberately or not, I’m not sure.
The evolution of the League’s commitment to their baby was evidenced by the editorial now being called LEAGUE VIEW; the parent, it seems was becoming more comfortable with the child;
And for me, the organisation of the content was certainly its’ most memorable with its themed approach; ‘Club Grounds’, ‘Man Behind The Ball’, ‘Club Call’, ‘From the Chair’, ‘Meet the Referee’, ‘Facts and Figures’ and ‘Post Bag’.
Below we can see Man Behind The Ball, Crystal Palace‘s goal-keeper, John Jackson pursuing his off-field hobby of angling;
These new features were supplemented by one more addition. Guess what? Yup, colour team photographs which appeared on the inside back covers in many issues.
This photograph of Manchester United in issue #1 was the first colour photograph published;
The front cover design changed half way through the season as happened with some club programmes where the January to December annual calender was used as a change point as opposed to the August to May football season dates.
Here we see issue #20 with Jack Charlton and his Leeds United team-mates on the left and on the right, issue #21 with Tottenham Hotspur’s Alan Mullery getting tangled up with Stoke City’s George Eastham;
1968/69 – 39 issues
In 1968/69, with a bright new yellow front cover design staring out at us, the magazine adjusted again.
Here is issue #1 with a petrol retailer incentivising Manchester United fans with an interesting offer;
New features ‘Man and Manager’ and ‘Tip for the Top’, looking at exciting young up and coming stars, were added along with a section for ‘League Club Shops’ and ‘Club Announcements’ which included lists of available souvenirs like badges, pennants and windscreen stickers. Potential buyers were reminded a touch efficiously to ‘Send SAE with ALL inquiries, please’.
Here we see MAN and MANager, Charlton Athletic’s Eddie Firmani;
There was also a prize draw for a wallchart showing all the soccer strips of the league teams. We were also now shown binders to keep for our reviews in shape.
Underneath this small advertisement for the binders, there is an interesting one promoting the Football League as the place to buy your football programmes;
In this season, we saw the first colour team photograph in the centre pages and individual player pictures now on the inside back cover.
Here is Bill McGarry and his successful Ipswich Town team with the 2nd Division Championship trophy, won in 1967/68;
More and more clubs were including the Review in their programmes. I don’t have the numbers but from memory and the handling of programmes from the era, it was more a question of which clubs didn’t as opposed to which clubs did.
I’d started to collect a few programmes in the late 1960′s but my first experience of the magazine live was when I started to go and watch Queens Park Rangers at the start of the 1969/70 season after their disappointing one season stay in the First Division. After returning home from watching Rodney Marsh, Terry Venables and Vic Mobley, I’d seperate my Rangers programme from its’ Review and then store both in their respective mini collections.
1969/70 – 39 issues including A, B, C and D
The 1969/70 reviews had a new front cover and it had 2 versions as seem below, one with a light green trim on top, the other witha white trim;
2 new features for this season were Club Badges, on the inside back cover and Peter Robinson’s collages of small colour photographs, called Soccer Vision;
The colour team photographs were generally in the centre pages and here we see the England squad at one of their training sessions as the 1970 Mexico World Cup approached;
1970/71 – 40 issues including A and B
For 1970/71, we had another set of magazines another 20 page long and again a nice new front cover design;
Soccer Vision and club badges had been discarded but a programme review was now included;
A nice new feature was ‘Ground Call’.
Here is the one for Tottenham Hotspur‘s White Hart Lane home;
Again, colour team photographs were in the centre pages and here is Fulham‘s 3rd Divison squad;
Also, although Bradford Park Avenue had been relegated out of the 4th Division at the end of the 1969/70 season, they continued to include the Football League Review in their programmes as they began their first season in the Northern Premier league in 1970/71. I certainly haven’t heard of any other non league sides including the magazine like this.
1971/72 – 40 issues including A and B
In the 1971/72 season, a new front cover showing Leicester City’s Captain, David Nish with the 2nd Division Championship trophy, won in the 1970/71 season;
The content for this season was simplified under one word themes, Viewpoint, Report, People, Facts, Profile, Postbag and Action where black and white action shots might end up next to the colour ones.
In the ACTION picture below, we have Chelsea’s Paddy Mulligan fighting off Leeds United‘s Eddie Gray. On the left, Stoke City‘s Gordon Banks leads out the England team. Arsenal’s Alan Ball and Derby County’s Roy McFarland can be seen behind;
It looked as if there had been a subtle shift in emphasis with the pictures becoming more important than the words. Colour pictures were of teams (of course), players and also grounds.
For the first time, single page colour advertisements appeared promoting big corporations (Texaco) and cigarette brands in the style of advertisement now no longer legal;
The colour team photographs were sometimes group shots like this one of Arsenal after winning the 1971 F.A. Cup Final against Liverpool as part of their double winning efforts at the end of the 1970/71 season;
1972/73 – 40 issues including A and B
In 1972 /73, the magazine’s name was changed to League Football although not much else changed. In some issues, however, there were now 2 colour team photographs (collectors note).
On the front cover of issue 70 A, Derby County‘s Kevin Hector holds aloft the League Championship Trophy won the season before;
The layout of the magazine was adjusting each season and by now, it was more likely that you would see a double page spread of colour photograph and article, like this one on Chelsea‘s Bill Garner;
Colour team photographs were getting a bit more creative, like this one of the Sunderland players taken in their gym;
1973/74 – 37 issues including A and B
Things continued pretty much the same through the 1973/74 season;
Gradually, there were more advertisements appearing in the magazine, including the Football League’s promotion of their own publications, like here, where Burnley’s Martin Dobson is matched with the new Football League Yearbook for 1973/74;
Below, Millwall’s former Captain, Harry Cripps stares out at us from the front cover of issue #804.
On arrival at Sussex County League club Burgess Hill Town back in 1982, the assistant manager of the reserve team in which I was about to play my first match, asked me my name as I entered the changing room. ‘Mark Cripps’, I replied. ‘Alright ’Arry, you wear Number 7′ came the instruction and for 2 very happy years, I played at the Hillians known as ‘Arry’.
I’d seen Cripps play for Millwall a few times in the late 1960′s and 1970′s and wore his first name a bit like a badge of honour while at Burgess Hill Town, although actually his knickname was actually ‘Arry Boy’. I was sadenned by his untimely death in 1995 . He was years 54 years-old.
R.I.P. ‘Arry Boy’;
The ‘Ground Call’ feature was replaced by ‘Soccer Homes’, a one page colour panoramic view of a club ground with a small inset photograph of a player or manager.
Here is one for Aston Villa’s Villa Park ground. The inset is defender, Ian Ross;
The colour team photographs included this one of Oldham Athletic (now my local club) who could boast an experienced strike partnership of Andy Lockhead (back row) and Tony Hateley (front row). Hair was definetely getting longer. The seeds of the 1980′s mullet were sown here, I reckon;
1974/75 – 20 issues
Into 1974/75, the magazine did not change much in name, size or content. This is issue #1 showing Leeds United’s Joe Jordan on the front cover;
There used to be a species of sportsman who could have been called Goals and Wickets men. They were the ones who played both professional football and cricket.
Chris Balderstone, shown here on the back of issue #910, was playing for Yorkshire when as an 8 year-old boy, my brother took me to Lord’s to see my first game of county cricket. A few years later, now no longer in need of my brother’s assistance, when I watched QPR for a few seasons, there was Balderstone again, this time playing for Carlisle United.
Another player to die young, Balderstone died in 2000 at the age of 59;
The maverick that was Frank Worthington. A superb striker who played for many clubs, he always walked a slightly different path, away from the mainstream.
When living Hove in the mid 1980′s, one evening, while out for a drink, I spotted all the Brighton & Hove Albion players (Gatting, Maybank etc) all enjoying themselves in a group. But just a few feet away, sitting on his own, wearing clothes that would have been mores suitable to Deadwood, South Dakota in 1880, sat Worthington.
Here he is playing for Leicester City;
The colour team photographs were still in every issue.
Here we see the Shrewsbury Town side which I watched close up at an English Universities summer camp at Lilleshall in 1975 (see blog article, Chasing Sammy – Playing football for Liverpool University‘)
But for economic reasons as the Football League decided to support the magazine less financially and I imagine, less clubs felt the need to include the magazine as club commitment to providing an expanded and more comprehensive matchday programme increases, the end was near.
And the magazine did not even last to the end of that season publishing its’ last issue in December 1974, issue number 920.
The magazine was no more but looking back, it represents a great snapshot of the time, especially as it covers many topics slightly off the mainstream of mere matches, scores and scorers.
A cover I’m always drawn to but not necessarily in a comfortable way is this one from 1967/68 showing a little lad being helped by a policeman after being separated from his dad (possibly at Aston Villa‘s Villa Park). Despite the fact that we are told inside that father and son were reunited, the look of sadness and even raw fear on the little boy’s face still gets me all these years later;
Other than all the great colour team photographs, another highlight of the magazine were the special League Cup Final issues.
The League Cup was the Leagues flagship cup competition and one issue a season was dedicated to the match. Often, the coverage was after the match as in 1966/67 when 3rd Division Queens Park Rangers carried out a huge giant killing act beating 1st Division giants, West Bromwich Albion 3-2, after falling behind 2-0.
Mike Keen, Rangers’ skipper, lifts the Cup;
In some years, the final was covered in both the editions for the week of the match as well as in the week after. In this 1969 issue, there is a centre page photograph acknowledging the behind the scenes efforts at Swindon Town and the support given to the Arsenal players by their wives and girlfriends (WAGS late 1960′s style).
Swindon would repeat the giant killing of the R’s two years before and beat the Gunners on a muddy Wembley pitch with the great Don Rogers causing havoc to the likes of McLintock and Ure;
A poignant front cover photograph of Tottenham Hotspur‘s winger Ralph Coates after his goal won the 1973 final against Norwich City. Coates died in 2010 at the age of 64;
Looking at the issue of how people collect them, it seems that this can be in many ways; by number, by season, by team photo, by team photo content (players and teams) and by all team content (photos and articles).
As well as the obvious source for the magazine like Ebay, when buying 1960′s and 1970′s programmes whether individually or in job lots, it is likely that the magazine will be still included inside many.
A quirky aspect of the numbering systems was that in addition to the obvious and simple chronological system of number 1. number 2 etc, in XXX season, there were additional numbers where A, B C and in the case of 1969/70 season, D were added to the numbers. These alphabetical based numbers were usually issued at the start of the season before the number 1 of that season (just to confuse us!).
Believe it or not, no discussion about this great little magazine would be complete without mentioning the subject of staples. The Football League Review was stapled into programmes between 1965 and Chrstmas 1975 when the last issue was published, #920, usually but not always in addition to the staples for the host programme. Dealing with the staples can be a challenge if you are trying to remove one of the magazines from its’ host without spoiling either or both programme and magazine.
Searching for all 366 of them. That’s the challenge.
To assist collectors, as time passes, I will be adding to the site, posts which show season by season covers of all the issues and then individual posts which will summarise the club interest / content including the colour team photographs for each issue. Time permitting, my ultimate aim is to complete a cross referencing exercise where I can add a post per club of all their content across all 366 issues. But please be patient with me on this one.
See the About Us link, top right, for details on how you can make best use this site overall and 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 MAGAZINES section and the other categories of football memorabilia cricket memorabilia.
Category: Football Magazines
This is the most extensive 'review' of the FLR I have found on the internet ( other articles appear on the Soccerbilia and Charles Buchan websites) a programmecollector, I have almost collected the whole set of FLR / League Football magazines. My belief is that they belong in the programmes they were issued with, so I am conducting my own research into their issue. I would be pleased to hear from anyone with a similar interest in FLR. email@example.com
Monday 13th May 2013 - 8:39pm
Thanks very much, Paul. One of the issues with the FLR is that I haven't found any lists, season by season as to which clubs included them and which clubs didn't. Of course, it's possible to try and construct such a definitive list by going through numerous club programmes between 1965 and 1974 but it would easier to have a 'top down list'. Indeed, I can sit here now and remember many clubs which included them but then again, I can't remember exactly how and when clubs started and finished. This would be a nice addition to the post above.
Monday 13th May 2013 - 9:35pm
I've only recently disovered the Goals and Wickets site and am immensely enjoying the very well researched articles - ,amy thanks! Some clubs such as Darlington used to give these items out as a loose item inside the programme, so there was no challenge in dealing with staples for me. The editorial articles were very reactionary and defensive. The league was very sensitive to press criticism at the time, and their "mouthpiece" served as a channel for stream of rebuttals. The articles now provide an interesting perspective on the limited horizons of the men who ran the League at the time.
Friday 17th May 2013 - 8:44pm
Many thanks, Ted. Comments like yours make all the work of preparing, writing, editing and checking the posts worth while. I love the 'reverse' disclaimer in the 1966/67 number 1 issue where it states that the views ARE official league ones.
Saturday 18th May 2013 - 8:48am
Hi all I wonder how many of you are aware that in many cases there are 2, or more versions of the magazine.. The differences are among others : VOL 3 SOME COPIES AFTER 21 EXIST WITH " COURTESY OF CLUB " , SOME WITH DATE AND NO COURTESY . VOL 8 many exist with player pic on back, and also with advert for Park Drive cigarettes. 814 exists with ad as abbove with no player pic,, and with Brylcreem comp on back page, and player pic Don Masson Notts County on inne back page, many others, have produced a list of those I HAVE IN MY COLLECTION JOIHN
Saturday 8th June 2013 - 10:45am
Thanks for that, John. I hadn't spotted the 'Courtesy of Club' note. I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks again for having a look at the site.
Sunday 9th June 2013 - 10:41am
I have been collecting these for a while now and am down to the last 22. I have quite a lot of'doubles', anyone who needs certain issues, please e-mail me and I will see if I have them, likewise if anyone has ones that I need I would be grateful. By the way congratulations on an excellent site and an outstanding article
Wednesday 19th June 2013 - 3:06pm
Thanks for the kind comments, John. Much appreciated. Best wishes, Mark.
Thursday 20th June 2013 - 9:24am
In your article, isn't the picture you show of Birmingham city from issue 2, not issue 1 as stated ?. Not picking flies in a great article , just caused me some confusion as to the date of the first issue.
Friday 5th July 2013 - 9:26pm
Hi John. The Blues team photo is on page 3 of the issue for 21-27 August, 1965. On the front cover it announces that 'Soccer Review makes it's bow today...'. I reckon that's issue 1 and not issue 2. What made you think it might be issue 2? Let me know. Best wishes, Mark
Saturday 6th July 2013 - 8:29am
Mark The one I have has the Birmingham picture and article in it, but the cover is not the one shown,it is the next issue. Something is amiss, because I cant see them doing 2 articles/pictures of Birmingham in consecutive weeks. Now I AM confused Best regards John
Tuesday 9th July 2013 - 1:24pm
Hi John, Of course, an issue with these early editions is that they weren't stapled, so I suppose unless we can put 2 copies of the same issue side by side, there will always be an element of doubt. Maybe in yours (or mine???), a former owner has mixed them up in some way? My edition #2 for the 2nd week, 28th August has red trim and a picture of Wolves on the page 3 slot where I've got the Birmingham picture in edition #1. The plot thickens. Best wishes, Mark
Tuesday 9th July 2013 - 11:21pm
Mark The copy I have is stapled, albeit 1 rusty one right in the centre.Also the back page hasn't been cut correctly and is still attached in part to the inside back page, indicating that they could not be from different copies, therefore could not be from different issues. I have another copy of number 2 arriving next week from an associate,which I think should confirm the situation -the plot thickens!! All the best John
Friday 12th July 2013 - 7:12am
Good stuff, John. Let me know how it looks.
Friday 12th July 2013 - 12:46pm
Mark It gets worse !!. The copy I have received is the same as yours,this is also stapled and couldn't have been tampered with. I give up!! John
Monday 15th July 2013 - 9:01am
Thanks for letting me know, John. Are you going to re-organise your copies?
Monday 15th July 2013 - 9:19am
Mark To be honest don't know what to do, I have already passed one copy on(with the Blues picture)but ,although I have now seen two copies with Blues in ,I am sure that the Wolves one is correct. The other copies are a real anomoly and I would love to know the story behind it,real mystery John
Tuesday 16th July 2013 - 3:59pm
Hi John, I imagine that there will be some fans of those clubs who are more interested in the photo than whether it is in the correct magazine? On the other hand, collectors of the magazines might be more concerned that the correct pages are in the correct magazines, perhaps? I'll keep my eye out at the auctions if these issues are in any large job lots which occasionally come up. Best wishes, Mark
Wednesday 17th July 2013 - 8:17am
I am trying to match my FLRs with my programme collection with 100% accuracy. Can I have a link that will do this? I have some copies that I have 100% so I can help others.
Sunday 4th August 2013 - 3:23pm
That's not information I have, I'm afraid, Matthew. But thanks for looking at the site. Best wishes, Mark.
Sunday 4th August 2013 - 4:49pm
I've had a think about your task, Matthew and the only way I can suggest is to go season by season. For the 1966/67 and 1967/68 seasons, the magazines had the date on the front cover. For the remaining seasons, find out the first week of the league season (using something like a News of the World Football Annual) and match up the magazine numbers with the Saturdays of the season from week 1 onwards. The only question with this is whether the Reviews were put into the Christmas issues on boxing day as this was usually a full fixture list but not a Saturday (other than 1 in 7 years, of course). Then again, you could work back wards from the League Cup Final edition which was always on the Saturday of that final to match up the sequence. Hope that helps.
Monday 5th August 2013 - 8:39am
I have 14 Copies of Football League Review, from early 70's, which I wish to sell. Any Interest?
Monday 4th November 2013 - 1:49pm
Thanks for the offer, John but I've got a very large stock of them already. Why not put the on Ebay as a small job lot?
Tuesday 5th November 2013 - 9:49am