Great for the colour team photographs but watch out for all those different cover versions – A brief guide to the Football League Review magazine
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 had 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 between 1965/66 and 1974/75 (366 editions excluding variants – see below), 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 or behind the centre pages 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 (there were 300 in all) 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 laid out this way: it’s the way it’s done, it seems (see link at the end of the post below).
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 it 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.
But the colour team photographs are just one interesting aspect of the magazine.
Another is the rather quirky area of variants or different versions of the magazine revolving around details of both the front and back covers which were produced mainly during 3 seasons – 1967/68, 1968/69 and 1973/74 (with one issue to note in 1969/70), as we shall see.
At the beginning, whilst 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, in its first incarnation, the magazine was not produced by the Football League and was not called the Football League Review.
Also, the story of the magazine cannot be told without mentioning not only the team photographs but all the others in the magazine, taken by the photographer Peter Robinson.
It is very much Peter’s style of photograph which set the feel of the magazine from 1966/67 onwards.
In a recent conversation, Peter told me the story of how he got involved with the magazine and it all started as things often do, by chance.
Emerging from a record shop in Leicester one day, Peter bumped into a journalist contact who just happened to be walking down the same road as Peter. After a brief chat, the contact told Peter that someone he knew, who turned out to be Harry Brown was looking for someone to deliver a new football magazine to football clubs.
Indeed, the story of the magazine is in many ways, the story of Brown and this has been told superbly in the first issue of SOCCERAMA magazine, edited by Hyder Jawad in a detailed essay running to 17,000 words (see link below). While Brown conceptualised the magazine and was its editor until 1970/71, even after his departure, the magazine felt his presence as bit by bit, it ran out of steam and the Football League’s financial support before closing in the early days of 1975, as we shall see.
Anyway, Peter Robinson accepted Harry Brown’s offer and took on the job. He started driving around the country in a van to deliver the early editions of Soccer Review (as it was called in its first year), occasionally having to get from Leicester to places as far away as Torquay where he might often have to sleep in the van for his trouble.
When the Football League took over the magazine for the 1966/67 season (when it became the Football League Review), the staff were all taken on by the Football League and Peter, already a photographer, changed his role from delivery man to the magazine’s photographer.
The rest, as we shall see below is history (see the end of the post for a link to Peter’s website where he displays a lifetime of work).
Here is a look through the magazine, season by season followed by a summary of the various different cover versions of the magazine with much thanks to collectors John Wells and Neil Dickinson.
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.
The brainchild of a man called Harry Brown (who hired Peter Robinson), the magazine was published by a company called Sport and Screen in Leicester, set up by Brown, proclaiming 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 copies 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.
Thanks to Hyder Jawad and his SOCCERAMA piece, we now know that this type of article aimed at female spectators was very much to do with the influence of Harry Brown’s daughter Marilyn, who worked on the magazine and was trained up as a journalist by her father.
In this first article, the headline posed a question so loaded with potential double entendre 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
The Football League took over the publication of the magazine the next season 1966/67, including hiring all the key staff members at Sport and Screen.
Harry Brown and his family and Peter Robinson too, moved up to the Lytham St. Annes area.
The magazine’s name was changed to Football League Review and the numbering system started again 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 plus different cover versions (see section at end of post)
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.
Again, as Hyder Jawad has revealed to us, this revamp in the production quality of the magazine was very much part of Harry Brown’s vision for the publication.
Here is the number 1 edition;
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 title from 1965/66, 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;
For me and others too, the organisation of the content was certainly its most memorable with its themed approach; ‘Club Grounds’, ‘Men Behind The Ball’, ‘Club Call’, ‘From the Chair’, ‘Meet the Referee’, ‘Facts and Figures’ and ‘Post Bag’.
Below we can see Men 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.
There would be 299 others of teams mainly in the Football League;
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 plus different cover versions (see section at end of post)
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 wall chart 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 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 separate 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 with a 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
This season saw a major change in the magazines editorial team.
Thanks to SOCCERAMA, we now know that Harry Brown, after years running his magazine but all the while at the Football League, experiencing a difficult relationship with League Secretary Alan Hardaker, left his post and moved on to a job working for Derby County producing their newspaper style programme at the Baseball Ground.
Bob Baldwin, who had been the assistant editor of the magazine, took over as editor.
For 1970/71, we had another set of magazines again 20 pages 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 (issue #40 A);
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 this double page spread, the ACTION picture below on the right, showed Chelsea’s Paddy Mulligan fighting off Leeds United‘s Eddie Gray.
While 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.
The name change was designed to refresh the magazine’s image, although the problem was that it was losing money and also, the post 1966 World Cup boom in interest for reading football publications, especially magazines appeared to be on the wane.
While the Football League still continued to subsidise the magazine, seeing it as a good way to get their message across to many thousands of football fans each week, the magazine was always under pressure.
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;
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 front cover of issue #709, 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 and Balderstone was in the Yorkshire side facing home team, Middlesex.
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 (see 1974/75 season below).
Sadly Balderstone, who became a respected cricket umpire after retiring as a sportsman, died at quite a young age of 59 in 2000;
1973/74 – 37 issues including A and B plus different cover versions (see section at end of post)
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 nickname was ‘Arry Boy’.
I was saddened 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 (bottom left) 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;
The back cover version variants for this 1973/74 are by far the most complicated to understand.
I have gone into some detail in the section further down the post to list all the details for those interested in all the different versions.
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;
Here is Chris Balderstone again, in his Carlisle United football kit, on the back cover of #910;
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 together in a popular bar. 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‘)
By this time, the magazine was on borrowed time.
For economic reasons, as the Football League decided to support the magazine less financially and less clubs felt the need to include the magazine as club commitment to providing an expanded and more comprehensive matchday programme increased, the end was near for Harry Brown’s baby.
The magazine did not even last to the end of that season publishing its last issue in early 1975, issue #920, the 366th edition not counting all the variants which we will cover below.
In this quite rare last issue (#920), the editorial explains the decision to close it.
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 League’s 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 Frank McLintock and Ian 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;
Collecting the magazine / The different versions and variants
Looking at the issue of how people collect the magazines, it seems that this is done in many ways;
1. By number and season – Most people seem to try and collect every issue, season by season.
2. By colour team photo content – An approach popular by fans of individual clubs. Collectors of the photographs as opposed to the magazines sometimes take the pictures out of the magazine leaving it incomplete. When about to buy job lots of the magazine, I’d recommend asking the seller to confirm that the magazines are complete.
3. By any type of team content – Similar to #2 but with a focus on features and player photographs as well as the team ones.
4. By player photo content – Some people like to collect the memorabilia of individual players. I know 2 collectors, one who looks for Derek Dougan items and another who collects everything with Kevin Keegan on it or in it.
5. By other criteria – I know one collector who only sought items which related to the 1st Division for the 1974/75 season including the League Football magazines for that season only.
But there is another layer to collecting the magazine which John Wells and Neil Dickinson, two collectors of the magazine, have opened up for me; namely all the various different cover versions of the magazine especially in 3 seasons, 1967/68, 1968/69 and 1973/74 with one example in 1969/70.
Again many thanks to these gentlemen for all the information on this part of the magazine’s story which I will attempt to summarise now.
#22-39 for 1967/68 had two cover versions both front and back;
Front – ‘Presented by courtesy of the club‘ or the ‘Date’;
Here are both versions of #23. Look for the appropriate title just above the action photograph in the left hand side;
Back – An Old Holborn advert or a Park Drive advert;
Here are both versions for #22;
Issues have various different front and back covers.
Front – ‘Presented by courtesy of the club‘ or the ‘Date’.
Here are both versions for #3 with Everton’ s Alan Ball playing chess with his dad Alan Ball Snr, at that time, manager of Halifax Town;
Back – An Old Holborn or a Park Drive adverts including some which promoted the Park Drive Book of Football and dependent on which front cover was showing, as follows;
For #1 to #8, the Presented by courtesy of the club issues had a version with an advert promoting the Park Drive Book of Football and one with an Old Holborn advert.
Here are the back covers of #3 again with these adverts showing;
The Date front cover versions had the Old Holborn advert back cover version.
From #9, the back covers of the Presented by courtesy of the club issues have a Park Drive advert version or the Old Holborn advert version as shown above.
From #9 to #17, the Park Drive advert was this one;
By #20, the advert had changed to this one;
But at #39, the last issue of the season, the advert reverts back to the earlier one but without any pricing against the cigarettes, one suggestion being that the reason for this was that it was budget time and the price would probably be about to change after the Chancellor’s speech;
The Date front cover issues all have the Old Holborn advert on the back cover.
Are there Date front cover issues with Park Drive advert back covers? I don’t think so, but I can’t state categorically that this is the case.
#434 showing Everton’s Alan Ball, has no number on the back cover;
Issues for 1973/74 have many different back cover versions;
#801 to #806 have an advert for the Whitbread Football League Yearbook as shown here for #801;
#807 to #811 are all player photo back covers only (no Park Drive advert versions) starting with #807 – Stoke City players with the Watney Cup on the front cover + David Webb (Chelsea) on the back cover, which has no number on it;
#808 – John Kaye (Hull City) front cover + Martin Buchan / Manchester United back cover) has its number on the bottom right corner of the inside back cover.
On this inside back cover photograph, look for the small white number at the bottom right corner next to the shin / ankle of Arsenal’s Bob McNab (George Armstrong has his right ankle in plaster);
Other back cover player photographs in this section of the numbers are ;
#809 – Steve Perryman (Tottenham Hotspur)
#810 – Brian O’Neil (Southampton)
#811 – Mike Doyle (Manchester City)
#812 – Tommy Hutchison (Coventry City) has its number transposed (below) and a Park Drive advert cover version with the number the correct way around;
#813 has John Mahoney (Stoke City) on the back cover as well as a Park Drive advert version.
#814 has two versions involving the back covers and inside back covers.
The first one is with a Park Drive advert on the back cover and a Brylcream advert on the inside back cover as below;
The second one has the Brylcream advert (as above) on the back cover and a photo of Don Masson (Notts County) on the inside back cover;
#815 has John Roberts (Birmingham City) on the back cover as well as a Park Drive advert version.
#816 has a Ted Hemsley (Sheffield United) player photo version and a Park Drive advert version without pricing on it.
#817 and #818 have Park Drive advert back cover versions and also player back cover versions as follows;
#817 – Allan Hunter (Ipswich Town)
#818 – Norman Piper (Portsmouth)
#80A, generally believed to have been issued in this part of the number sequence, has a Colin Todd (Derby County) player photo version but again, I am not sure if there is a Park Drive advert version.
#819, #820 and #821 have Park Drive advert back cover versions and also player back cover versions as follows;
#819 – Peter Rodrigues (Sheffield Wednesday)
#820 – Stuart Lee (Bolton Wanderers)
#821 – David Stringer (Norwich City)
#822 has Terry Hibbit (Newcastle United) on the front cover and has a number on its player photo version, Peter Lorimer – (Leeds United) but not on its Park Drive advert version;
#823 to #827 have Park Drive advert back cover versions and also player back cover versions as follows;
#823 – Andy McCullough (Cardiff City)
#824 – Tony Field (Blackburn Rovers)
#825 – Francis Burns (Preston North End)
#826 – David Thomas (Queens Park Rangers)
#827 – Ernie Machin (Plymouth Argyle)
#828 has three versions, a player photo version with Mike Bernard (Everton), a Park Drive advert version with cigarettes priced and also one without pricing.
#829 to #833 have a Park Drive advert version without the cigarettes priced and player photo versions as follows;
#829 – Andy Rankin (Watford)
#830 – Trevor Francis (Birmingham City)
#831 – John Wyle (West Bromwich Albion)
#832 – Geoff Hurst (Stoke City)
#80B – John Craven (Coventry City)
#833 – Peter Simpson (Arsenal)
The Park Drive advert version without the cigarettes priced for the above editions look like this one for #830;
#834 (like #828) has three versions, a player photo version with Ralph Coates (Tottenham Hotspur), a Park Drive advert version with cigarettes priced and also one without pricing.
#835 is back to a two version edition with a player photo version with Malcolm MacDonald (Newcastle United) and a Park Drive advert version without pricing.
4. Sequence of the A, B, C, D issues
A quirky aspect of the numbering systems was that in addition to the obvious and simple chronological system of #1. #2 etc, in 1969/70, four extra issue were published, A, B, C and D.
Then for each of the following seasons up to and including 1973/74, there were two additional numbers A and B.
I had thought that these alphabetical based numbers were usually issued at the start of the season before the number 1 of that season but I was wrong!
There is uncertainty as to the exact places of many of these lettered issues, although some issues have been placed in what looks like the correct place, as follows.
For 1969/70, #40 A sits between #401 and #402. Later in the season, #40 D sits between #433 and #434.
There is a question mark about were #40 B and #40 C sit.
For 1970/71, after looking at the content, John Wells believes that issue #50 A sits between #501 and #502 and was meant to be used by clubs playing at home in the League Cup between the opening two Saturdays of the League season, a rationale which probably applies to the 1969/70 season.
Also, #50 B sits between #535 and #536 at the back end of the season.
For 1971/72, thanks to Darren Polat (see comments below) who believes that #60 A goes between #601 and #602 and that #60 B sits between #637 and #638.
For 1972/73, Darren believes that 70 A sits between #701 and #702 and that 70 B sits between #737 and #738.
For the 1973/74 season, issue #80 A sits between #818 and #819 and then issue #80 B sits between #832 and #833.
So if anyone knows or can work out where the lettered issues, especially in 1969/70, please let me know. Any help would be much appreciated.
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 the start of the 1965/66 season and early January 1975 when the last issue was published, #920, usually but not always in addition to the staples for the host programme.
Some clubs just inserted the magazine into the centre of their programme.
Leeds United split the magazine up so that the centre page of their programme was still the centre pages with the Football League Review stapled into the programme underneath.
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 or magazine or both.
There are programme collectors who always remove the magazine from the host programme but equally, there are others who like the magazine to remain inside the programme as this represents the original state of the item.
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.
Searching for all 366 of them by number and then the additional issues by all of the above variations, 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.
Collecting, values and prices.
In addition to all the details above which collectors can use when putting together their collections, as far as values and prices are concerned, as with most old football magazines, today, copies of the magazine are plentiful on the internet and especially Ebay.
Editions for the 1965/66 Soccer Review season and the 1966/67 Football League Review season, Volume 1 are rarer and more difficult to find in good condition.
These editions can cost a bit more than the few pounds which most issues will be purchased for.
The only other editions which will cost collectors a bit more money, or in some cases, quite a lot more money, will be the last few editions from the final 1974/75 season.
Numbers #910 to #920 are much rarer and the last one, very rare. I’ve only seen 3 editions and sold one of them for just over £35.
As ever, values and prices will be influenced by condition.
Collectors might always check that individual issues or issues in collections of the magazine in job lots are complete.
In my experience, unspecified job lots are often in mixed condition with some issues missing their colour team photographs and / or with faults, especially creasing, rusty staples and marks but this is not a problem, as long as you know this when you purchase.
Many editions are likely to have a slight vertical crease in them as they began their lives inside club programmes and it has always been the way that many fans folded their programme to fit into a coat pocket, thereby creasing the Football League Review when either at the time, just after the game or years later, the magazine was removed from the programme.
Most football enthusiasts / collectors don’t mind such creases, although others will seek copies free of creasing. The phrase, ‘different strokes for different folks’ will apply.
Whilst the Football League Review magazine is not as well known as titles like Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, Soccer Star and others, it holds a special place on an era of the game straddling the middle of the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Harry Brown’s vision made real by Brown, Bob Baldwin and others brought to life with the photographs of Peter Robinson have created an iconic reference of football from around the time of England’s mid 1960’s World Cup victory into the 1970’s when the rationale for the magazine and its use predominantly as a programme insert had faded away, especially with a growing commitment amongst many clubs to develop and publish better match day programmes for their supporters.
Without demeaning the place or image of the other magazine titles for the era, hopefully a renewed focus on the magazine fuelled by posts like this and Hyder Jawad’s history in SOCCERAMA, will help to establish a new, refreshed place for the Football League Review in the history of football literature and in the hearts, minds and collections of football enthusiasts of the magazine’s era.
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.
To go directly to the Football League Reviews in the Goals and Wickets Ebay Shop click; http://stores.ebay.co.uk/GoalsandWickets/Football-League-Reviews-/_i.html?_fsub=667303015&_sc=1&_sid=680272245&_sop=10&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322
For details of SOCCERAMA magazine and the excellent piece on the Football League Review in the first issue written by Hyder Jawad, click here; SOCCERAMA magazine’s Facebook page
Finally, here is a link to the website of the magazines’ photographer, Peter Robinson.
The site is quite stunning and a reflection of a body or work Peter has put together over many decades working for some of the game’s top Football organisations based in Europe after leaving the Football League Review.
Peter also emphasised to me, a work in progress, so will have more content added to it and captions added to the photographs where relevant;
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
I am seeking a 1974 issue of LEAGUE FOOTBALL that featured Valley Parade in the Ground Call feature. I wish to buy but would pay for a 600 dpi scan. Can you help and/or put me in touch with anyone who could? Best wishes John
Wednesday 22nd January 2014 - 4:23pm
Hi John, Thanks for your message. I've checked through all my FLR's from 1970/71 onwards and can't find that Valley Parade Club Call feature. There are a couple of the final 1974/75 season I don't have (915 and 920) so maybe the picture is in one of those? I'll keep looking in any new stock I get and will let you know if I find it. Best wishes, Mark
Thursday 23rd January 2014 - 12:49am
Great article Mark, about one of my favourite magazines. For a young lad in the late 60s and early 70s, the FLR was an absolute treasure-trove of information on clubs across the league. I'm busy trying to finish my collection!
Tuesday 11th February 2014 - 11:15pm
Thanks Ian. I agree. The the magazine is a great snapshot of the game as it changed between 1965 and 1975. Best wishes, Mark
Wednesday 12th February 2014 - 8:50am
For anyone interested in Peter Robinson excellent photography I can recommed his wonderful book 'Football Days' (which won the best illustrated sports book award in 2004.) it's a lovely book and features many of the pictures used in FLR as well as to the present day and has an interview with Mr Robinson detailing how he became a photographer. Interestingly even though he is probably Britains best football photographer and has worked for the Football League, The FA and FIFA, the Premier League refused him a licence! It is a great book full of wonderful shots.
Monday 10th March 2014 - 11:54am
I'll look out for it, Karris.
Monday 10th March 2014 - 1:27pm
Hi John. After various e-mails with Neil Dickinson, I've now updated the post on the Football League Review to include a section on all the versions and variations. I've mentioned and thanked you twice, by name at the top and bottom of the post, as part of this edit. I hope you are happy with me to do that? Just let me know if not. Also, if you could have a look, I'd be grateful and if I've made any errors, let me know. Best wishes, Mark
Thursday 5th June 2014 - 10:39am
Hi, I think I've worked out where 4 of the issues go. 60a because of an advert on page 18 advertising a final on 7th Aug would seem to place it between 601 & 602. 60b because of a letter on page 20 talking about the Tottenham/Man Utd game played in April places it between 637 & 638. 70a because of a letter in issue 636 places it between 701 & 702. 70b because of the number PN5 522H on the players advert seems to place near the only other of that advert between 737 & 738. As for the other 2 your guess is as good as mine!
Tuesday 12th August 2014 - 4:08pm
Thanks for all of that, Darren. When I get a chance in the next day or so, I'll have a look at those issues and update the post accordingly. Best wishes, Mark.
Tuesday 12th August 2014 - 8:00pm
many thanks for putting this information out there. Have a number of copies which I am trying to put in order and this is a tremendous help
Tuesday 21st October 2014 - 12:17pm
Thanks for looking, Philip. I'm glad the post has been of some use to you. Best wishes, Mark.
Tuesday 21st October 2014 - 3:37pm
What a fantastic feature on the Football League Review. I only saw them in the Millwall and Charlton programmes when I went there as I mainly went to Arsenal who did not include the review. Fantastic memories of a bygone era. Not a sponsor in sight.
Monday 9th March 2015 - 11:33pm
Thanks very much, John. The magazine is an unsung hero of the old memorabilia from that time. Although they sell for £1-2 each (in my Ebay Shop I have over 200 of them available), I sense that there are lots of people out there collecting. This post has received more comments than any on the site. I love them too and it was amazing to have Peter Robinson, the magazine's photographer, phone me out of the blue to chat about his time there (as mentioned in the post). I felt like I was involved with history. On Arsenal programmes, if you click onto the FOOTBALL homepage of the site and look in the PROGRAMMES column / section, I've written a brief guide to Arsenal programmes which you might enjoy. If you click through to my Ebay Shop and go to the FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES lists, again, I have 375 Arsenal issues for sale and am about to list about 200 more that I've just picked up at a football memorabilia auction. I'm sure the article and the Ebay items will bring back lots of memories and hopefully happy ones. Last night, I was at Old Trafford, courtesy of a United fan friend and afterwards called 2 of the Arsenal friends from school days that I mention in the brief guide website post on Arsenal programmes. Needless to say, they were delighted at the result in direct contrast to about 68,000 Red Devils fans who most definitely were not. Thanks again for looking at the site. Kind comments like yours make all the hard work putting the articles together worth it. Best wishes, Mark
Tuesday 10th March 2015 - 11:02am
I much enjoyed you article on the Football League Review magazine. One problem, however, you give the number of issues as being 920 over the 9.5 seasons of its publication. This would mean an average of about 97 per season! Adding up your details of numbers per season indicates that the total should be 366. All the best, Dave
Wednesday 16th September 2015 - 10:57am
Hi Dave, Thanks very much for reading the post and for your kind comments. Well spotted on the numbers. There were indeed 366 editions with the last one being #920. Each season from 1969/70, where the prefix before the numbers was a 4 (i.e. 404, 405), that pre-fix went up one, so that by the 1974/75 season, the numbers were 901, 902 etc. Having just been through the post again, it's amazing that after various re-writes and numerous edits, I had not included the 366 figure. Consequently, I've just edited the post in a couple of places (near the top and where I talk about issue #920 further down) to correct this. I hope these changes will make things clearer for the reader. Thanks again and best wishes, Mark PS I'm about to list on Ebay a few of the last ones in the 1974/75 season, including the #920 issue which is very scarce indeed. Although I sell lots of these magazines on Ebay, I have never even listed #920, so I have no idea what it's worth. However, many people have contacted me about it, so I will put it on as an auction item and let the market decide.
Wednesday 16th September 2015 - 1:51pm
in respect of the A,B,C & D issues: 40A - I have this stapled in Workington v Grimsby 9.8.69, first Saturday of the season. However I also have Leeds v Spurs also 9.8.69 with issue 401. Both issues must have been distributed at the same time. 40B - don't know! 40C - I have Millwall v Blackburn stapled in, 10.1.70 which I believe puts it between 422 & 423. 50A - early season between 501 & 502 sounds right! 50B - I have Liverpool v Leeds 14.4.71 stapled in, so between 535 & 536 sounds right. 60A - I have Blackpool v Swindon 14.8.71 stapled, first game of the season so puts it before 601, but like 40A possibly distributed together. 60B - I have Ipswich v Spurs 3.4.72 stapled so I would put it between 634 & 635. 70A - I agree between 701 & 702. 70B - although it announces Bell's manager of the month I think it is proper to mid April. 80A - I agree between 818 & 819. 80B - I agree between 832 & 833. For 74/5 late issues look to Liverpool and Ipswich programmes which had them stapled in. I have 909 Liv v Middles. 12.10.74; 910 Liv v Ferencvaros 23.10.74; 911 Liv v Leeds 26.10.74; 912 Liv v Arsenal 9.11.74; 914 Ips v Cov 16.11.74; 915 Liv v WHU 23.11.74; 916 Ips v Carlisle 30.11.74; 917 Liv v Derby 7.12.74; 918 Ips v Spurs 14.12.74; 919 Liv v Man.C 26.12.74 & Ips v Luton 26.12.74. I still need 66/7 17 & 34; 74/5 913. I would like to get in touch with Matthew Rowell as we seek the same info about the seasons clubs issued. Here is my address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be pleased to correspond with anyone on the subject of FLR/LF.
Thursday 25th February 2016 - 8:28pm
Thanks very much for all of that information, Paul. When I get a moment, I'm update the post where appropriate. Best wishes, Mark
Friday 26th February 2016 - 1:19pm
Hi there, great comments..but is there a link/site which shows the front covers of every issue, so that collectors can sort/print it out and tick off the ones they have etc?..would be handy if anyone who has a complete collection could put this on a site, as i for one would love to see all the front covers and would help me in my collection of them...also same with any other football publications....we need a site which shows them all....every football magazine/annual/handbook/yearsbooks/ etc...or one which anyone can add their own books to for us all to see...cheers guys!
Friday 9th December 2016 - 2:48pm
Hi Alan, Thanks for looking at the site and for your comment. I agree that what you ask for would be fantastic and maybe at some time in the future, I might consider doing the covers on the blog. At present, I don't believe there is another site which shows all the covers. The issue is that it's a huge amount of work (366 scans and all the formatting and writing around them) and I have a master plan for the whole site which I'm working to complete before going to a more details level on the various titles, especially the magazines. I suppose in the absence of the covers, the idea is to collect the magazines by the numbers. You can use my brief guide to map out what they are by season (with the A, B, C, D editions added on as appropriate) and then monitor what you have by ticking them off a master list as you acquire them. I certainly list all my FLR's on Ebay with the season and number in the heading and in the item details too. In fact, in an increasing number of my items listed in the Goals and Wickets Ebay Shop, I am including more than just the team photo in the listing and these include the front covers (in the case of the FLR's / League Football magazines, these are always the 2nd photo). So you could do a screen print of those photos and start up your own hard copy paper file in the meantime. Also, have a look at the season sets I have on offer as these all have photos of the front covers. After a collage of front and back covers, I have taken photos of the magazines 4 at a time. Whilst I don't say which number is which cover (although I do take the photos of the magazines in chronological order), these season set photos are the closest you'll get to a visual record of the covers at the moment. Again, you could do screen prints of these photos and you'll make a start. Hope that all helps? Thanks and best wishes again, Mark
Friday 9th December 2016 - 5:15pm
Excellent article. A flickr site with pics of front covers - https://www.flickr.com/photos/143480208@N03/albums/with/72157675114719884
Tuesday 10th January 2017 - 8:00am
Thanks very much, Karl. Your Flicker site is brilliant and chimes with a question a bit further up from Alan Parke about sites showing the front covers etc. A wonderful tribute to the magazine. Best wishes, Mark
Tuesday 10th January 2017 - 4:10pm
Hi Alan, Following your original question, just a quick note to make you aware of a fantastic Flicker site which Karl has posted a link for in the comments. The site shows all the covers and team photos with the numbers of the issues. Hope that helps. Best wishes, Mark
Tuesday 10th January 2017 - 4:14pm