All my life I’ve been collecting football publications.
It got to the stage where, at one point, I had upwards of 15.000 including weekly Soccer Stars, the iconic Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, and through a plethora of annuals, player biographies and serious books on the game from the likes of Hunter Davies, Brian Glanville and our own Eamonn Dunphy.
I lost a lot of them in a fire in the early eighties but still have a few thousand left and I regularly leaf through them, something which brings into sharp focus just how the game has changed over the years. To the point where, in many aspects, it is barely recognisable from the work of the founding fathers.
In this respect the actual apparel worn by football teams is a case in point. In the old days every team from Gleneely United to Real Madrid just bought their own gear from the local retailer with sponsorship not even on the distant horizon. Nowadays Manchester United get a cool £75million A YEAR from adidas and all the gear you could ever imagine, both social and sporting, for EVERY member of the club. Spurs too, though they come in the £30m a year bracket. What a change from the old days.
Just this morning I was looking at an old ‘Charlie Buchan’s’ from May 1962 when an advertisement for UMBRO sportswear (opposite) caught my eye. It is self explanatory but can you imagine current Spurs gaffer Mauricio Pochettino writing a somewhat grovelling letter after receiving TWO football shirts?