Re-Publishing historical football content digitally

The Biggest Family in the World

By on 12 December 2013

A major reason Soccer Attic first undertook the enormous task of making content from Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly available online and in digital format, was because there are many football supporters, like us, who still possess enormous affection for the magazine. This goes beyond that of simply being able to enjoy a fascinating piece of football history all over again via the power of the internet. For many, being the first football magazine of its kind, Football Monthly occupies a unique place in their own childhood or formative years. We believe this is summed up excellently in the following article, by editor John Thomson, that appeared in the 1958-59 Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly Gift Book. A rare piece of British sentimentality in the post-war period.

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By way of some additional information on the magazine, after the article, we have listed the main writers who featured in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly with a brief description of each. Our information is limited,  but if anyone out there can shed further light on any of these colourful characters that put the magazine together each month please contact us.      

 

 

 Some of the Editorial Team

Charles_Buchan_58/59 Gift Book

 

Charles Buchan

It had been said that one of the reasons Charles Buchan played so few games for England was that he was too intelligent to play well with other players as he was always thinking ahead of them. Little wonder then that, after retirement, he chose to turn his hand to the written word and become a football writer. Sadly, the great man died in September 1960, so was editor of his magazine for less than 10 years. His last ever editorial appeared in August 1960 and a fitting tribute to him in the September 1960 issue. His columns tended to be quite plain speaking and not as confrontational as some of the other writers.

 

 Main Contributors From the 1960’s

John Thompson

John Thompson, a former Daily Mirror reporter, was editor of the magazine from the beginning until May 1970 and was instrumental with Charles Buchan and Joe Sarl in its formation. His written contributions to the 1960’s editions are fairly limited.

 

macadam gift book  57/58

 

John Macadam

Macadam was a tough, no-nonsense Scot from the shipyards of Greenock of whom John Thompson wrote, “behind his outsized moustache had the melancholy of a man looking for something he could not hope to find.” He liked a drink which may well explain why his columns often drift off into a review of the eating and drinking establishments of wherever he happened to have been reporting or interviewing that month. His style was very much in the realm of “give them a kick up the arse and let’s get back to the business of football”.

 

 

Pat Collins August 1962

 

Pat Collins

Another Daily Mirror veteran, Collins wrote a regular opinion column in the magazine. He addresses issues of the day such as hooliganism, transfer fees and changes to the laws of the game and was never frightened of voicing his opinion in a very direct and forthright manner. His predictions at the beginning of the season were often remarkably accurate and it is good to see that, amid a fair amount of uncertainty and apprehension, he did foresee England’s victory in 1966. Collins became editor of the magazine in May 1970.

 

 

Leslie Yates

Every month Yates would write some short paragraphs about characters and events throughout English football from the First Division right down to the amateur leagues. Known as the ‘Soccer Sideshow’ it contained some real hidden gems, in particular, when read from a modern perspective. Yates was a big Spurs fan who had a pressroom at Tottenham dedicated to him.

W.G.G. Gallagher

CBFM always went out of its way to cover football in Scotland and this column was a regular insert. Many column inches were given up to discussing the need for change in the Scottish leagues, amid falling attendances and a too dominant ‘Old Firm’, and always bemoaning the drain of Scottish talent to the wealthier English game. Sound familiar??

Ken Gallacher

He took over ‘Scottish Scene’ from W.G.G in the mid to late 1960’s though without his name against the article it would have been difficult to tell as the issues in Scotland remained much the same throughout the decade. Naturally, he was forced to cover the same ground as his predecessor.

Norman Ackland

Long time fan of CBFM and author and compiler of the Best of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, Simon Inglis, described correspondent, Norman Ackland as “…a feckless, if amiable, rogue. Thrown out of Trinity College, Dublin for working as a bookie’s runner, he survived Dunkirk to impregnate a succession of mistresses in Dublin, Poona and Maida Vale. One of his offspring is actor Joss Ackland”. His monthly column, ‘With the Amateurs’, would focus on a specific team and their current plight. Very occasionally you’ll spot a young, well-known face in the team line-up photograph.

Geoffrey Green

Regular columnist Green was a well-respected journalist of the time. For CBFM he tended to focus on a particular team under the title of ‘Spotlight On’ where he would trace the journey of a side from its foundation to the present day and future plans. Frequently the issues discussed were developing young players, competing in difficult financial times and plans for new ground developments – all very relevant to today’s game.

Basil Easterbrook

In the later issues of the 1960s, Basil Easterbrook wrote the ‘Those Were Their Days’ column which effectively replaced Green’s ‘Spotlight’ feature but with more of a historical perspective. Another highly respected writer, he also had a regular slot in Cricket’s Wisden each year.

 

Morris Dec 62

 

Peter Morris

He took over the ‘Soccer Immortals’ feature when John Macadam sadly died. This feature focused on one of football’s greats and talked about their unique contribution to the game. Unsurprisingly, Charles Buchan himself was featured as well as Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews and other slightly less well-known giants who had also made significant contributions to the game. In a similar vain to ‘Soccer Sideshow’, he also wrote the ‘Getting Around’ feature which brought us interesting articles and issues from around the game but generally more in-depth and often more opinionated.

 

Roland Allen

In the same way that ‘Soccer Immortals’ focused on great players, Roland Allen’s ‘Great Teams’ would look at the contribution a great team made to the game at a particular moment in time such as Puskas’ Hungary, Chapman’s Arsenal or Scotland’s “Wizards” of 1928.

Bill Croft

Croft’s ‘The Game Abroad’ column looked at specific events and players in international and club teams outside of the UK. While there was still a slight feeling throughout CBFM that the ‘foreigners’ still had a lot to learn from us Brits, Croft always covered foreign football from a truly respectful viewpoint and it was a real educational read during times when media coverage was far less comprehensive on even British football let alone matters overseas.

David Prole

Appeared to be an occasional writer who covered a number of areas suggesting he filled in when others were unavailable. We think he went on to publish a number of specific club-related football books.