|Football History in 274 issues|
The process of working through all 247 issues page by page to type up the subjects covered and the players photographed to include on this website gave me a marvellous insight into how our national game has evolved over these important 23 years.
When the magazine starts you sense the overwhelming importance of the FA Cup, Internationals and the amateur ethic. Slowly the importance of the League appears at the same time as the growing awareness of European competitions.
The first issues are full of "grand " pictures, when men had "pals" and everyone played "soccer". Slowly the game became "football" (leaving soccer for the Americans) and the adverts changed from Rizlas, Brylcreem, dubbin and liniment to cigarettes, Adidas and Umbro.
April 1952 - Death of the King
January - 1954 Hungary 7 England 1
August and September 1954 - World Cup reports and pictures
January 1955 - John Charles Special
July1955 - The Manfield-Hotspur Continental (First advert for a football "shoe" rather than a boot)
August 1957 - Stanley Matthews crowned king of soccer
October 1957 - Mass riot in Greece: Olympiakos v Panathinaikos
November 1957 - First Colour centre spread-Aston Villa
March 1958 - Duncan Edwards (pictured on front page even though the week before he had died at Munich, a loose insert was added as an apology)
September 1958 - Brazil-Kings of the Soccer World
October 1958 - England refuses to join European Nations Cup
August 1959 - "No money to be made in football"
September 1959 - Real Madrid wins the European Cup
October 1959 - The league and the FA should split
December 1959 - 100th Special birthday Issue
February 1960 - The first double colour picture of England
July1960 - Real Madrid 7 Eintract Frankfurt 3
September 1960 - Tributes to Charles Buchan on his death
March1961 - Announcement of the abolition of the maximum wage
April 1961 - Premier league is just a matter of time
September 1961 - 10th Birthday Issue
May 1962 - the death of Accrington Stanley
June 1962 - World Cup Special
September1962 - Alan Hardaker (Football League Secretary)-Says:" No more pitch invasions".
October 1962 - First ever double colour page of one footballer - Denis Law (Manchester United
May 1963 - Umbro and Adidas (First ever double page advert for any product),
September 1963 - First non-British player on the cover-Pele
March 1965 - First picture and article on George Best
June 1965 - Celtic wins European Cup and Stanley Matthews plays final testimonial game
All of the 1966 issues are interesting with people criticising team selection and arguing for the inclusion of Jimmy Greaves. The Football Monthly World Cup souvenir issued in June 1966 effectively replaced that month's normal issue and was a massive seller and today is an ebay regular.
Print and copy deadlines certainly caused some delays that, in this Internet age, seem interminable. Indeed it was September 1966 that the first reports and black and white pictures of the World Cup win appeared with another month before the colour photographs.
July1967 - Celtic wins the European Cup
April 1968 - 200th Issue
May 1968 - Matt Busby Tribute
July1968 - Man United European Cup Winners
March1970 - World Cup Special
October1972 - George Best cover
August 1973 - Last ever Football Monthly before Digest format
June 1974 - Football Monthly Digest-World Cup Special and last copy
All 274 issues are viewable at the British Library (shelf ref. pp 1832 mag ) with the exception of September 1972 and January 1973 which, for some reason, are missing.
In January 2008 I was telephoned by Mike Hayes who worked with Charles Buchan in the early days at the Strand in London. He explained he was besotted with the magazine as a boy and was known to the editors as the boy who phoned every month to find out which players would be in colour the following month! His loyalty later obtained him a job as office boy where he progressed for eleven years.
I asked Mike to put his recollections down so that I could include them on the website and within 3 hours the following arrived. I have not edited his thoughts as I think they are a marvellous insight into life at the Football Monthly, warts and all, from an employee's point of view.
"I used to work with Charles Buchan's publications. I started work as a 15 year old lad just left school, on Monday 31st December 1956 as a office boy, at 408 Strand, WC2, and left the firm in October 1967, then at No. 161/166 Fleet Street, EC4, I was then a Production advertisement manager on DISC a weekly musical paper.
I really started work part-time during school holidays in 1956, so I already knew my bosses quite well, as well as Mr. Buchan, my other two bosses were John Thompson and Joe Sarl, and all 3 were the best guvnors I ever had. Apart from those 3 directors, I shared an office with two other workers, David Stacey a Arsenal fan, and Graham Ireland who lived near the Fulham football club, I lived 3 streets from the Chelsea football ground, so I was and still am a Chelsea fanatic. I was the first Chelsea fan to work for Football Monthly, but not the last, as later when in Fleet Street, we had John Shrewsbury join us for a little while till he left and became a producer on BBC'S "Match of the day".
In our old office on 2nd floor of 408 Strand, WC2, we only had two rooms, our three directors Charlie Buchan, John K Thompson, and Joe M Sarl's main office used to overlook the Strand, a great view of the passing Strand traffic and Barclays Bank just opposite. No 408 was and still is between two famous Strand theatres. The second office where David Stacey, Graham Ireland, and Dave Hams worked overlooked Wards Irish House or Nell Gwynn's Inn, onto a small alleyway which leads up to Maiden Lane close to Bedford Street. In 1957 Sporting Cyclist moved in above us on 3rd floor, they to being part of Charles Buchan's Publications, when that name later changed in Fleet Street to Longacre Press, later still Go Magazine,.....We absolutely hated those last two names.
Mr Buchan was like a Grandad to me, as I was the youngest on the firm, and he was a dear man. Not many people knew that he even helped ex-convicts to jobs on release from prison, as he never saw wrong in anybody. I always called my 3 directors Mr, never Charlie, John, or Joe, and I often went to Mr Buchan's flat in Putney to get some cheques signed when he was ill, and couldn't get to work to"408". He had a heart problem for several years, and when died in June 1960, I heard the news on the BBC radio in my parents house, I just broke down and cried, I was just 18, but he was truly a wonderful man. I used to make the coffee at "408" and my 3 bosses just loved my coffee making. Our main job back then was dispatching pens all over the world, as we advertised all the football clubs in Football Monthly. The biggest mistake my 3 directors made was in 1957, publishing a book called "BUS STOP" featuring Marilyn Monroe, they thought it would sell millions, but it turned out to be a complete flop, because there were NO pictures of sexy Marilyn in the book, and it only sold a little more then 200 copies, which made us broke. So in desperation the distributors of Football Monthly bought us out, so in January 1958, us six, moved into a new building No. 161/166 Fleet Street EC4.
Straight away our firm grew from just six to almost 66, as we took on old and new publications, such as weekly papers Sporting Record, Melody Maker, plus a new weekly paper which I later worked on in advertising called DISC, plus another weekly paper Motor Cycling, and monthly magazines other then Football Monthly, Sporting Cyclist, Cine Camera, Rugby World, I was a office boy right up to the time I was 21, by which time John Thompson was our Managing director, he had known me since I was around 14, and I told him, I cannot continue as an office boy at 21, I want to move on, so he immediately had a meeting with two advertising guys and in January 1963, I started work in the advertising dept.
I was thrown in at the deep end and made Advertisement Production manager of DISC, my wage jumped from first starting work at £3.5s.0d, to a 1964 wage of a fabulous £18.19s.0d a week, believe me it was a colossal wage in those days. Some of the changes we didn't like, as some staff we got on with, others you would avoid if possible. Graham Ireland moved into advertising too. David Stacey from Southend Road Wickford is still around, he used to be Arsenal's mascot walking around the old Highbury pitch, I went with him once to Spurs ground where he got pelted with rubbish from the Spurs fans. I have followed Chelsea from 1957/8 all over the country for many years, now I am a season cardholder in the lower West Stand.
I know John Thompson and old Pat Collins, John Macadam, plus Clifford Webb all died several years ago, but not sure about Joe Sarl. Joe came from Feltham, and lived there for many years, he did have a son thought, cannot remember his name.
Back at "408", we did have one man who came in 3 times a week to sub edit Football Monthly a man named Malcolm Cumming, He loved his booze, and I hear he died in 1968.
I remember now Joe's full name was Joseph Maxwell Sarl, and apart from Football Monthly, he worked as the racing correspondent for the now defunct Reynolds News in Grays Inn Road, WC2 . Tom Dalton a Millwall fan also worked at "408" but was rude to a young fan, whose father wrote into Mr Buchan, and he was fired. Tom later appeared on TV and won the $64,000 question on football.
1957, was the best year of my life at "408", it was an old building which has since been rebuilt, it holds great memories, and I know David Stacey would testify to that too, if we ever meet up, the talk would be about "408".
When our bosses went to lunch at Mooneys Irish house, we would be playing football in the office on the 2nd floor, if we heard their voices on the stairs returning, we would suddenly return to our chairs breathless. They were no fools, as one day they came in, Mr Thompson looked at the three of us and said "WHO WON"?....Great guys.
Sporting Cyclist the monthly magazine was also started at "408" edited by Jock Wadley a lovely man from Colchester.
One final story on Mr Buchan is on 6th February 1958, the weekly paper DISC was launched, and all the top singers of the day were there at No. 161/166 Fleet Street. Charlie was due to make a speech in the evening, but just simply said, today has become the saddest day of my life, I cannot say any more, but you people just enjoy yourselves. Of course all the football people present already knew that evening followed the biggest disaster ever in football when that same afternoon, half the Man Utd team, and every journalist bar one were killed at Munich, ALL of whom were Charlie's friends. I remember days later crying when I heard Duncan Edwards had died, as I had met him and Matt Busby in 1955 at Old Trafford."
Sadly I recently learnt from Sean Hayes ( Mike's son ) that Mike passed away on the 3rd August 2008.