1 – Change Kit
Dave Mackay and Willie Carlin (Derby County) A&BC 1969-70
“On arrival at Millwall for an away match,” explains Andy Mac from footballcardsuk.com, “the Derby County staff realised they’d forgotten their kit, and had to borrow Millwall’s second strip. At least, so the story goes. Under Brian Clough, the Rams had just been crowned second division champions and ran out to a guard of honour made up of the Millwall team, all wearing Millwall shirts!”
Of course, it’s quite possible that Cloughie’s backroom boys forgot the kit, but a quick look at historicalkits.co.uk reveals that Millwall had only changed from blue shirts to all white that season... easy to miss, if you’re busy winning the Division 2 title.
2 – Looking Slightly Different
Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini (Italy) Panini Italia 90 /Thierry Henry (France) Panini World Cup 98
Ah, when it comes to football cards, there’s always something immensely satisfying about a good old lookalike or a stupid ‘70s haircut. Better still are stickers featuring people who are still in the game, pictured 20 or 30 years ago looking slightly different.
Here’s Young Homer and Roberto Mancini in 1990, together with a sweet, innocent style guru called Thierry Henry wearing one of the iffiest shirts in World Cup history. It’s only 13 years ago, but there’s little doubt Thierry wouldn’t have ended up as a statue if he’s persisted with hair, or a tash, or those giant toy drawstrings.
Not a lot of people know Channon spent a month with Newcastle in 1982, playing four League games
3 – Card Sharp
Ronnie Rees (Nottingham Forest) A&BC 1969-70 and 1970-71
There aren’t many things in life that can cause man or boy as much alarm as a hastily recoloured kit on a football card or sticker. For starters, there’s the creeping sense of injustice as you see through the sticker company’s little ruse – spotting the iffy, last-minute airbrushing and feeling soiled by the messy evidence of a crime.
Cue righteous indignation at the perpetrators of the cheapskate sticker album, who simply couldn’t be bothered to ask for a shot of Ronnie Rees (Nottingham Forest) in his nice new kit, preferring instead simply to colour in the old stripy shirt from a previous season’s Ronnie Rees (WBA). Caught red-handed.
4 – Decades
Mike Channon (Southampton) FKS 1968-69, (Man City) Panini Football 78, (Portsmouth) Leaf 100 Years of Soccer Stars 1988
After 12 years with Southampton, Mike left for Man City in 1977 but soon returned ‘home’ for another three years at The Dell. Then things got a bit weird. Not a lot of people know Channon spent a month with Newcastle in 1982, playing four League games. And so to Bristol Rovers, and a late three-year spell of success with Norwich.
And then that one last season spent at Pompey, where the Saints legend could never have been welcome, breaking the hearts of every Southampton fan into the bargain. Mike finally retired aged 38 in 1986.
And then he went racing...
5 – Felt Pen Art
Brian Little (England), Danny Westwood (Gillingham), Willie Pettigrew (Motherwell) Sun Soccercards 1979-80
Here’s just three of the 1,000 Sun Soccercards produced during 1978 and 1979, all featuring ‘full-colour drawings’ seemingly banged out in one long night by the newspaper’s ‘court scene’ artist, fuelled by hundreds of cups of coffee and industrial-strength tabs.
Anything to avoid paying image rights, eh? Even if the man with the felt-pen never did quite get the hang of eyes, their size relative to the human head, and the fact that they’re usually pretty much on the same level.
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