Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly holds a special place for football supporters of a certain age. In the decades before mass media, even mass print media, this was a publication full of in-depth features and articles.
After a solid playing career with Sunderland; Arsenal and England, not to mention winning the military Medal in World War One, Buchan turned to journalism. In 1947, sailing back from watching England beat Belgium, Charles Buchan and three other notable journalists founded the Football Writers Association. This organisation still awards the most prestigious individual trophy in English Football, to this day.
In 1951 he founded and edited Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly. The magazine ran until June 1974, some 11 years after Buchan’s death.
Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly issue 101
The publication was already 89 editions in by the time it started dropping through our letterbox in Wolverhampton. And, today, I’m looking back exactly 60 years at edition 101 from January 1960.
The magazine cost 1’6d and for these first hundred or so editions featured a posed and ‘coloured up’ photograph of a player on the cover. We were still about 12 months away from the action shots on the cover, that I used to love so much. Barely a game went by without one or other of us commenting that a particular shot, or save, would ‘look great on the cover of Football Monthly’!
So, edition 101 features Eddie Holliday of Middlesbrough. Holliday was in his first spell at Middlesbrough and had won 3 England caps between October and November 1959, at outside left. These were to be his only caps, as John Connelly and Bryan Douglas came to the fore.
There are 48 pages to this edition, and the back cover similarly portrays Derrick Sullivan of Cardiff City and Wales. Sullivan faced Holliday on the latter’s debut for England in a 1-1 draw at Ninian Park in October 1959. Like Holliday, Sullivan’s international career ended in that year’s British Championship.
In his editorial, Charles Buchan bemoans the lack of preparation that the FA is allowing the England team for the 1962 World Cup and he also takes a swipe at our coaching methods for the national side. Where his editorial lets him down is in his prediction of the winners of the 1960 FA Cup final. He is confident that the trophy will be lifted by Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United or Manchester United.
Sorry Charlie – you got that one wrong!
Detailed articles by Burnley’s John Connelly and Charlton Athletic’s South African star John Hewie. There are photographs of the party to celebrate 100 editions on page 8. We are told that the gathering was entertained by celebrated singer Marion Ryan – mother of sixties duo Paul & Barry Ryan!
Other players who ‘contributed’ full page articles, with real insight, included Roy Gratrix (Blackpool); Eddy Brown (Leyton Orient) & Jim Iley (Nottingham Forest).
Respected journalists such as John Macadam; Peter Morris & Clifford Webb produced controversial articles about a range of 1960’s football hot topics, which stand the test of time as a great read today.
And then of course there were the other pictures inside the magazine. The first job was always to flip through the latest copy to see how many Wolves players were featured. There were none in this 101st edition; but great colour shots of Albert Quixall, then at Manchester United; Neil Mochan (Celtic) and a centre spread of six Sunderland first teamers.
I’ve scanned the pages of advertisements for programmes etc. Maybe I’m slightly before his time, but in later editions, the legendary John Motson was a regular advertiser.
Ah well enough nostalgia. Suffice to say that for several years, Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly was so important to our football mad household, that we needed two copies delivered each month!