Sheffield Wednesday Vintage 1951-60

England flagThe 1950s was a puzzling decade for older fans of Sheffield Wednesday so used to seeing their team finish in a top three place during the immediate pre-War years.

Holding down a Division One place now became an onerous and often unsuccessful aim with Wednesday suffering three relegations during this decade, offset only slightly by immediate promotion back to the top flight on each occasion.

Some of Wednesday’s 50s star players feature in this first Vintage post dedicated to the club.


Star Strip – Gordon Banks

EnglandSelecting players to feature in the Star Strip series must have been something of a quandary for the editorial team at the Charles Buchan Football Monthly. While it’s understandable that high-profile, big-name stars of the day would be obvious choices; the downside to picking players whose careers were still to peak was strips rapidly overtaken by significant new career developments.

Star StripTrying to second-guess what might happen in a player’s future is difficult of course. When Star Strip featured an ageing Ronnie Simpson of Celtic in 1966, few people could have foreseen the keeper’s late career renaissance that dramatically altered how you would have portrayed his story just 12 months later. The same can’t really be said of Gordon Banks in this particular edition. The Banks Star Strip was published just a handful of months before the 1966 World Cup, a home-based tournament that would be a huge development in the career of any England international – regardless of whether they won the thing or not.

By choosing to tell Bank’s story in cartoon form at that particular moment in time, the result is a career that feels rather small and inconsequential. It’s interesting to note all the same that Banks saved some of his best performances for games against Liverpool. The visual reproduction of Banks in cartoon form is also one of the best in the entire Star Strip series.

Click on the strip to enlarge.

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Third Lanark Vintage

Scotland flag

On the occasions BTLM has tweeted stories and images of the long-lost Glasgow club Third Lanark, we’ve always been heartened by the positive reaction and the evident deep well of goodwill the club still inspires 47 years after going out of business.

It’s not just a sentimental Glaswegian thing either for former local people like me prone to romanticising the past. Hearing from people all over Europe who know about the Hi-Hi’s despite never having been to Scotland, yet alone being old enough to have them play, has been a fascinating experience for us.

Earlier this week as part of our regular Glasgow series we took a look back at the history of the club and its sad demise. Today we’re following up with a Third Lanark Vintage post which collects up some retro images of the club that reflect its proud and honourable past. You can see Third Lanark in action too on our Wee Glasgow On Film video channel.



Bye Bye to the Hi-Hi – The Demise of Third Lanark

ScotlandHad regimental football history played out a little differently, we might be reminiscing about the unfortunate loss to the Scottish game in the 1960s of the 23rd Renfrewshire Rifle Volunteers, the 3rd Edinburgh RV or the 10th Dumbarton RV. In the formative years of the Scottish game new clubs with origins in the citizen army Volunteer Force were quite commonplace, but none came close to the impact or the longevity of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers. As military links loosened in time, the club would become more commonly known as Third Lanark – or by their nickname of the Hi-Hi – but that distinctive regimental background remained an enduring part of the club’s quirky identity throughout its 95 year history.

Outside Cathkin Park, Third Lanark 1960The club was formed in 1872 and played a pioneering role in the early days of organised football in Scotland. The Thirds were founder members of the Scottish Football League, first proposed and part-funded the Glasgow Charity Cup and became one of the first Scottish teams to tour Europe and South America. By the turn of the twentieth century Third Lanark was firmly established as Glasgow’s third club and enjoying a period of great success on the field. The First Division title was won in 1904 and their second Scottish Cup success followed a year later in dramatic fashion. Third’s striker Hugh Wilson had returned home from Sunderland and he scored two brilliant goals in a famous 3-1 replay win over Rangers.

Third LanarkThird Lanark’s famous Cathkin Park ground originally hosted Queen’s Park and when the Spiders moved over the hill in 1903 to a new site where the modern-day Hampden stadium still stands, Third Lanark bought the vacated ground which would become their home for the next 64 years. It took several years of work to prepare New Cathkin Park (the New was later dropped) for hosting games, so Thirds had to ground share over the hill with Queen’s Park for the duration. That 1904 title win was all the more laudable considering every League game was technically played away from home.

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Shorts From West Germany

Shorts!Today’s Shorts feature collects up a selection of West German based stories from the 1960s and 1970s.

GermanyViktoria Köln has the distinction of fielding the very first black player in West German football. Anyama was a Nigerian international studying at Köln University in the early 1960s and he was spotted while playing scratch games with fellow students. Viktoria signed him up and he made his debut for them in 1961.

GermanyFor one team to turn up to a friendly match expecting better and more glamorous opponents than actually awaited them might be considered accidental; when their opponents find themselves in exactly the same position, it’s nothing short of carelessness. Borussia Mönchengladbach toured Brazil during the 1967 close-season and thought they had booked a game against powerful Botafogo, the Rio giants who featured Jairzinho and Gérson in their squad. Instead they had actually been booked to play the little known Botafogo Ribeiro Preto from Sao Paulo. The Brazilians weren’t happy either: for their part they were expecting a quite different Borussia – the winners of the 1966 European Cup-Winners Cup, Borussia Dortmund.

GermanyAdopted BTLM cult-hero Max Merkel was an Austrian coach who made his name in West Germany with Munich 1860 and Nurnberg. Max was an arrogant and opinionated man with very little regard for criticism or abuse, particularly from fans. Jeered before a Bundesliga match at Köln, Max made famous what became known as the Swabian greeting – he bent over and patted his backside in the direction of the jeering fans.

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QPR Vintage 1963-74

EnglandThis first QPR Vintage post collects up retro player images from perhaps the most eventful of decades in the London club’s history. From an unlikely starting point of Third Division mediocrity, the club was transformed beyond recognition during these years under manager Alec Stock and new chairman Jim Gregory.

1967 was a famous year thanks to the twin success in winning the Third Division championship and defeating Division One side West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup Final. A season later QPR won promotion again, but in-fighting and constant management changes stymied their progress and a quick return to Division Two beckoned.


Versus: England v Scotland in European Club Competition

EnglandWhilst many a Scotsman like myself will admit to enjoying watching Premiership football, few of us would even attempt to make an argument that its unstoppable rise in popularity in modern times has done any favours for the Scottish game. After decades of fighting above its weight in European competition, the past two decades living in the shadow of the Premiership behemoth has brought little apart from comprehensive financial and competitive marginalisation for Scotland’s once proud clubs.

Scotland‘Battle of Britain’ ties when English and Scottish clubs were drawn together used to be really big occasions and classic, full-blown face-offs like Celtic’s defeat of Leeds United in the 1970 European Cup provided gripping drama. Despite Celtic’s noble efforts in eliminating both Blackburn and Liverpool from the 2002-03 UEFA Cup, Anglo-Scottish ties have tended to be more low-key skirmishes than great battles over the past couple of decades. With standards in Scotland plummeting as quickly as they’ve improved in England; even in this age of hyperbolic football marketing no-one can muster much enthusiasm for using the Battle of Britain label anymore. 1992 marked the turning point with the Rangers v Leeds United Champions League qualifying games probably the very last Anglo-Scottish tie that was a true battle of equals.

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