Quirky Memorabilia From London's Football Clubs

By M@ Last edited 55 months ago

Last Updated 22 November 2019

Quirky Memorabilia From London's Football Clubs
A tube map of London clubs, using stickers of great players.

A fascinating book takes a fond look at the collectables of 20th century football, including some London gems.

The Got, Not Got Football Gift Book takes the form of a glossy mail-order catalogue. It's packed with sporting collectables that readers of a certain age may remember from childhood. Sections include Kit, Tech, Toys & Games, Cards & Stickers, Clobber and Travel.

We asked authors Derek Hammond and Gary Silke to put a Biro circle around some top vintage Christmas prezzies for each of the capital’s top clubs.

Arsenal: Striker team

Arsenal figurines, indistinguishable from the real players.

For a while back in the ‘70s Striker rivalled Subbuteo as the ultimate carpet-based football game. You banged a player on the head and he lashed out at the ball — the first ever tactical use of the 'high press'. Then things moved on to a whole new level when Parker introduced team sets in official club colours — in action poses, with 'different facial expressions'.

Brentford: DIY club jumper

Knit it yourself Brentford jumper. Delightful

Bees' centre-forward Micky French models a smart-but-casual woolly jumper that every fan will almost certainly need for Christmas. Simply visit the General Manager's Office at Griffin Park, and hand over 30p for your knitting pattern complete with badge motif. From there on in, it’s between you and your gran.

Charlton Athletic: Rosettes, sports bags, scarves and pennants

Not a collectable as such, but this incredible photo offers a tantalising glimpse of the goods in the window of the Valley Shop. As the Athletic girls test their sales techniques, three avid Valiants fans are unintentionally caught by the snapper: one young herbert and an elderly herbert are both transfixed. A third herbert has bought himself a rattle, and remains otherwise unimpressed.

Chelsea: Action Man

Even in the era of Roving Eyes and Gripping Hands, Action Man Footballer wasn't the most dynamic plaything. He had to be balanced on a special stand just to remain upright. He was a useful utility player, mind — equally able to fit into your side as an astronaut, an arctic explorer, a Mountie or French resistance fighter.

Crystal Palace: Classic club colours

Palace's wild kit history in the 60s and 70s, seen in these hilarious collector's cards, has achieved cult status among neutral admirers. From a consummately lairy claret, blue and yellow colourway they leapt to central stripes on an Ajax-ish pattern. In 1973 new boss Malcolm Allison plumped for red-and-blue stripes inspired by Bayern Munich – and so, at random, to the supercool sash of '76.

Fulham: Celebrity programmes

Comedian Tommy Trinder's role as chairman lent Fulham a showbiz association, with players past and present regularly roped into charity matches alongside performers such as Marty Feldman and Ronnie Corbett. Jimmy Hill kept up the celebrity chairman tradition in the 80s, selflessly volunteering for onerous extra roles such as programme cover star.

Leyton Orient: Forecourt freebies

If only the petrol stations of today would follow good old Esso's lead and give us freebies such as club badges, World Cup coins and 'Squelcher' booklets designed to end (but mostly to start) arguments with fun football facts. Here's Orient's sticky foil dragon badge, free with every tankful of 4-star back in sunny 1971/72.

Millwall: Happy Christmas from Us

An historic Christmas card brings you festive greetings from Millwall FC. Club snowmen Theo 'Dragon’s Den' Paphitis, boss Dennis Wise and assistant Ray Wilkins were in good cheer after their FA Cup final year of 2004. But things would turn frosty for real. Ray quit as soon as Harry Bassett came in as coach in 2005. Theo said, "I'm out." And the lone Wise man was soon to follow.

QPR: The QPR Supporters: 'Supporters — Support Us'

"Rodney, Rodney, we want Rodney, we want Rodney Maaarsh!" The groovy B-side to the Rs' 1967 League Cup final single is one of the coolest football songs of all time, a strange Syd Barrett-ish anthem allegedly recorded by psychedelic popsters, July. It's quite a bit better than the A-side, a Cockernee music-hall singalong with winger Mark Lazarus.

Tottenham Hotspur: Martin Chivers Soccer Coach Projector

On the box lid, two kids huddle in a darkened room. They’re about to benefit from the dazzling diagrams and high-tech magic of the Spurs & England striker's Chad Valley Sliderama Soccer Coach projector. Now we live in the distant future, it's highly likely that all football coaching is done the Big Chiv way, with a big orange torch.

West Ham United: Admiral's claret-and-blue debut

What an introduction to Admiral, the coolest of all vintage football kits. Having made it to the 1976 European Cup Winners' Cup final in traditional Bukta claret-and-blue, West Ham ran out against Anderlecht in this eye-catching one-off version of the following season's new kit, complete with rank insignia on the collar. The classic chevron shirt ruled until 1980, and has remained a firm favourite ever since.

Wimbledon: Cannonball goalie gloves

When Wimbledon’s penalty-save hero Dave Beasant lifted the 1988 FA Cup in his Cannonball gloves, it was a mixed blessing for the manufacturers. They'd promised Dave generous win bonuses, never thinking his team would do the impossible. Wembley glory against Liverpool certainly got them exposure, but landed the company in financial difficulties. (Note: Wimbledon FC moved to Milton Keynes and changed name to MK Dons in 2004. A new club, AFC Wimbledon, was launched in protest, and quickly established itself as a successful league club.)

The Got, Not Got Football Gift Book — Derek Hammond & Gary Silke (Conker Editions £16). Available from all good bookshops, Amazon and eBay.