It was because of Alan Anderson that my brother collected ‘My Favorite Soccer Stars’. Michael’s a Hearts supporter, and Centre-Half Anderson was the only Jambo amongst the 160 player cards given away free each week in the comics Buster and Jet, or Lion and Thunder, or Valiant and TV 21, or Scorcher and Score or, Tiger in 1971.
This was when soccer players were beginning to move away form looking like extras from The Sweeney to bass players for a teenybop band. Unlike today, most players earned a working wage, and usually retired with little more than their Cup Winner medals, that is, if they ever won any.
The game was more than “a matter of life and death” as Liverpool’s Bill Shankly once famously said:
‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.’
Amongst the 160 cards were some legendary players, unforgettable characters like Francis Lee and Colin Bell for Manchester City, Derek Dougan for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Martin Chivers and Martin Peters for Tottenham Hotspurs, Arsenal’s Charlie George, and Billy Bremner from Leeds United
My brother collected 2 sets - one from Lion and Thunder and one from Buster and Jet. I knew why he picked the first, but the second made less sense, unless it was for Aberdeen’s chubby striker Joe Harper, or out of a sneaking respect for Leeds United.
My comic was Tiger, which featured a Native American wrestler called Johnny Cougar, and an unbelievably decent footie player, Roy of the Rovers. As I support Celtic, I had to forfeit my favorite comic to collect the one Celtic card featuring wizard of the wing, Jimmy “Jinky” Johnstone. For 4 weeks I collected the squares of 4 press-out cards from Scorcher and Score. It was worth it for wee Jinky and the bonus of George Best, although Scorcher and Score was shite compared to Tiger.
This is my brother’s 2 collected sets Buster and Jet (with cover), and Lion and Thunder (without cover) - a look back at sporting heroes (and their sideburns) from forty-years ago.
More of 1971’s favorite soccer stars, after the jump…
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Picture Postcards: 50 Famous Britons 1868-1968
With thanks to Michael Gallagher