Arsenal Obsessed? Memories from a ’60’s Childhood.

Have you ever been an “anorak”? I have – I was and probably remain an Arsenal anorak. In my youth I didn’t hang around train stations or sit by airports, flask of tea and a notebook in hand obsessively writing down times and numbers – No, my obsession took it’s material form in a Scrapbook.

To those younger readers who do not know what a scrapbook is; a scrapbook is a book of empty pages into which one can stick newspaper articles, pictures, tickets and other ephemera.

This was back in the days of Yore, the pre-digital world when men were men and women were grateful. There wasn’t daily access to The Arsenal, just reports of the game in the Sunday papers and a few stories about players. There was the Charlie Buchan Football Annual and monthly magazine; it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that football magazines became popular, but given the small amount of pocket-money the young BR had available, I didn’t want to spend a weeks money on a mag. Plenty did – The Charlie Buchan Football Magazine had a monthly circulation of over 250,000, which is more than all the current football mags added together!!


So I started my own “magazine” which took the form of a scrapbook. It was an adjunct to my precious AFC programmes which were locked away in an air conditioned, humidity-controlled steel bunker outside London (in case of alien attack). I would cut out the reports from all the games, make tables of attendances,league position, player appearances, goal scorers, type of goal (head/foot). All manner of things related to The Arsenal.

I have to admit I became obsessive about my scrapbook. My family paper was The Daily Mail (he wrote in great shame) and I would cut any AFC related article or pictures out and add them to the scrapbook – though midweek there was very little. The main sources were the weekend papers. The Saturday night pink Sports edition and the Sundays.Β Having listened to the football scores on the radio I would be given newspaper money and sent to the local newsagent to wait for the arrival of the Evening Sports paper. There would be at least 10 men/boys eagerly awaiting it’s arrival – seems another world!

The family Sundays were the The Mirror and The Times ( 😦  ). Both to be cut to pieces on Sunday evening after a day spent playing coats for goalposts in the local park.

It wasn’t easy making a scrapbook, there were editorial decisions to be made which could affect the whole project.; layout, which glue, are there too many pics of the same player, do I write in print of joined-up?


Living with a demented younger brother and a spiteful older sister (both top chaps now – well, one of them is!!) the value of the scrapbook meant that it could be used as ransom. No blood was spilled but many an argument was started by one of the swine hiding my third most valuable possession (after my bicycle and my Dansette transistor radio).

I gave up the scrapbook collecting in my mid-teens when I started to attend Highbury on a regular basis and then away games. Plus, the newly discovered attractions of the opposite sex altered my perspective of life – and I had discovered another typical male teenage obsession (thank you Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band). Strangely, the 3 obsessions I developed in those days still occupy most of my time today πŸ˜€

I need to point out to that I was not alone in my scrapbooking – most of my school did the same. Not only football but all sorts of subjects. My sister pressed flowers (what a pointless waste of time), my brother had a Dinosaur scrapbook, Robert over the road had a Red Indian scrapbook but mine was by far the best.

I guess I kept collecting for 6 or 7 seasons, goodness know what happened to those Β oh-so-precious scrapbooks, probably thrown out in one of my house moves.

Wish I still had them.

n.b.Β Of course, Arsenal Arsenal is our modern digital scrapbook with all the previous info now on the righthand sidebars, and even better than my old version, this one is created by many hands.

Written by Big Raddy


92 Responses to Arsenal Obsessed? Memories from a ’60’s Childhood.

  1. Gooner In Exile says:

    Lovely piece Raddy, it does seem a distant world, rather than only 30 years or so ago.

  2. Is Gunner N5’s/GIE’s DEfenders stuff finished?

  3. Big Raddy.
    “…do I write in print or JOINED-UP?” πŸ™‚

  4. GunnerN5 says:

    BR; the 60’s were a great decade, Beatles, Stones, Animals, Mods, Rockers, even the odd person here or there?

    I never kept a scrap book, but newspapers were vital as they were the main source of football news and about the only place you could get actual pictures of our heroes. I used to cut out the big pictures and stick them on the wall.

  5. GunnerN5 says:

    Big Al,

    Yes that is it for defenders. Please send your complaints in on a postage stamp.

  6. No complaints at all Gunner N5.

    I do have a question, though.
    Ashley Cole?

    Not a complaint. Just a name. πŸ™‚

  7. Red Arse says:

    Hi Randy, πŸ™‚

    I am so used to your very good pre-match articles, that of necessity are somewhat formulaic because of public demand, that I did not realize what an excellent essayist you are too. πŸ™‚

    That Post is so eloquently well written it would deserve to win a prize, if entered into a competition.

    As a kid I cherished my Arsenal programmes, but because of my globe trotting life with my parents, there were many gaps in the continuity, and once I learned there were people, like you, who were programme obsessives and assiduously kept them unblemished and unaffected by missing issues — I gave up.

    My only claim to latent ‘anorak’ behavior was to sneak into hotels in the US and the Far East to purloin the sports pages of the publicly displayed newspapers in the foyers, to get the Arsenal result.
    A practice which was passively condoned by my father, and outraged my mother who could not understand the compulsive need to learn about a club in a different time zone on the other side of the world.

    Today’s youngsters have no such in assuaging their sporting needs with the arrival of the internet, and the endless changes in the plethora of technologies bringing us all the info and games we could possibly wish for, and incidentally acting as a measure of the inexorable passage of time.

    Thank you for sharing your memories. πŸ™‚

  8. Red Arse says:

    ‘no such need’ — Oops. πŸ™‚

  9. Red Arse says:

    Hi GN5, πŸ™‚

    Yet another quality write up of a era when we had such fantastic defenders.

    In terms of the numbers of comments your work has generated, it is possible that your selections are so clever (Big Al, excepted) πŸ™‚ that the reader can only agree with your selections.

    Perhaps what you needed to do, to generate more debating comments, would be to sneak in one or two ‘red herrings’ in each era, such as Ian Ure or Stepanovs or Jeff Blockley and then sit back and watch as Big Al and ‘outraged of Essex’ waxed eloquent! πŸ˜€

    I know that makes me sound like a philistine, and would probably mar your excellent selection strategy, but it would have been fun. πŸ™‚

    Anyway, thank you once again for an entertaining read!

  10. LB says:

    “Joke in bad taste warning”

    What do you say to Nigella when she has two black eyes?

    Nufing, shes awready bin towd.

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    Big Al,

    Cole failed to meet my predetermined criteria of games played.
    Of the defenders profiled Walley Barnes played the least amount of games at 294, whereas Ashley Cole only played in 228.

    There were a lot of players that I would have liked to have profiled but by setting a criteria I was able to ignore my own preferences,

    Profiling those who had played the most games, within their positional grouping, was a key criteria, however there were a few very special players that I did slip in – for that I claim profilers immunity.

  12. Gooner In Exile says:

    “Big Al, Koh Samui, Thailand says:
    June 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm (Edit)
    No complaints at all Gunner N5.

    I do have a question, though.
    Ashley Cole?

    Not a complaint. Just a name. ”

    A name that fails the Peaches Mum test!

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    Red A,

    It seems that comments are very few and far between for most articles these days. Personally I never expected the profiles series to generate a lot of posts or excitement, in fact I was more worried that folks might become bored silly.

    As it stands I’m very happy that the more regular AA bloggers are finding it entertaining and even a little educational.

    I jest with Big Al, but he is one of the more knowledgeable supporters and he has an uncanny/irritating knack of finding all of my errors and omissions. But his valued input has caused me to amend at least one of my historical records,

    As always, thank you for your positive comments, it’s people like you that keep me blogging along.

  14. Hi Red Arse

    WRONG on two counts, buddy…

    1) I actually wholeheartedly agree with every one of Gunner N5’s selections. Not one has been overrated and all are deservedly listed.

    My comment as regards Ashley Cole is relating not to the selected players, but to a “missing person”. Regardless of what one may think about the “man”, what he did as a “player” for this club is what counts as far as I’m concerned.

    If we care about off-the-field activities, in his case the “tapping up” affair, we wouldn’t see Adams’ name, nor Merson’s (?), would we?
    List one bad boy but not another?

    I’m assuming that’s the reason for Cole’s omission (apologies if I’m wrong, GN5), but I can’t believe a bloke as intelligent and knowledgable as Gunner N5 (as regards football/Arsenal) could dismiss Cole for footballing reasons alone. He was, and is, top quality.

    2) Now, this is interesting. You mention Ian Ure.
    I have just finished (literally 30 minutes ago) a rather long, and very statty, post regarding said player. I feel he was unjustly criticised in a very OTT, and demeaning way by a bloke with a clear anti-Ure agenda, and I found the author’s manner somewhat distasteful. I’ll be posting it tomorrow, probably.
    Not this website btw.

  15. Gunner N5

    πŸ™‚ Just seen your last post. I was still writing to Red Arse when you posted…

    And whatd’ya mean “irritating” πŸ™‚ ?

  16. And again, Gunner N5…

    Sorry, I was posting and also missed your COLE criteria note!

    So I was wrong therefore in my assumption as regards how you may have felt about the “man” vs “player”.
    SORRY! But I couldn’t see any other reason for leaving him out.

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Big Al,

    I made a very conscious not to use my personal bias or preferences when selecting and profiling the players. It was very difficult for me to omit some and include others but once I had set the criteria I stuck to it, the few exceptions (profilers immunity) that I made will not even be noticed.

    As an example both GIE and myself wanted to include Sol – but…………..

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you for the kind words.

    RA. As you say the PM’s are formulaic and therefore the research add-on’s become more interesting than the discussion of the opposition etc. This season was particularly enjoyable with the explorers. I have ideas for next season which I will consider through the summer.

    So …. no scrapbook chaps. How disappointing πŸ™‚

  19. GunnerN5 says:


    I only have a scrapbook memory, and unfortunately a few pages seem to be missing?

  20. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Cheers for that Randy, its a lovely insight and you even threw in a b&w pic.

    I was never a scrapbooker myself, but I did buy some for two of my children a couple of years ago. Lasted for a while but not with much gusto

  21. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    I remember buying Shoot magazine religiously in the mid to late 70’s.

    It was the News of the World in our house, and after reading up on anything Arsenal, I’d always look for St Mirrens results. Wish I knew why…

  22. Raddy – for me by far the worst part were brilliant photos with even better articles on the back of them, what was a girl supposed to do??

    Of course I had a scrapbook in my youth. It was all about Gornik Zabrze for me, team that I ditched for the Arsenal.

    BTW – you say in your blog ‘when women were gratful’. Grateful for what exactly? Did you really mean grateful or graceful?

  23. what is the story with higuain – have we signed him, or is he still a rumour?

  24. Red Arse

    Sorry… forgot to say “welcome back”.
    Missed you for a couple of weeks. A little bit.

  25. Red Arse says:

    Hi Big Al,

    Just pulling your tinsel tassel. πŸ™‚

    I rather hoped you would realise that — how could I do anything but admire a guy who has it all, sun, sea and salad in Thailand?

    Actually, I never made any gratuitously inappropriate remarks about Cashley. Like my views on van the Purse-y, I don’t give either of them a thought nowadays, other than to regret their choosing to leave Arsenal. But, that’s football – c’est la vie.

    GN5 has confirmed his selection criteria, and I am sure that you agree it makes sense.

    Posting a post-Ure Post on another blogsite? Sacrilege, sir! Which one? πŸ™‚

  26. LB says:

    Madrid wont make a decision on Higuain until their new manager is in place.

  27. Red Arse

    I know you was having a giggle – no worries.

    Like yourself, I don’t care too much when any player leaves us. Players come, players go… always have, always will.

    Personally speaking, the Cole “tapping up” affair (and two times I believe!) annoyed me immensely – but only because of the illegality of the approach(es) made; no other reason.

    As regards GN5’s selection criteria, yes, I agree absolutely with his train of thought. Though I was surprised that Cole’s number of appearance still wasn’t enough, which is what led me to believe (wrongly) that like Peaches’ mum, he simply doesn’t like him πŸ™‚ .

  28. Red Arse

    As regards my Ian Ure post, I’ll let you know when it’s done and dusted; you can check it out then, if you choose to.

    There’s certain ways in which to post, and certain ways not to.
    I’m flexing now…

  29. chas says:

    Excellent, BR.
    What’s wrong with pressed flowers?

    Women were grateful rather than wanting a Roy Orbison ticket every time a visit to the auditorium was in the offing.

    As regards player selection for the brilliant GN5/GIE series of posts, and as the last player to play enough games was Martin Keown, does anyone think we’ll ever have a player again who plays nearly 300 games?

  30. Red Arse says:

    Just between you and I, Big Al, I have, on occasion, privately and rather prissily castigated Cole for his alleged inappropriate and unprofessional ‘off field’ behaviour or dalliances with the opposite sex.

    Truth be told, in a more reflective moment I might actually be forced to admit that my attitude may have been nothing more than down right jealousy. πŸ™‚

    If I had earned multi millions, and was prepared to spend some of it on having a good time, I am sure I would have been equally ‘inappropriate’ and to hell with what others thought!! πŸ™‚

  31. Big Raddy says:

    The Cole discussion is interesting only insomuch as his importance to the team in his relatively short Arsenal career.

    IMO he is easily the best LB we have had in the last 50 years but not a man I would like in the dressing room of GN5’s best of team.

    I wish I could be so calm as to say I am not affected by players leaving. From Brady through to BSR I have suffered heartache. Perhaps I am too emotionally entangled with The Arsenal!

  32. Red Arse says:

    Hi Chas, πŸ™‚

    When you say, “Women were grateful rather than wanting a Roy Orbison ticket every time a visit to the auditorium was in the offing.” — in exchange for what, exactly?

  33. chas says:

    Thanks for the post and as you commented on Wrighty this morning.
    Take a butcher’s at this. πŸ™‚

  34. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Good question (300 games). I have a feeling there could be a few in our current squad. Ramsey, Jenks, JW, Theo. Chesney, Ox and Gibbs could all go on to have long careers at AFC.

    We have the kernel of a top team in these boys and they are all about the same age. We must hope that they escape injury because they are in for the long-haul.

  35. chas says:

    Keys to the doors?

  36. Red Arse says:


    With reference to my comment earlier, indifference to what ex-Arsenal players are doing, or how well they are playing for their new clubs, is not to exclude some personal emotional angst at the time of their departure from Arsenal, and is not helped by the usual trite footballing weasel words ‘the club’s ambitions and mine are not in accord’, rather akin to the “It’s not you ….. it’s me’ when dumping a girlfriend.

    But when it is done — it’s done, and there is no point pining over the departed. πŸ™‚

  37. chas says:

    The top comment on that Wrighty video is…
    “This is the first time I’ve everο»Ώ seen Ian Wright play football, I’ve never seen a better finisher in my life”

    Hard to disagree.

  38. chas says:

    Off out for a beer. πŸ™‚

  39. Red Arse says:


    Was that a mis-type, “key to her drawers”? Otherwise I agree with you, it seems gratitude would be the least one would expect. πŸ™‚

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Apart from the awful music that was excellent. Thanks chas

  41. Big Raddy says:

    RA. 4.24. That I agree with

  42. Chas, thanks for Wrighty goals. The greatest finisher in Arsenal’s history…bar none.
    Some of our performances during this part of George Graham’s regime were dyer, but Wrighty always managed to put a smile on our faces and get us out of jail.

  43. Big Raddy, et al

    My final comment on Cole…
    I agree with your overall sentiment; he’s the best I’ve seen at Arsenal, since the early 60’s; Sansom 2nd best, IMO.

    Do you remember when Cole broke through into our first team?
    Our left back was a very good Brazilian, Silvinho, who I liked very much – described by one TV pundit at the time as arguably the best left back in the Premiership. For such a young player to oust Silvinho, Cole had to be good.

    Silvinho didn’t hang around; he knew how good Cole was, and sensibly moved on, sharpish!

    Well done, Silvinho. He wanted to play football… he wasn’t a ‘deadwood’ bloke. A bit of a shame for him really. Likewise with Edu, much the same situation; if it wasn’t for the top competition within the squad, he too could have had a lengthy career at Arsenal.

  44. Red Arse says:

    Might have had something to do with Silvinho’s dodgy passport, Big Al. πŸ™‚

  45. Red Arse

    Well, well. We learn something new every day…

    What I wrote at 5.37pm wasn’t guesswork, I’m sure it was the general consensus at the time that he didn’t want to fight for his place against Cole. But then, Arsenal would have wanted to keep the ‘mess’ under wraps as long as possible.

    Thanks for the info.

  46. jim says:

    Everyone should know that Cole was about to be sold to Crystal Palace until the Silvinho dodgy passport issue came to light.

  47. jim says:

    Big Al do some researching before spouting off
    Cole best left back i’ve seen since early 60’s
    Comedy Gold

  48. jim says:

    Ian Wright worst ever Arsenal signing.
    We became a one man Team

  49. chas says:

    Ey up, Sniffer

  50. chas says:

    How’s the bolier?
    Still refusing your advances?

  51. chas says:

    Just imagine an Ian Wright in full flow and in his prime in a Wenger team.
    A match made in heaven.
    Just the player we are looking for now.

  52. chas says:

    There might have to be a more intelligent re-arrangement of tactics than George’s, “give it to Wrighty”, but still, I think he could do a job for us. πŸ™‚

  53. jim says:

    Arsenal never won a League Title with Ian Wright.

  54. Gooner In Exile says:


    “You talk a good game, can you play one?”

  55. chas says:

    Skynyrd. BR?

  56. Big Raddy says:

    The thing that continues to amaze me about our troll is that he knows a lot about Arsenal and yet nothing whatsoever about football.

    He/She/It proves it time and time again.

  57. chas says:

    The same old trite anti-Arsenal rubbish is so prevalent on t’internet, I’d be surprised if Sniffer had personal experience.
    Just regurgitated bowlicks is all that it is.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    Ah. You know me too well chas, though a 9 minute guitar solo is a bit much even for me! πŸ™‚

    Those first two goals against Leics heralded the arrival of a new hero.

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Personal experience of what? The troll is an obvious ononanist

  60. chas says:

    If you’re married to a boiler, pulling your own is the only option.

    I was talking about personal experience of having seen Arsenal play though.

  61. Big Raddy says:

    Aaah ….

  62. chas says:

    Here’s a lickle vid for LB.
    The reason for me searching for ‘donkey wins the derby’ was that I got on the tube that day going to Wembley Park and I had a really stinking hangover. Just as the train was about to leave the station a group of spuds got on and they started to sing about Adams and ‘hoofing the ball”.
    Karma got the feckers anyway. (My hangover disappeared after a couple of liveners)

  63. When are ubputting up Gus ceases as a great defender

  64. chas says:

    Gus ceases full stop

  65. chas says:

    have you been for a few quick ones after your trip to Her Majesty’s?

  66. chas says:

    Wow, Gus Caesar’s career makes for interesting reading.

    Years Team Apps† (Gls)†
    1984-1991 Arsenal 44 (0)
    1990 β†’ Queens Park Rangers (loan) 5 (0)
    1991 Cambridge United 0 (0)
    1991-1992 Bristol City 10 (0)
    1992-1994 Airdrieonians 57 (1)
    1994-1996 Colchester United 62 (3)
    1996 Eastern 1 (0)
    1996 β†’ Happy Valley (loan) 5 (2)
    1996-1997 Golden 18 (1)
    1997 Dagenham & Redbridge 1 (0)
    1997 Partick Thistle (trial) 1 (0)
    1997-1999 Sing Tao ? (2)
    1999 Hong Kong Rangers 0 (0)
    1999-2000 Kitchee ? (0)
    2000-2002 Hong Kong Rangers ? (0)

  67. chas says:

    I put my trust in you!

  68. kwik fit says:

    This ones for rasp and peaches

  69. weedonald says:

    BR….did they have player cards in the UK in your time. Over the pond we had collectors cards for baseball heroes, hockey stars etc. and some of them, if in good condition, are worth a great deal of money now. These cards would come in packets with some chewing gum and cost about 5cents back then (about 5 pence)…now they sell for thousands of dollars if they are first editions!

  70. chas says:

    Ian Ure

  71. chas says:

    Frank McLintock – Right Half!

  72. chas says:

    Storey, Ure, Howe, Neill, Sammels, Armstrong,Simpson…..

  73. chas says:

    Wow, Bob Wilson’s barnet.
    Never heard of Bacuzzi, looks a right dude.

  74. chas says:

    McLintock Radford

  75. chas says:

    New away kit?

  76. chas says:

    Which do you prefer?

  77. Excellent CHAS…

    I have/had(?) 2 or 3 of the cards you’ve presented in my memorabilia collection.
    Dave Bacuzzi, by the way, is Anglo-Italian.

    Bacuzzi himself was involved in music as well as football, juggling both professions at the same time.
    His pop pseudonym was “Heinz” (and he passed himself off as German). He fronted a band called “The Tornados” for a spell. Remarkable!

    Caution ; If you bother to check these ‘facts’ do so properly or Sniffer will be on your back.

  78. Big Raddy says:

    Big A. I had no idea Heinz played for Arsenal. Thanks for a morning tit-bit. I owned a couple of the Tornados singles

    weedonald. Yes. Cigarette cards were and are popular. I sold my fathers collection about 10 year ago. Once again, I wish I had kept the football ones

  79. Raddy – a question for you – Chavs want to sign Rooney too. Would you rather he went south or north London?

  80. Big Raddy says:

    FT. Good question. HAs Fatboy the determination to get his career back on track and become the world class player he could and should be, or has his wealth and fame ruined him to the extent where he is a busted flush?

    For Rooney’s future the chance to play under AW has to be better than The Ego. For AFC, I am not convinced.

    So ….. Not sure πŸ™‚

  81. Big Raddy

    Yes, it’s early… but the birds woke me πŸ™‚

    TELSTAR !!!

  82. kelsey says:

    Did you get my e mail, Al

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning all

    Can’t believe I missed the TA Day. Great stuff as per GN5

    Raddy, loved yesterday’s. No scrap book for me, but I was given an AFC Autograph Book. Still have it. 3 Signatures in it. Sterling Moss, a Speedboat Driver and one other completely mysterious one πŸ™‚

  84. Ian Ure Face says:

    No, never been an anorak, sad people !. I saw 9 anorak steam train enthusiasts on a bridge the other day, my best is 15 !.

  85. mickydidit89 says:

    I see you couldn’t be arsed to send me an email, so I shall continue to ignore you if that’s ok πŸ™‚

  86. mickydidit89 says:

    Sitting at an airport, and off to smoke last ones before boarding. Later.

  87. kelsey says:

    That’s fine by me micky πŸ˜‰

    By the way according to the spanish media we haven’t actually put a bid in for Higuan. This whole saga is getting boring.

    Isco is going to be the next big thing. Hopefully he will stay in Spain and join RM and not go to City

    Ah Rooney to Chelsea therefore Torres to Arsenal.

  88. Big Raddy says:

    And Gervinho to MU

  89. Rasp says:

    Morning all …..

    ….. New post ……

  90. Bacuzzi was a shocking defender.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: