It is time to explain why I focus on the 1970s. Two reasons, rather different. The first is simple collecting – I began my collection at that time, and naturally my oldest photos are from the early 1970s. At first it was just scrapbooks, but soon it was changed – no more scissors and glue. Instead, I was collecting whole magazines. Unfortunately ,this part of the collection is lost and what remains is just the scrapbooks of the earliest years. I have to mention sources, then. Living behind the Iron Curtain did not provide many opportunities.
Most of my sources were Bulgarian – the sports magazine (if that’s the word: the weekly was published in newspaper format) ‘Start’ was established in 1971-72. A soccer team was always on the last page and ‘Start’ became quickly the most loved publication for Bulgarian collectors. Then there was another weekly, a newspaper, named ‘Football’. This one covered domestic and foreign football, but without team photos. For some reason the paper was cancelled for a few years around 1975, but came back in the 1980s and still exist. The third was a newspaper coming three times a week, called ‘People’s Sport’. Monday issue was the most important, for its large football coverage. Another weekly newspaper, published by the State Lottery, and called ‘Sport Totto’ was poor on pictures, but had extensive regular information on English, Italian, German, and some other championships – the aim was obvious: to provide current news to the large betting population. In the late 1960s and early 1970s there were some other magazines of short existence – I cannot recall there names. Once a year statistical book came out, covering both domestic and international football of the previous year. Apart from that, one was able to find pictures in non-sport newspapers and magazines, but not regularly. It was more a matter of chance, yet, some interesting collectibles came out from regular publications. I was collecting ‘Start’ and ‘Football’ for nearly 17 years, but nothing exists today.
Foreign stuff was scarce. Soviet publications were available, and I was collecting their weekly fat newspaper ‘Football-Hockey’. Good coverage, interesting articles on Soviet and international football, many photos, but black and white. The daily ‘Soviet Sport’ I was buying irregularly – it was all sports and it was risky – not every issue had football stuff. The third publication was a magazine, a rather strange one, called ‘Sporting Games’. It is hard to describe – something in between professional publication for coaches and popular description of various sports and tactical schemes. It was an interesting read, but football was not a priority at all – there were issues without football, or very little of it.
Two great Czechoslovakian magazines were the most coveted: ‘Stadion’ from Prague, and ‘Start’ from Bratislava. Both were all-sports weeklies, but published football team pictures. The quality of print was far better than anything coming from Eastern Europe. After 1980 ‘Start’ changed their policy and rarely had team photos, so I did not buy it often, but I still collected ‘Stadion’. My main magazine collection consisted of many years of Bulgarian ‘Start’, ‘Football’, ‘Stadion’, and ‘Football-Hockey’ – this bulk was lost entirely, except occasional old photos in my oldest scrapbooks.
The rest foreign stuff was sporadic: a regular Polish magazine ‘Panorama’ published football teams in the 1970s, but stopped doing so after 1980. Another non-sport magazine – ‘NBI’ from East Germany occasionally published teams, but only East German ones. A Communist daily newspaper from West Berlin – don’t remember the name – supplied photo coverage of the West German championship, including the amateur divisions and the East German first division. British stuff came from another Communist daily – ‘Morning Star’. All of the above was regularly sold, but the crème was not – the French magazine ‘Miroir de Football’ was available now and then, but one never new when. I did not know then, but this magazine was founded by the French Communist Party (actually, one of the publications of Miroir Sprint, covering specific sport) – this explains why the French magazine occasionally reached Bulgarian newsstands.