Monday, September 8, 2008

To get all that was tricky – one had to get up early Monday morning to be able to get ‘People’s Sport’. Then Tuesday, 5 pm sharp, on the line to get the weeklies, except ‘Football’, for which Wednesday morning was the time. And sometimes one had to run from place to place, from one newsstand to another, hoping to find an issue. Often one newsstand did not get anything, but another did. Subscription worked for Bulgarian publications and some of the Soviet papers, but not for the others. And I am talking availability in Sofia – out in the country buying ‘Start’ and ‘Football’ was next to impossible.
It was not much back then, yet today the situation is different: I have rare photos from these old newspapers and magazines. Well, collecting is mild insanity… and as far as collecting goes, my most active period was the 1970s – hence, the bias.

People’s Sport – Monday morning people waited on long lines to get it – the third page was entirely football, covering the weekend rounds in Bulgaria and abroad. The other two issues published on Thursdays and Saturdays did not attract big readership – very little football and mainy coverage of other boring sports.

Sport Totto – this issue has the squads of the Bulgarian First Division for the new season plus articles introducing Boavista (Porto), FC Brugge, and some other clubs. Plus analysis of coming matches – everything one needs to place a correct bet. And someone just won 35 817 – if he can do it, you can do it.

Football – the weekly football paper was difficult to get – one had to get very early Wednesday morning. Along with Sport Totto, it still exists. At the right is Ivan Vutzov – you could see him in the Levski photo of 1965 as a player, but here is the young boss of the football section of the same club. Then he was a coach and led Bulgaria to the World Cup in 1986. In the 1990s he became a powerful and sinister functionary of the Bulgarian Football Union, earning the nickname ‘Black Cardinal’. He is still around…

Start shortly before giving up the ghost… The most coveted magazine for years did not survive the fall of Communism along with the oldest one – People’s Sport.
And the very reason for buying Start: the football team at the last page. Can you recognize them? Inter (Milan) from 1990-91.
First row, left to right: Brehme (Germany), Mandorlini, Verdelli, Bianchi, Guiseppe Baresi – captain.
Second row: Zenga, Matthaeus (Germany), Berti, Serena, Ferri, Klinsmann (Germany).

This team won the UEFA Cup, but finished only third in Serie A. Matthaeus scored more goals than Klinsmann in the championship – 16 to mere 14. Italy allowed three foreign players by that time and Germans were still hot in Italy… unlike today.