Retro football: Wonderful archive of 1950s and 60s Talbot photos unearthed

Ollie Irish

3rd, October 2020

Today’s Guardian features an ace gallery of British football photos from the Fifties and Sixties. The Guardian writes:

The series of rare footballing images were captured by Blackburn-based father and son photographers, Wally and Howard Talbot, who were active across the areas of Press, Sport and Commercial Photography from the 1930s-1990s.

The collection of images were housed in Howard Talbot’s attic in Blackburn until earlier this year when they were discovered and bought by Popperfoto – it’s the first time in more than 40 years that these photographs have been seen.

I’ve cherrypicked a few of the photos (the Guardian link above has more) and added my own captions (click to see full-size images):

Ahead of the 1962 FA Cup final, Burnley players – in full kit no less! – enjoy a Mr Whippy. Did this nutritious snack help them on their big day at Wembley? Sadly not – Spurs, who had won the double the previous season, beat them 3-1.

Blackburn Rovers players (l to r: Ally MacLeod, Bryan Douglas, Dave Whelan and Harry Leyland) mug for the camera before the 1960 FA Cup final. On a freakishly warm May day, Rovers were no match for strong favourites Wolves, losing 3-0.

It’s the spring of 1966, and Preston youngster Howard Kendall (19 at the time) gets a haircut from team-mate Alan Kelly. Kendall, a rising star who had played for North End in the 1964 FA Cup final aged just 17, signed for Everton one year after this photo was taken, and would go on to become a club legend as player and manager.

Barrow boys: Accrington Stanley players mess about in the snow during a training session at Peel Park, in January 1961. These were tough times for Stanley, and in 1962 the club resigned from the Football League mid-season due to financial difficulties. After four seasons in the Lancashire Combination league, the club disbanded. It was reformed in 1968.

Blackburn’s Keith Newton (left) and Dick Mulvaney improvise with brooms as ski poles at a snowbound Ewood Park in February 1969. You can hear the Ski Sunday music now.

Blackburn players hang out in the Ewood Park clubhouse in November 1959. The alpha of the group is the slick-haired rogue smoking a pipe, aka Derek ‘The Doog’ Dougan – check out the Doog’s biography, he was quite the character.

My favourite photo of the lot. Blackburn’s Ally MacLeod retrieves a ball from the River Darwen in January 1959. You can imagine from the snow-capped banks that the water was bloody freezing, but Ally was born in Glasgow so this was positively Mediterranean. (I’m trying to picture Mesut Ozil’s face if he was asked to fetch a ball from icy waters.)

Stirring stuff, and a stark reminder that football used to be the sport of the working man. As I said, there are many more Talbot photos on the Guardian’s website.

Posted in Photos, Retro

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