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Advent Calendar 
2019 Day 1 - Head cases

Our first foray into black and white-related oddities takes us to the world of football cards, where things aren't always quite what they seem at first glance...

The transfer of John Blackley to Newcastle in 1977 necessitated a new addition to the TOPPS range of collectable cards, issued the following season. 

Rather than licencing a new image though, TOPPS settled for crudely daubing black and white stripes on the photo used for the Hibees card from the Scottish collection earlier that year.

That gave the player nicknamed "Scoop" a Toon top reminiscent of the Fairs Cup era, or possibly something his granny in Peebles had knitted. The background of Easter Road remained unaltered.

We now move on to the world of misidentification, when cards are issued containing the name and details of a player that isn't actually pictured. From the 1969 series from FKS comes what they claimed to be Benny Arentoft (left) but in reality was Arthur Horsfield.

And similarly, the Watneys Red Barrel must have been going down a treat on the day that the Panini Top Sellers series of 1974 went to press, this image of Tommy Gibb (right) mistakenly labelled as Terry McDermott. Maybe it was a three day week and they were low on candles...
From the Black Museum of cards comes two examples from the laughably awful Sun Soccercards that first appeared in 1978 and eventually ran to 1,000 different cards - all featuring what they called "full colour drawings", the vast majority of them players.

Having already knocked off a Peter Withe card during his Forest days (although Planet of the Apes may have been the real inspiration), his transfer to Newcastle prompted a change of team name, but altering the strip was far too much bother.

And as for what is alleged to be Mick Mahoney, take your pick as to who it's actually based on. Warren Oates from the movie "Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia" perhaps, Alan Lancaster from Status Quo or North Tyneside's very own Jonny Decker. 


PS: Here's a rather more recent - and deliberate - piece of photo editing, in this case to save the cost of an air fare. United's 2005/06 season team photo call at Gallowgate took place on a sunny day in mid-September. However that came too late for Albert Luque, who in only his second game for the club had sustained a hamstring injury that saw him convalescing back in his native Spain.

Rather than bring him back to Tyneside for the session, the club's solution was to include a "body double" in the line-up and subsequently overlay an image of Luque's head from a previous photo before publishing it without any hint of what they'd done.

Given what Luque would contribute though, his stand-in may have been a better squad addition....


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Page last updated 01 December, 2019