D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd

D. C. Thomson, publishers since 1905 and still going strong. While best known as publishers of the Dandy and Beano, the company gave away football cards, posters and other memorabilia in the 1960s with the Hornet, Hotspur, Victor and Wizard comics. D.C. Thomson have produced excellent football cards dating back to the early 1920s. This site only covers those produced in the period 1965 to 1980. The company’s current website is at www.dcthomson.co.uk.

1953 to 1970

Rover Comic Football Cards

In the period from 1953 through to 1970 the Rover Comic, and later the Rover and Wizard, published pictures of ‘Football Stars’ on their front covers.

A number of boys at the time, and many since, have cut these out of the comics and collect them as ‘football cards’.

Alan Jenkins has produced some excellent research and articles on these, including checklists.

1964/65 - 1975/76

Stand up footballers

In the period from 1965 to 1976 D.C. Thomson issued a number of different stand-up footballers in the Hotspur and Victor comics. The footballers came in sheets, complete with their name on a separate base. The first stand-ups were issued with issues of the Victor comic in January 1965. Sheet 1 had eight players, Sheet 2 had eight players, while Sheet 3 had only four.

In October 1965 the Hotspur issued two sheets of five players each. The Victor issued two sheets of nine players each in February 1968. I assume that there were a few more issues too, though I’m not exactly sure of the details. Can you help?

A number of sizes were produced over the period, including 80, 90, 100 and 105mm tall. The full sheets with the footballers still intact are very rare. The individual footballers are sought by collectors, preferably with their accompanying bases.

The George Eastham stand-up pictured is from the Victor comic in 1968.The sheet displayed at right is from the Hotspur in 1970/71, and is named ‘Stoppers’ since it includes goalkeepers and defenders. It can be dated from John Holsgrove in Wolves colours. Holsgrove was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday in June 1971.

Martin recently advised of a Victor comic dated October 1976 with a sheet of 12 footballers. 


Top Cup Teams

The Hornet comic commenced on 14 September 1963, and was merged with The Hotspur in February 1975. Starting in January 1966 the comic began the give-away of a set of cards called Top Cup Teams. The first issue included the wallet and four of the cards (Brazil, Celtic, Wales and West Ham United). Subsequent issues provided the later cards, for example, England, Real Madrid, Scotland and Manchester United were given away with issue 125.

Number in set: 12
Gallery: Set gallery (including player names)
Checklist: Set


The Hornet Gallery of Sport

These two giant posters were given away with the Hornet comic. They both fold out to large posters with many coloured images of teams and players.

No. 1 includes Gordon Banks, Denis Law, England’s World Cup Squad, Hull City F.C., Glasgow Rangers F.C., Jim Clark (Motor Racing), Frank McLintock, West Ham’s World Cup Trio, D. Temple, R.Wilson, A.Ball, Len Killeen (Rugby), Cassius Clay (Boxing), Manchester City F.C. and Southampton.

No. 2 includes Jim Baxter, Johnny Crossan, Sheffield Wednesday F.C., Celtic F.C., Everton F.C., Chelsea F.C., Leeds United F.C., J. Cruickshank, C. Shevland, D. Holt, Gary Sobers (Cricket), Walter McGowan (Boxing), George Eastham, Mike England, John Surtees (Motor Racing), George Best, Willie Henderson.

Number in set: 2


Bernard (Bouncing) Briggs appeared in the Hornet, Hotspur and Wizard comics. He was a powerful young fellow who earned his living as a General Dealer. He had a yard of his own in Slagton, and rode a motor bike with a sidecar made from an old bathtub. He was a keen amateur sportsman taking up various sports including Baseball, Boxing, Football, Ice Hockey, Rugby League, Tennis and Wrestling. Bernard excelled at all the sports he tried (from www.britishcomics.20m.com).The album was presented with the Hornet. The stickers inside appear to have been cut from a colour sheet.


The Great Stars of Football 1970

A set of 16 cards in a plastic wallet, issued with the Wizard comic. The Wizard comic was relaunched on 14 February 1970, and 8 of these cards were given out with the plastic wallet with No. 2 (21 February), and the remaining 8 cards with No. 3 (28 February).

Number in set: 16
Gallery: Set gallery.

Football Favourites

Football Favourites, presented with the Victor. A set of 2 posters, each with 8 panels of colour and black and white photos.

No 1 includes Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Lawrence (Liverpool), Bobby Tambling (Chelsea), Brian Kinsey (Charlton), Peter Eustace (Sheff. Wed.), Gordon Banks (Stoke), Terry Hennessey (Notts. For.), Ron Davies (Southampton), Graham Cross (Leicester City), Maurice Setters (Coventry), Francis Lee (Man. City), Len Ashurst (Sunderland), Brian Whitehouse (Orient), Peter Gelson (Brentford), George Jones (Bury), John Hughes (Celtic), Tony Waiters (Blackpool), David Shaw (Huddersfield), Pat Stanton (Hibernian), Bobby Woodruff (Crystal Palace), George Graham (Arsenal), Ken Mulhearn (Man. City), Alan Oakes (Man. City), Henning Jensen, Preben Arentoft, Børge Thorup, Per Bartram (Morton), Rodney Marsh (Q.P.R.), John Cushley (West Ham), Mick Jones (Leeds Utd.), Richard Hale (Watford), Fred Pickering (Birmingham), Dennis Gillespie (Dundee United), John Trollope (Swindon), Ken Wimshurst (Bristol City), Oliver Conmy (Peterborough), Norman Piper (Plymouth), John Toshack (Cardiff), Neil Hague (Rotherham), David Best (Oldham), Maurice Kyle (Oxford), Norbert Lawton (Brighton), Barry Lines (Northampton), James White (Bournemouth), Hugh Curran (Norwich).

No 2 includes Alex Brown (Everton), Denis Law (Man. Utd.), R Moller (Hearts), Alan Ball (Everton), Roger and Ian Morgan (Q.P.R.), Roger Hunt (Liverpool), G Stewart (Dundee), Peter Osgood (Chelsea), John O’Rourke (Ipswich), Bobby Hope (W.B.A.), Gordon Wallace (Raith Rovers), Eddie Presland (Crystal Palace), Phil Parkes (Wolves), Gerry Taylor (Wolves), Peter Rodrigues (Leicester), Lew Chatterley (Aston Villa), Jack Charlton (Leeds), Bobby Moore (West Ham), Bobby Ferguson (West Ham), Sandy Jardine (Rangers), Alan Mullery (Tottenham H.), Bill Bentley (Stoke City), Chris Cattlin (Coventry City), Tony Dunn (Man. Utd.), John Gilchrist and Keith Weller (Millwall), Bobby Gould (Arsenal), Bobby Kellard (Bristol City), Jimmy Blain (Exeter), John Hobson (Barnsley), Peter Bebbington (Barrow), Vic Gomersall (Swansea), Anthony Gregory (Shrewsbury), Ray Dean (Reading), Graham Rusling (Scunthorpe), Ken Hodgson (Colchester), Les O’Neill (Darlington), Keith Jobling (Grimsby), Brian Gibbs (Gillingham), Tom Hallet (Bradford City).

Record of All Football Leagues

The Week-By-Week Record of All Football Leagues, presented with “The Victor”. A fascinating booklet with pages for each of the English and Scottish leagues, including league ladders. In the centre of the booklet was a page of stickers with each of the 129 teams. The idea was that you cut out each of the team names, removed the backing paper and stuck them down in the correct place in the league tables. According to D.C. Thomson there was no need to wet the panels, they stick by themselves! Each week you could unstick the panels, move them and stick them down again. The panels would ‘retain their stickiness no matter how often they are moved’. Where has this technology gone? P.S. I’ve got one of these, but unfortunately after 30+ years they are no longer able to be unstuck and restuck – pity!


Great Captains

A small set of 12 from the Wizard. They appear to have been cut from a sheet, suggesting that the comic provided the reader with one or two sheets and suggested that the cards be cut out.

Number in set: 12
Gallery: N/A

World Cup Stars 1970

These cards were presented in the Hornet and Hotspur comics in blocks of 8 or 10 which were to be cut into individual cards by the reader. Some of the uncut blocks still exist, and are quite collectable. A plastic wallet was given away with the first sets of cards.

The cards were issued as:

Cards 01-08: Hornet (8) – June 6, 1970
Cards 09-16: Hotspur (8) – June 8, 1970
Cards 17-26: Hornet (10) – June 13, 1970
Cards 27-36: Hotspur (10) – June 15, 1970
Cards 37-44: Hornet (8) – June 20, 1970
Cards 45-52: Hotspur (8) – June 22, 1970
Cards 53-62: Hornet (10) – June 27, 1970
Cards 63-72: Hotspur (10) – June 29, 1970

Number in set: 72

The Team that Won the World Cup

A 16-page booklet produced as a lead-up to the Mexico World Cup (31 May to 21 June). The booklet was a free gift in the Wizard Comic dated 9 May 1970. It was printed by Buckley and Bland, Stockport. Copyright D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. 1970


The All-Star Banner

A large fold-out banner presented with the Wizard comic. The banner includes: Arsenal (League Champions and F.A. Cup Winners 1970-71), Francis Lee, George Best, Steve Heighway, Billy Bremner, Ron Davies, Martin Chivers, John Jackson, Joe Corrigan, Iam McFaul, Peter Shilton, Phil Parkes, Pat Jennings, Peter Bonetti, Gary Sprake, Bob Wilson, Gordon Banks, Jeff Astle, Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey, Sandy Jardine, and Celtic (Scottish League Champions and F.A. Cup Winners 1970-71)

Victor Football Challenge Cards

An interesting set of 14 small cards, plus an answer card, given away with the Victor comic on 11 March 1972. Each card has a question on the front in colour, and another on the back in black and white.

Number in set: 15
Gallery: Set gallery


Super Stars of 1972

A set of 24 cards presented in two sizes. The smaller cards came with the Victor comic in a sheet of 16 issued on 26 February 1972, while the larger ones came in four pairs in issues from 4 to 25 March 1972. The Victor comic commenced on 25 February 1961 and ran until November 1992 (source www.26pigs.com). The set came with a plastic wallet for storage.

Number in set: 24
Gallery: Set gallery
Checklists: Set checklistTeam checklist


The Victor Year of Football

A football calendar for 1974, presented with the Victor comic in its edition dated January 19, 1974.

Number in set: 1