2000-01 = THE SUN
2001-02 = BBC KICK-OFF
Memorabilia: Team Tabs
THE FOOTBALL ATTIC 2013-14
And this one is just a bit bizarre! In August 2013, to celebrate their popularity and place in football fan folklore, THE FOOTBALL ATTIC website produced their own 'fantasy' set of League Ladders for 1913-14.
You will find a link to their website and a fully printable set of both ladders and tabs in the links below.
The major producers of these little items were ROVER, CHAMPION, TIGER, LION and VALIANT comics, all published by Amalgamated Press / Fleetway / IPC from the early 1920s and into the 1970s. It seems that they employed a system for categorising each division of the Football League, at least until 1963 when it appears that team 'colours' took over.
Peelable PVC stickers were used for this version to be affixed to a little booklet HERE
c1934-35 to 1959-60
1st Division = white lettering on blue background and red edges
2nd Dvision = red lettering on white background and blue edges
3rd Division = blue lettering on white background and red edges*
4th Division = white lettering on red background and blue edges*
*There is evidence that the colours were alternated for these last two divisons; I have seen 3rd Division tabs with white lettering, red background and blue edges and, similarly, 4th Division tabs with blue lettering, white backgrounds and red edges.
And finally ...
I've saved this one until last although, chronologically, it should really come first. In July 2016 I was offered - and bought! - what is believed to be the 'Holy Grail' of League Ladder/Team Tab collecting; this, the earliest known example, dates to 1923 (the featured teams correspond to those of the First Division in season 1923-24) and was issued with D.C. Thomson's 'ROVER' comic. I will be keeping it intact and not cutting out the flags, but if collectors would like good quality scans of their team's flag I will oblige.
This very item was also featured on Alan Jenkins' great site HERE.
'MATCH WEEKLY' (1990-91 to 2015-16)
This magazine appeared as a serious rival to SHOOT! in 1979 and there is a school of thought suggesting that it began producing League Ladders of its own in 1988, but our research has not found any proof to back this up, including checking the covers of 'MATCH' magazines for July, August and September of both 1988 and 1989, none of which suggest that League Ladders were issued. I am, therefore, electing to begin their 'history' in 1990. Similar research also suggests that there were no Ladders or tabs for the 1991-92 season either, so it looks like - perhaps initially - the 1990-91 issue was just an experiment and they only took up the challenge in earnest in 1992-93.
Like those of SHOOT! these tabs underwent varying changes in design although they did stick pretty much to using a 'shirt' design and the colours of the club. By 2005-06 they had also adopted the same design as the shirts of the team i.e. stripes, chevrons, hoops, etc., not just their colours.
Once again there was a hiatus for seasons 2011-12 and 2012-13 with a return the following season although they have now not produced any since summer 2015, fuelling thoughts that such gifts are now considered to be no longer of interest to the general football fan, which seems a terrible shame to this collector, for one.
Here are a few examples of those tabs that I am missing; as you can see, there is hardly any way to tell them apart. The typeface is pretty much the same until 1991-92 and the text is the same until 1983-84 and then continues the same right up until 1990-91 when it changes again, thankfully bringing back the appropriate divisional information.
By the late 1960s EVERYBODY wanted to get in on the act and all sorts of commodities were issuing their own 'League Ladders' in a variety of shapes and sizes.
ROY OF THE ROVERS
Part of a set produced in a book called 'FOOTBALL'
Roger Pashby's The Huddersfield Town Collection
Welcome to "the best source of Huddersfield Town memorabilia on the internet!"
These are certainly far older than I had ever imagined! Previously, I had naïvely believed that SHOOT! produced the first of these in the 1969-70 season, but my research (and that of Alan Jenkins) has revealed that in fact they go all the way back into the 1920s!
Looking through this section you'll also notice that I am missing lots - can you supply me with them?
Peelable PVC stickers were used for seasons 1992-93, 1993-94 and 1994-95
I suspect - but cannot yet prove - that from 1960-61 the colours changed for the first time; certainly in 1962-63 the 2nd Division teams were represented by red letters on a yellow background with black edges. Also, up until 1962-63 tabs were not perforated for easy 'push-out' use; instead they had to be cut from the sheet by excited young schoolboys wielding scissors (or, in some cases, garden shears!) hence the rather haphazard shape of some tabs that I have seen!
The LION issue of 1963-64 marked the year that they shifted to team colours and another innovation for this season was the printing of the previous season's finishing position - a boon to all collectors trying to date individual tabs! It also seems as though between 1955 and 1965 the League Ladders published were alternated between LION and one of TIGER and VALIANT comics.
My grateful thanks go to Alan Jenkins, Paul Chauveau and Bob Thomas for their invaluable help, knowledge and research in this field which has made my task that little bit easier!
Notice the different background to confirm that these are indeed from two different sets
BBC 'MATCH OF THE DAY: Club Scarves & Shirts' (issued 2009-10 to date)
Then, in 2009, along came the BBC publication
MATCH OF THE DAY with their own brand of
very large league ladders on an immense
wallchart which dwarfed those of SHOOT!
The offering from MOTD included large
scarves for the Premier League teams with a
small strip of Velcro attached to the back to
move them up and down the ladder, whilst
the rest of the football pyramid makes do
with standard shirts and slots in their ladders.
As can be seen here, I am missing quite a few.
NEWS OF THE WORLD
SHOOT! (1969-70 to 1999-2000)
Perhaps the most fondly remembered and most widely known team tabs were those produced by IPC's SHOOT! magazine from 1969 until 2000, although not 1970-71 when they were issued with SCORE'N'ROAR' instead, as confirmed HERE.
As you can see, they underwent quite a change in presentation although they certainly stuck to using team colours for each of the clubs. One problem for the collector came with the decision in 1970 to drop the previous season's finishing position (re-instated by 1990) in favour of information about where the club played, which makes dating these items all the more difficult. The ones shown here I am certain of, although I have my doubts about the 1973-74 season as it could be one of a couple of seasons; the darker print of the information points perhaps to that season.
In August 1999 SHOOT! printed their final set of League Ladders, leaving MATCH WEEKLY to carry the torch single-handedly for the next ten seasons.
And FINALLY FINALLY ...
If for no other reason than to preserve my own sanity, here are sources which PROVE that many of the above team tabs belong in their respective seasons; clicking on each one should take you to the indisputable (!) evidence. As you will note, there are some that I simply cannot prove and conversely I also provide proof for several tabs that I do not (yet) possess.
This last section is a 'work in progress' and as such I shall add to and update it as often as I find evidence.