A&BC Footballer Bubble Gum


This page is highly indebted to Nigel Mercer, who is the World's leading authority not only on A&BC Chewing Gum, but also on English football cards. And he is a member of SPLAT. For more information on these subjects, his website is strongly recommended:

Nigel's Webspace — Galleries of English Football Cards, from 1965/66 to 1979/80


Seventy-two Letraset transfers appeared in the last two of these three series of "Footballer" Bubble Gum. The first series wrappers (shown last, in a smaller size) say "Plus Pin-Up Poster"; second series wrappers declare "Free Action Transfer", & third series "Plus New Action Transfer".

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The series two wrapper appears courtesy of Paul Bowditch, who says:

"Picture supplied by Paul Bowditch — Rare Football Card Dealer. Please e-mail me with your requirements — paul.bowditch@hotmail.co.uk"


This is the only ad we've seen so far for A&BC Footballer. This one appeared in Smash! on the 13th March 1971.

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Here's the single transfer which we have in the Archives. I wonder if its being wrongly cut from the sheet makes it more valuable?

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Nigel Mercer kindly supplied the following four scans, & he says:

"These transfers all seem to use the images from the Orange back cards (see http://cards.littleoak.com.au/index_abc.html for the relationship). However, a number of the images have been slightly altered, using the methods of the times, e.g. cropping or expanding, and most obviously flipping."

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For some reason, a tradition has sprung up amongst football card collectors of calling these transfers "transparencies", even though they are clearly marked "Action Transfers" on the wrappers. Let's hope this doesn't lead to slide collectors being disappointed when they discover that you can't project them!


So here are all 72 of the transfers in this range. I am grateful to Nigel Mercer yet again for providing the info regarding teams, & for allowing me to re-use the images from the almost-identical table on his website. In the event, I've used sixteen of his, & the others were provided by generous contributors who were happy to share their images. We're still looking for high-resolution scans of many of the transfers from this range, so if you're interested in helping, please contact us.

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Jeff Astle
West Bromwich Albion

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Alan Ball
Everton

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Gordon Banks
Stoke City

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Roy Barry
Coventry City

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Colin Bell
Manchester City

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Peter Bonetti
Chelsea

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Tony Book
Manchester City

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Billy Bremner
Leeds United

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Tony Brown
West Bromwich Albion

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Willie Carr
Coventry City

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Bobby Charlton
Manchester United

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Jackie Charlton
Leeds United

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Martin Chivers
Tottenham Hotspur

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Allan Clarke
Leeds United

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Frank Clarke
Ipswich Town

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Ralph Coates
Burnley

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Charlie Cooke
Chelsea

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Terry Cooper
Leeds United

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Wyn Davies
Newcastle United

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Alan Durban
Derby County

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Peter Eustace
West Ham United

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Alun Evans
Liverpool

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Charlie George
Arsenal

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Johnny Giles
Leeds United

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Bobby Graham
Liverpool

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George Graham
Arsenal

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Eddie Gray
Leeds United

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Jimmy Greaves
West Ham United

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Tony Green
Blackpool

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Ron Harris
Chelsea

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Colin Harvey
Everton

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Kevin Hector
Derby County

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Terry Hennessey
Derby County

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Alan Hinton
Derby County

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Bobby Hope
West Bromwich Albion

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Alan Hudson
Chelsea

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Emlyn Hughes
Liverpool

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Geoff Hurst
West Ham United

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Ian Hutchinson
Chelsea

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Mick Jones
Leeds United

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John Kaye
West Bromwich Albion

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Steve Kember
Crystal Palace

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Brian Kidd
Manchester United

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Brian Labone
Everton

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Francis Lee
Manchester City

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Jim McCalliog
Wolverhampton Wand.

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Roy McFarland
Derby County

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Frank McLintock
Arsenal

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Bob McNab
Arsenal

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Bobby Moncur
Newcastle United

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Bobby Moore
West Ham United

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Ian Moore
Nottingham Forest

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Willie Morgan
Manchester United

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Alan Mullery
Tottenham Hotspur

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Henry Newton
Nottingham Forest

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Keith Newton
Everton

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John O'Hare
Derby County

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John O'Rourke
Coventry City

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Peter Osgood
Chelsea

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Martin Peters
Tottenham Hotspur

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Fred Pickering
Blackpool

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Jimmy Robertson
Ipswich Town

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Bryan Robson
Newcastle United

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Joe Royle
Everton

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David Sadler
Manchester United

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Tommy Smith
Liverpool

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Alex Stepney
Manchester United

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Mike Summerbee
Manchester City

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Peter Thompson
Liverpool

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David Wagstaffe
Wolverhampton Wand.

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Gordon West
Everton

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Tommy Wright
Everton

Possibly A&BC specified the exact size of transfer. They are 1¾" x 2¼".
The standard size of the 'Printable Area' on a Crown (20" x 15") Gravure sheet is 19" x 14".

You can't get 72 cards on one sheet, but there is room for up to 66; so two sheets of 36 would mean a lot of spare space on each sheet, which Letraset might have been inclined to use somehow. Perhaps instead of printing one copy of each transfer, some transfers appeared more than once, in accordance with the time-honoured tradition of leaving some items scarcer than others.

Nigel says:

"To the best of my understanding A&BC Chewing Gum produced Series 1 cards in June/July for release to coincide with a new football season commencing in August*. They produced Series 3 to 'refresh' the market before the end of the season, so perhaps February/March 1971. By splitting the difference you can infer that Series 2 would have been released around November/December 1970. Of course, this is when the packets were sold, not produced. And who knows when the transfers were produced.

"You can deduce some information from the players and clubs depicted on the transfers, but this is an inexact science. For example, Henry Newton is shown as a Nottingham Forest player. He was transferred from Forest to Everton in October 1970, so this gives some indication of when at least some of the transfers were designed i.e. pre-October 1970. Pop Robson was transferred from Newcastle United to West Ham United in February 1971, but is shown in the transfers as a Newcastle United player. It doesn't answer the question about whether they were designed and produced as two sets of 36 or one of 72. Nor do I know which 36 of the 72 were included with Series 2 and which with Series 3.

"My research on the cards themselves (not the transfers) suggests that A&BC Chewing Gum did not produce/print all three Series for one set at the same time. By the time they came to produce Series 3 they were known to make changes to the set design to accommodate transfers** which occurred during the season. For example, they were going to produce a Series 3 card for Chris Barnard (Ipswich Town) but he was transferred to Torquay United in October 1970 and therefore, in the eyes of A&BC at least, became less marketable and was dropped from the set. However, once again, this does not mean that the same logic applied to the transfers."

*: I am told that the football season in England "begins on the first week of August, and ends on the second week of May".
**: Nigel is referring here to the transfer of players from one football club to another; not to the Letraset transfers.

Nigel's information regarding updating the repertoire of cards & players for each series makes perfect sense for the cards in the packets (which would have been printed Offset Litho), but as he points out, it might not apply to the Letraset transfers since Rotary Gravure was hugely more expensive to set up. Changes to artwork, being costly, were normally avoided where possible.


Free Gift Transfers ↑
Packets & Tattooze ↑

Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives (with special thanks to Nigel Mercer) — Paul Bowditch