Pocket-sized but Football Annual packs a big punch


In the year it first appeared the Marquess of Salisbury was Prime Minister, Queen Victoria ruled and Aston Villa beat West Bromwich Albion in an exclusively midlands FA Cup Final watched by 15,000 people at Kennington Oval.

Yes, soccer’s pocket encyclopedia really has been around that long. Its inaugural year featured no Football League statistics as official League games did not kick off for another 12 months.

After several title changes it is now known as the Nationwide Football Annual and is as synonymous with the sport as Wembley, referee baiting and managerial sackings.

The 2021-22 edition records England’s re-emergence as a global footballing power. All the details of Euro 2020 are painstakingly set out with Gareth Southgate’s team achieving a heart-breaking near-miss yet gaining respect.

Ultimately it may have been another heroic England failure but as editor Stuart Barnes says in his introduction: “Their performance at Euro 2020 was enough to set the seal on a special year for English football. It confirmed we are now respected – and feared – in the international game with every prospect of an exciting build-up to the World Cup.”

World Cup qualifying fixtures are listed along with League fixtures for England and Scotland. Last season’s League results and tables can be found along with a season summary for every English League club, appearance records and details of cup competitions and internationals.

The records section is an absolute gift for football quizzers and a comprehensive club section contains squads for the 2021-22 season.

A complete contents would take up far too much space here. Suffice to say if it has ever happened in football it is recorded somewhere among the annual’s 544 pages. A gem.

Nationwide Football Annual edited by Stuart Barnes is published by SportsBooks Ltd price £8.99.