042 – Arsenal Pools Blotters

Before the National Lottery came along the flutter of choice in England was the football pools. Teatime Saturday all around the country people from maiden aunts to youngsters in their first jobs would feverishly check their coupons to see if they had the eight draws they’d been dreaming of when they filled in their coupon. No one wanted to smudge their coupons so the ink would be blotted and the pools companies caught on to this novel form of advertising.

The first four scans are from blotters given away by Sherman Pools in the 1930s, the last being a Littlewood’s one also from the ’30s.





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4 responses to “042 – Arsenal Pools Blotters

  1. The Football League had an issue with the pools companies in the 1930s. The pools companies were using the Football League fixtures without the League’s permission. The League held the copyright to the fixtures and wanted a fee from the pools companies to use the fixtures. The pools companies refused. The Football league then designated certain dates where they changed the fixtures after the pools coupons had been printed and sent to customers.

    This obviously meant massive disruption to the clubs but it worked. The pools companies relented and started to pay the Football League.

    This is still in effect today and fixture lists can only be printed with permission from the League.

    I’ll dig around and see if I can found out when the dispute occured.

    • Hi Andy.

      Thanks for once again adding something.

      I was aware of the fixture lists permission as a site I was involved in received a cease and desist notice a few years back and whilst I was vaguely aware there was a dispute between pools companies and the League I had no idea it had gone that far.

  2. In the 1936-37 handbook it states that most of the Football League clubs met in Manchester on 20 February 1936 which resulted in the scheme of “secret fixtures”.

    The first set of “secret fixtures” were issued on Friday 28 February for matches the following day. Arsenal were playing in the FA Cup so were not affected. Basically, the Football League swapped the fixtures of 29 February with those on 14 March.

    The fixtures for 7 March were transposed with those on 4 April so Arsenal played Huddersfield instead of Brentford.

    Looking at reports in The Times, the Football League clubs opposed the management committee’s proposal as it was causing them administrative problems arranging games at such short notice. So the Pools companies won this battle.

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