GB Football Heroes: Select XI representing the beautiful game

Royal Mail is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Football Association and the 140th anniversary of the Scottish Football Association with its Football Heroes miniature sheet, issued on May 9.

Eleven 1st class stamps portray individual British footballers who stood out in their generation, not least in representing their respective countries. The designs form a composite image, and the miniature sheet places them all together in a team line-up.

All the featured men played professionally during the 1950-2000 period, all have been named in the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame, and all are depicted in their contemporary national kit. There are seven Englishmen, two Scots, one Welshman and one Northern Irishman. Eight of them are still alive.

The issue was illustrated by Andrew Kinsman, based on photographs, and the overall design was by True North. Printing was by Cartor, in litho.


The Football Association anniversaries are a thinly disguised excuse to issue stamps on a popular theme

The illustrations manage to make the players look lifelike but not creepy, and the team line-up is a clever idea

Football fans are likely to want to snap up stamps and covers recalling their idols

1st class Jimmy Greaves, England
Quick and elusive, and one of the most instinctive goalscorers ever, Greaves bagged 44 goals in 57 games for England, and 266 goals in 379 matches for Tottenham Hotspur, becoming the highest scorer in the history of English top-flight football. After retiring, he went on to become a popular television pundit.

1st class John Charles, Wales
Tall and strong, with excellent touch and heading ability, Charles was as effective at centre-forward as he was at centre-half for Leeds United and then Juventus. He was dubbed ‘the gentle giant’ during his   ground-breaking spell with the Italian club from 1957-62, and 35 years later was voted the best foreign player to have played in Italy. He died in 2004.

1st class Gordon Banks, England
Probably the finest goalkeeper to have played for his country, Banks was a reliable presence behind the England defence for almost 10 years, including the successful 1966 World Cup campaign. A simply astonishing save from the Brazilian striker Pelé at the 1970 tournament has gone down in sporting folklore.

1st class George Best, Northern Ireland
A sublimely skilful winger, Best had the looks and charm to match his talent, which meant he lived his life under the media spotlight. Although he won the League Championship in 1967 and the European Cup in 1968 with Manchester United, and was named European Footballer of the Year, he retired early and battled alcoholism until his death in 2005.

1st class John Barnes, England
A graceful midfield dribbler and passer, Jamaican-born Barnes was also strong and quick. Playing for England against Brazil in June 1984, he dribbled past four defenders and the goalkeeper in scoring a goal judged by some to be England’s greatest ever. He was part of the Liverpool team which won the League Championship in 1988 and 1990.

1st class Kevin Keegan, England
An energetic, strong and skilful striker, Keegan was a vital force in the great Liverpool team of the 1970s, in a period when the club won seven major trophies, culminating in the 1977 European Cup. Twice named European Footballer of the Year, he went on to manage England in 1999-2000.

1st class Denis Law, Scotland
Nicknamed ‘The King’ by Manchester United supporters, Law was a striker who was good in the air as well as with the ball at his feet, despite his slim frame. He scored 237 goals for the club and 30 for Scotland, won two League Championship titles and was European Footballer of the Year in 1964.

1st class Bobby Moore, England
The most composed of defenders, Moore’s ability to read the play and put himself in the right place to break up an attack was unsurpassed. A loyal servant of West Ham United for 16 years, his place in the nation’s affections was cemented when he captained England to World Cup glory in 1966. He died from bowel cancer in 1993, at the age of 51.

1st class Bryan Robson, England
The most complete midfield player of his generation, Robson’s stamina, tackling and well-timed forward runs made him a natural leader and captain for both Manchester United and England through the 1980s. He won two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the European Cup Winners Cup, and played in the World Cup Finals three times.

1st class Dave Mackay, Scotland
Mackay was a hard-working, hard-tackling midfielder, and later defender, who George Best described as his toughest opponent. He was in the Tottenham Hotspur side which won the League Championship and FA Cup double in 1961, and went on to win the League as a manager, with Derby County in 1975.

1st class Bobby Charlton, England
Charlton was an attacking midfielder with a powerful long-range shot. A survivor of the 1958 Munich air disaster, he played almost all his football for Manchester United and England, setting goal-scoring records for both. Manager Sir Alf Ramsey described him as the lynchpin of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, and he captained United to the 1968 European Cup.

The presentation pack is written by sports writer Richard Rae, and stamp cards of the individual stamps and the miniature sheet are available.

First day covers for the individual stamps, miniature sheet and prestige stamp book pane all come with a fold-out poster reproducing the original artwork for the miniature sheet.

A prestige stamp book and a retail stamp book (with another to follow later in the year) also include stamps from this issue.


Set of 11 stamps £6.60
Miniature sheet £6.60
Presentation pack £7.10
Stamp cards £5.40
Retail stamp book £3.60
Prestige stamp book £11.11
First day cover (stamps) £8.40
First day cover (sheet) £8.40
First day cover (PSB pane) £4.82
Total £62.03