The Echoes publication started its life in season 1973/74. The first issue was printed in September 1973. Prior to that, the club committee used to communicate with its members all its news, apart from the normal circulars, which are still sent nowadays, via a stencilled newsletter which basically gave news on recent matches, player news and United news in general. One must bear in mind that in those days, there was hardly any way the Maltese United supporter could get news about his favourite club except through the local and British newspapers, the BBC World Service sports programmes and the very rare occasion when TVM (Xandir Malta in those days) used to screen a match involving the Reds. The only UK football transmitted back in the 1970s was a programme called ‘Star Soccer’ which effectively showed only Midlands teams (such as Derby, West Brom, Birmingham, Villa, Leicester) and if their opponents happened to be United (which wasn’t often), then we felt we were really lucky to see a glimpse of the Red Devils in action. So the Committee at the time felt it was important that the Club produces a better, more striking magazine than the abovementioned stencilled newsletter that was being sent out and as a consequence, the ‘Echoes from Old Trafford’ publication was born.
At first it took the form of a four-page newspaper, with the first article being an interview with Jack Crompton who was holidaying in Malta at the time. After some time, it increased to eight pages, with most articles being dedicated to United players, the team’s current fortunes, Reserves and Juniors news (mostly gleaned from cuttings from the ‘Manchester Football Pink’ kindly sent to us by our correspondent Mrs Booth in Chorlton). Bulky envelopes full of these cuttings were received and sorted out by our then Club Secretary Alex Casha for publication in those early issues of Echoes.
Over the years, Echoes continued to be published without fail and the number of pages continued to increase. Obviously, more local Club news used to be included, especially if some player or official visited the island, but the accent was naturally more on United games and reproduced cuttings as stated above. It was later decided to revamp the Club’s official organ and it was issued in a new format, as a magazine rather than as a newspaper, with a colour front cover and more articles: a great improvement on the previous editions. The problem of costing was always at the forefront with advertising being hard to come by and the Club always spent a great deal of its funds to continue to make sure that the publication was always produced. Successive Annual General Meetings always stressed the importance of the fact that Echoes must continue to be issued no matter what. And despite all difficulties, it was always delivered.
It was felt that members were not really enthusiastic about reading reports on matches that United had played 3 or 4 months prior to the deliver of the publication and hence more emphasis was put on local club matters and articles by local supporters and opinionists, which proved more interesting than some of the reports that appeared previously. A great turning point was the taking over of the printing and layout by Charles and Simon Poulton, without whose immense contribution we would certainly not have the fantastic magazine of nowadays. The problem of advertising was also approached more professionally. Of course, we still keep a record of United team news and details about all that goes on at Old Trafford, complemented by opinions, comments and articles by local members which are more appreciated and enjoyed by our readers. Like everything else, there is always room for improvement and we should not rest on our laurels, but the feedback we get, both from Malta and from abroad, is that we are producing a great magazine which is definitely a credit to the oldest United Supporters’ Club in the world. Thanks is due to all editors and contributors to the publication and all those who have helped in some way over the years to ensure that Echoes always reached our members.