Country Images Magazine North Edition November 2017 - Page 36

Derbyshire Antiques & Collectibles by Maxwell Craven FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES Two images of football programmes for the 1946 FA Cup Final between Derby County and Charlton Athletic; note the stadium name. [Private collection] I have a confession to make: I am no football enthusiast. It’s not that I haven’t been to a football match, either. When I was about 10 and we lived in leafy outer suburban Surrey, my step-father took me to Selhurst Park to see Crystal Place versus Queen’s Park Rangers, and about twelve years later (as a student) I was coerced into going to the Baseball Ground to watch Derby County play – purely coincidentally Crystal Palace. On both occasions I was cold, my feet hurt (we stood in those days) and I was bored. I suppose that, had I evinced any essential enthusiasm for the proceedings, I would have shouted and wildly waved my hands about, rendering me at least warmer! But I made another mistake: I failed to preserve the programme on both occasions. Th en, aft er both my parents had died, I was taken in by an uncle and aunt, the latter being the joint-proprietor of an antique shop in Hereford and who stood at various antique fairs in the area. She specialised in paper ephemera, postcards and small antiques, and I would frequently help out at fairs, seeing quite a number of football programmes pass through her hands usually at 50p or £1 a time. Yet it was not until I began to work for Bamford’s, decades later, that I 36 | realised how dedicatedly collectible they are. Today my two programmes would have produced a modest return: the former in pristine condition perhaps £7-£10 and the latter about £2. We at Bamfords typically sell them in groups and, assuming the mix includes some classics, estimate them at around £60-£100 for say, twenty-fi ve. Buying this way, of course, makes them much cheaper per unit. In the late nineteenth century, clubs began issuing what are usually called match cards to spectators. Th ese were double sided with the teams, either in lists or in the approximate formation they would use in the game, oft en surrounded by local advertisements. Th ese can go for anything from £80 upwards.  Programmes proper came along a decade or two later with editorial comment, articles and some statistics. Top London clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea even employed programme editors who operated under pseudonyms. Most clubs issued their own programmes, with an interesting exception being Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool who co-operated together, issuing a joint programme for the home games each weekend (one club’s home league game and the other club’s reserve team home game) from 1904/05 until 1934/35.    In the 1920s, when the Cup Final moved to Wembley, programmes more like the ones we are used to today were produced and command high prices. Th is was the period in which club colours started to be used as part of the cover designs, whereas aft er the War, the practice of changing the programme design each season became well established.  Initially, programmes were quite large, usually quarto, with the down- side that they got folded to fi t in the overcoat pocket, with deleterious eff ects upon subsequent condition. In the 1950s, though, some clubs