The humble programme (program in the US!) has long been the souvenir of choice for the fans in the stands on match days up and down the country and Internationally. As the years have moved on and mass production is now possible, the programme has become bigger and with more pages. This has made it a great advertisement tool, with the power to reach thousands of people every week.
The programme started life around the late 1880s as a scorecard which would have been a single card or sheet with dateline, team names and player positions. Aston Villa were one of the first clubs to publish a programme. Pre-war and early 1950s programmes are rare to come across since the vast majority were recycled for the war effort and post-war austerity.
Certain clubs have a dedicated programme shop, these are few and far in between, usually independent traders must be relied on to boost the collection. With the birth of the internet it has become easier for collectors to buy and sell, this has had a negative impact as well, with prices falling. Dealers and collectors alike can still pick up bargains however even in rarities due to shortfalls in description for example.
Perhaps the most famous club programmes are the Manchester United v Sheffield Wednesday FA Cup game in February 1958. This was United's first game after the tragic Munich Air Disaster and out of respect the United team layout was left blank. And the 1966 World Cup Final, although the latter has had at least two reprints over the years.
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