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Programmes

The Football Programme is probably the largest body of printed information about the game. Every match nowadays sees the production of a large magazine containing match reports, player profiles, manager's notes, photos and stats. For a snapshot of each club they have become the definitive place to look for this level of information about a club, and this is in a world where the internet has gradually chipped away at other print media.

This section of the site aims to show the history of the programme by allowing members to load scans of programme covers to the site. Although this does not show the depth of content, the covers help convey the mood and style of each era. (It would be nice to be able to scan complete issues of some of the older programmes but we need some advice as to the best format and method of viewing them. If anyone can help please get in touch.)

Click on the links to the left to see how the collection is growing. Our aim is to get one programme cover per team per season and if you can help fill in any gaps please click on the button below to become a Programme Curator for your club.

A Very Brief History of Football Programmes

The Football Programme has been a regular accompanyment to games in England since the 1890s, with a few earlier examples for big games such as cup finals.

The earlist versions were simple check-cards enabling a fan to jot down who played and the score. Clubs then started raising money by including adverts on them for mainly local businesses, with some containing more ads than information.

Gradually they evolved into A4 booklets with 4 or 8 pages, containing even more ads, team information, news from the club and maybe even a comment or two from the chairman.

Graphics started being introduced on the covers and sometimes line art representations of the club's ground or some match action.

As printing quality improved, photos started being used and colour was experimented with for bigger games. Teams would use bands of their club colours on the cover, which would be kept pretty much the same from one season to the next.

Aerial photos of the ground were popular during the fifties and sixties as prices started to slowly rise.

The seventies saw match action being featured more and more, with the move from mainly black and white photos to colour.

The standard programme grew in size (and price) during the eighties and nineties. Desktop Publishing also became available, with varying results.

Nowadays all teams produce a glossy magazine for an average of £3 for 68 pages, usually featuring a picture of a different player each game. There are the odd welcome exception to this but most 'match magazines' follow a very similar formula, with popular features from one season popping up in other team's programmes the following year.

 

It's worth pointing out that no other country in the world produces as many different programmes on a match day as England - clubs right down the Pyramid to level 7 will produce a programme of some sort for each game. Although sales have decreased as prices have gone the other way there is no doubt that the programme is still part of the matchday experience along with the pie and a pint of old.

 

 


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