I’ve always been a fan of the football programme. I’m a bit of a collector of lots of random things in life (some might say a hoarder) and football programmes are just one of them. I like to think of my collection like a series of photographs. They’re a snapshot in time, a memory of a moment which will never be repeated, and a testament to a match whose result will be forever marked in the history books of the clubs involved.
For some people, programmes are a gateway to their own memories, and flicking back through old programmes allows them to remember recall anecdotes from that day and the life they had back then. For others, programmes are an expression of their affection for their club, like myself these people will buy every programme they can find, feeling that sense of accomplishment when they manage to finish off their collection of cup finals or in finally tracking down that elusive programme from years ago.
Of course a programme is much more than just a record of the game that is being played that day. It’s also a link to the past, giving us insight into the the world as it was back then. Sometimes this occurs overtly through opinion pieces and local stories, other times it’s through the advertisements printed in the programme – both of these things help to give a glimpse not just of the club but also of the town in which they play. It’s even possible to learn a lot from the design and construction of a programme – at what point did your club begin to print images, and in full colour?
Over the next few weeks and months I’m going to be looking back at Selby Town F.C. programmes from different time periods, and examining how the club has developed over the years. I will also be taking a closer look at the programmes themselves to see what we can learn about Selby and ourselves from these fantastic historical documents.