About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Football Programmes Post-war to Premiership

You can divide football supporters into two camps: those who buy a programme and those who don’t. For the former it is an essential souvenir of the game, a useful reminder in years to come of what happened, and an historical artefact. For the latter it’s just so much flotsam and jetsam, a item of floccinaucinihilipilificatiousness* whose presence adds nothing the central spectacle.
With a background in History I naturally fall into the programme buying wing and have shoeboxes full of evidence under my bed to prove it.
Bob Stanley of top 90s pop combo St Etienne is a fellow devotee, and in partnership with Paul Kelly has lovingly produced a compendium of programme covers from clubs at all levels in England and Wales.Almost all the programmes date from the period Stanley deems to be the golden age of the programme: 1945-1992.
Before 1945 programmes were little more than two sided sheets of printed paper with line ups and short comment from the home club. After 1992 and the advent of the Premiership, the Matchday Magazine came to the fore, glossy, in depth and thanks to modern printing techniques uniformly professional.
The period Post-war to Premiership was in Stanley's eyes an age of individualism and innovation, particularly in terms of the cover, something that I hope has come across in this programme's long running "Cover Story" series which ends today.In the book each league club from the period is allotted a page or two with a handful of copies on each in alphabetical order from Accrington Stanley to York City.
At the end in no mere postscript a smattering of non league clubs is given space (Altrincham to Yeovil Town). No room for the Magpies unfortunately, although Marlow, Slough and Wycombe make the cut, with the Chairboys cover featuring a picture of their old Loakes Park ground.
The only text is confined to the introduction. Guest Brian Glanville provides his usual fulsome commentary on his own programme favourites, whilst Stanley focuses on the, in his eyes artists, who created his favoured modernist masterpieces during the seventies.
Top of the tree in his opinion was the Midlands based Sportsgraphic agency run by John Elvin and Bernard Gallacher who produced design classics for Aston Villa, Coventry City and West Bromwich Albion.
Indeed the book cover itself (pictured above) is taken from the 1961-62 Aston Villa cover, the then uncovered Holte End steepling away at the top of the shot.The stadium provides just one option for the cover, other popular choices being a single or multiple photographic montage, a line drawing or sketch, the club badge or trophy up for grabs. The covers run the full gamut of typefaces and designs so be warned, if the cover of next season's Magpie looks a little outré or retro look no further than this book for the thinking behind the design!
Read on: Football Programmes: Post-war to Premiership is available from Amazon and all Booksellers of distinction.
Further education: educatedleftfoot.blogspot.com
* Pint of Guinness please Foz

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