In Praise of The Football Programme

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 there are loyal collectors of programmes
whose attics and boxes contain
all expertly wrapped and religiously mapped
a record of many a game
but they’re calling for clubs to think over
just what is the point of it all
it’s the digital age v the old printed page 
but they’re still such a part of football
At the end of the late eighteen hundreds
wherever our teams would compete
the programme was born it is earliest form
and often a mere single sheet
they were simple and basic to start with
reflecting the print of the times
there’d be strange sounding names maybe upcoming games
with  barely a thought for design
but they grew and they found our affection
they could bring back some lost memory
of a moment of class or a match from the past
when you stood there so young and so free
when sometimes the nerves or excitement
meant they lay in your pocket unseen
til later at home by  the fireside alone
you would pore over news on your team
there’d by words from the captain and team mates
of things that they did in spare time 
there’d be letters and more and a space for the  scores
that popped up on boards at half time  
and the team pics would follow a format 
that continues along to this day
where they stand there in time with  arms folded behind
those  sat on some bench in that way
those magical black and white photos
of away games at strange misty  grounds
with their classic shaped stands from those far away lands
that conjured up visions and sounds
in the days when we only had papers
they contained all the figures and facts
in striking bold colour all there on the cover
to line ups in middle or back
it was long before TV took over
en masse as they do now today
the Final maybe if you owned a TV
til the world changed with Match of The Day
and they probably lose the clubs money
in a time when  your ticket can be
a print-off at home or a code on your phone
but they still feel important to me
And to all of you loyal collectors
whose attics and boxes contain
religiously mapped and expertly wrapped
in the memories there that remain
they can call  for the clubs to remove them
and some out there might feel the same
but throughout history they evoke memory  
and they still have a place in the game.



The Football League have asked clubs to consider the future of the football programme. Will they and can they continue …often at a
loss?. I for one still haven’t got over Football Monthly, Shoot , Tiger and the Roy Of The Rovers comic and annual disappearing .

From back in the day, when players sported centre partings and headed rock-hard laced footballs on muddy fields in front of bowler hatted and cloth-capped spectators, programmes in some form have existed. For decades football fans have bought sought swapped and even fought for match-day programmes…. common or rare.

They’ve evolved from the simple team-sheets-to the modern glossy magazine, but the desire of the football fan to be informed and for a memento and record of games remains and survives to this day.
Long may it continue. Digital version only ? No thank you.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/in-praise-of-the-football-programme/