The very fact that you are reading this programme puts you into one of the four categories of programme collector - potential, latent,
casual or confirmed. The purpose of this series of articles is to convert those programme buyers from the first two categories
into casual or confirmed collectors by describing the different types (sets) of programmes, and by highlighting the pleasures that
can come from collecting football programmes.
A collection can be of any size, however modest or impressive, and can cost as much or as little as you want to spend on it. There are no barriers to entering the programme buying market, therefore, where you will find avid collectors from all walks of life. Subscribers to "Programme Monthly", for instance, include solicitors, accountants, actors, schoolboys and girls, students, housewives, farm labourers, factory workers, teachers, business executives - and an MP from Mauritius. So it's not simply a case of "You've bought the programme - now wear the anorak !"
"What do I collect" is not usually a question which arises in the early stages of a programme collection, which is first formed by the accumulation of programmes from various sources, mostly from the first few years of attending football matches. If the collecting "bug" bites, then anything and everything will be voraciously added to a collection, and it is only when ambitions are limited by the availability of funds, that thought will have to be given to specialisation.
The composition of each collection is unique to its collector, so there are endless variations of collecting themes, but there are accepted basic building blocks, and these will be described over the course of the season in this series of articles. As well as describing the "sets", and the pitfalls and pleasures to be encountered en route, we will try to point out what to look out for in terms of value and collectability and perhaps give existing collectors - and those who accumulate programmes but don't consider themselves to be collectors - some ideas towards widening their horizons and deriving more pleasure from the hobby.
Most casual collectors will have a handful of "landmark" programmes in their possession - cup finals and semi finals (if their team has been fortunate enough to aspire to these heights), internationals, testimonials, special fixtures, major cup ties - each of which provides an interesting and achievable set to collect. The regular supporter may make a point of buying a home match programme; those who follow the team away from home will take this a stage further, and the more committed fans could extend this to friendly fixtures, foreign tours - all without leaving the confines of your favourite club. To expand horizons, you could go back in years, setting an earliest date (1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, for example) and collecting programmes back to that starting point.
Someone with a wider interest in football could collect other clubs, other leagues (perhaps venturing into non-league), other countries - the possibilities are endless, and each will be covered over the course of the following articles.
WHAT TO COLLECT is available from PM Publications, 38 Lowther Road, Norwich, NR4 6QW, priced £1 plus 60p postage (Europe add 70p, outside Europe add £1.40)
UK purchasers may pay by 4 x unused first class postage stamps; for other methods of payment, please click payments
WHAT TO COLLECT
is a 32 page booklet which contains advice, over 25 different chapters, on the different types of programmes
that could be collected to make a recognisable programme collection; what to look out for in each category; how best to obtain
that type of programme; and your likely expenditure.
The "sets" run from Cup Finals, through Internationals, to Reserve and Youth programmes, European Club competitions and their finals, "First and Last seasons" and so on.
A flavour of the booklet may be obtained from the introductory chapter, "Setting The Scene", which is reproduced below