It is always exciting getting your mitts on a new Boro publication and this compilation is set to be a bible for collectors and Boro memorabilia enthusiasts alike. It is a real labour of love as five Boro fans put their considerable programme collections together and then set about compiling a complete post war record for all Boro programmes, home and away.
Programmes from eight decades of Boro history covering more than 6,500 games at all levels are documented in a new book published to raise funds for Middlesbrough Former Players Association.
A Guide To Middlesbrough Football Programmes 1946/47-2011/12 is the first publication to comprehensively detail all Boro programmes dating back to the first post-World War Two season.
The limited-edition guide covers first team, reserve and youth team fixtures in all league and cup competitions, plus well over 600 friendlies and other games played at Ayresome Park and the Riverside, all listed by season.
The project is a labour of love produced by a dedicated group of enthusiasts, as one of them, official Boro statto Shaun Wilson, explained.
“The journey began in June 2011, when a small band of like-minded enthusiasts embarked on the task of compiling an inventory of post-war programmes,” he said.
“Treasured personal programme lists were shared in various formats, from meticulously handwritten records scribed in fountain-pen ink on grainy paper to modern, computer-based spreadsheets.
“It appeared at first to be simply a case of matching up and cross-referencing the separate lists – but then the scale of the challenge became apparent!”
Alphabetically from Aberdeen to Zurich, geographically from Middlesbrough to Wollongong (Australia), in stature from the minnows of Spennithorne and Harmby to the mighty Real Madrid and in profile from the Westmorland County FA Invitation Trophy to the UEFA Cup final, football’s rich and varied tapestry is all weaved in.
The guide covers all the programmes issued – and also the ones that weren’t – as well as long forgotten and obscure games, postponements, rearranged fixtures and even multiple version programmes for the same game. For statisticians, serious collectors, or even those with only a mild curiosity of Boro’s history, this is the very first time that Boro first team, reserve, youth and NRSC fixtures have been collated and documented into a single Middlesbrough FC publication.
It’s a permanent and unique record of Middlesbrough programmes at all levels, preserved for current and future generations of collectors and supporters.
Priced at £11.99 (plus £1.40 postage if required), all profits will go to Middlesbrough Former Players Association, which helps ex-players in need and local good causes.
For more details please contact Shaun Wilson via firstname.lastname@example.org or to purchase please contact Gary Bolton on email@example.com for purchase options or telephone 01287 635806 or 07837 075567.
Or why not drop down and buy it at the shop that actually inspired many of these collectors, the hidden gem that is Boro Programmes, 58 Parliament Road, Middlesbrough TS1 4LA, telephone George Harris on 01642 25017. Also available from Boro Bookworm, upstairs in the Forbes Buildings, Linthorpe Road.
I asked one of the compilers, Boro statto, Shaun Wilson for a few words about the book and how he grew into the collecting habit.
My first game – was in 1980, but I started collecting as a 14 year old in 1986. I used to get the bus with some school friends to the match from Skelton, and walked up Linthorpe Road to the ground.
I remember popping in to Forbes Building where George then had his Boro Programmes shop. It was there I caught my collecting bug, and George started my collection, along with no doubt countless others.
I used to basically just get the programmes from games I went to but when I left school in 1988, and started work, I, via George, started to fill in the gaps! It just grew from there!
Over the years I’ve made good friends from collecting and its been a pleasure compiling the book with them. My wants list certainly has risen due to it, as there are issues I never knew existed.
Favourite programme – For a lot of years I required a solitary single sheet from a League Cup 2nd replay at Hull City in 1962 to complete my Boro League Cup collection. I was lucky enough to obtain one a few years ago. Other than that it must be the Bolton Wanderers Carling Cup Final programme from 2004, where finally I obtained a programme from when we won a major trophy!