As you know by now, programme collecting is a passion of mine and as it seems a shame to have them stored away for such long periods of time, I’ve decided to write some vanity articles on the programmes of the day, talking style, content, value and showing pictures. The articles have been quite popular, which has surprised me.
Today we’re going way back to 1967/68, a year when perhaps the one programme that should be the most common was printed. After all, when you get over 24,000 people into Sincil Bank, there should be a few copies of the programme kicking about. That’s right, we’re looking to the year the Imps faced Derby County in the League Cup.
It was also the year the programme style changed. Up until 1970/71, the programme rarely changed. This was the first season we changed to a style that would remain right through until the end of the 1969/70 season.
There’s little surprise on the cover, the Cathedral taking centre stage as it had done for almost every programme since the war. I suspect it was cheaper to print than the previous programme too, it appears more basic and uses significantly lighter paper as the cover. let’s face it, these were not classic times to be an Imps fan and money was hard to come by.
There’s little surprises on the inside cover, it seems a list of who is who and the manager’s notes appear in virtually every programme before or since. Manager Ron Gray was given a little space, the sort of word count that would keep Danny Cowley up at night wondering how on earth he’d get his message across.
Another staple of the club programme is the visiting team details and in the late 1960’s it was done almost entirely by pen portraits. Looking through the late sixties programmes is also fascinating in terms of adverts, spotting the businesses with longevity or indeed those who time will have put paid to. Records played at the ground were provided by C R Spouge Ltd of 12 Cornhill Lincoln, although it is hard to see Casey spinning the vinyl at a game nowadays.
Another historical oddity is the players positions. Wing half, half back, inside forward and outside left are long-forgotten roles once the norm across the Football League.
Carrying on through the programme we see the typical fixture list, complete with scorers and results but little more. I can only imagine the trouble Donald Nannestad had trying to research his brilliant 1998 book when the programmes don’t give attendances out! Either side of the 23,196 we attracted 7382 (2-0 loss against Wrexham) and 6052 (3-2 defeat by Luton Town), proving that the Derby gate was very much a one-off.
The rather advert-heavy programme manages to retain its charm despite the rampant boxes filled with business names. In the current season’s 64-page programme there are 27 adverts, some half a page, others a quarter, but in all less than half n advert per page. In 1976/68 there were (typically) 30 adverts across 16 pages, a ratio of two per page.
It is also worth noting that aside from the opening day match against Aldershot, the programmes are all held together by one staple. Clearly, the cost of printing issue one caused such concern that they dropped a staple!
These programmes are fairly common, with the threshold for decent value ending around 1963/64. From there on it seems value’s plummet and I for one have a full set of this season, missing just a handful from all three years the programme took on this style.
67/68 was the first time for a while we hadn’t had to apply for re-election to the league and browsing the final game of the season’s copy I noticed a few interesting touches. Firstly, Roy Chapman is listed as our General Manager, but is also the leading scorer for Port Vale in their pen pics! To clarify, there were two Roy Chapmans!
There’s also a picture of our five a side team who had got to the finals of the national competition at Wembley. Imagine that these days.
Despite these being fifty-one years old this season, they’re not actually worth a great amount. As with most you might find them on eBay for £3-£5, but as you already know by now that isn’t a barometer of what they’re worth.
The most I’ve paid for this era is £1.50 and only then because I needed it. Our supposed November 15th clash with Rochdale was called off, but there’s little evidence I can find of a programme being printed for that game and not used.