Programme Corner: 1964/65

I’m really enjoying my programme pieces at the moment, so I’ve found half an hour to pop another out for you.

Having had the same programme for 11 years, City moved to a new design in 1964/65. These were not great days for the club; it was the first season of three in which we finished in the bottom three and had to apply for reelection. By the end of the season, 64/65 was described as “the most disappointing season ever experienced by Lincoln City”, and if you wish to read more, Malcolm’s excellent article has got you covered.

The four teams who applied for reelection were us, Sotkcport, Barrow and Halifax, and we got 175 votes between us (City getting more with 48). Bedford Town, Gateshead, Guildford City, Hereford United, Wigan Athletic, Cambridge United, Morecambe, Romford, South Shields, Wellington Town,
Wimbledon, Bexley United, Corby Town and New Brighton got 21 between them. Still, I bet their fans didn’t have a programme that was twice the price of the previous season.

That’s right; for 11 years the club programme sold for threepence, but those (un)fortunate enough to buy one on the opening day of the season in August 1964 were shocked to find it cost them sixpence. 5222 turned up to see us beat Hartlepools on the opening day (they dropped the ‘S’ in 1968), and I’m pretty sure they will have baulked at the price of the new programme. Despite expanding by four pages, it is one of my least favourite programmes from any season.

I find the cover uninspiring and bearing little connection to the club. The cathedral and Imp are both gone, instead a rather haunting drawing of a keeper with unusually long fingers replaces those icons. In my opinion, it is bland and wouldn’t have persuaded me to part with my money. Hopefully, the content would be better!

I’ve taken the inside from our November 20th game against Tranmere Rovers, an evening game. This was something of a novelty for Imps supporters, with the floodlight system having been given its first outing in 1962 against Barnsley.

With a brief cameo by my thumb, we introduced the opening pages of the 1964/65 programme. On the left, the usual club information. this was printed on a rather rigid card, a cover much tougher than the previous years. Perhaps this was to make them easier to take home, but it certainly made them harder to fold, and once they were folded they were badly scored, as some of the shabbier ones in my collection attest to. On the right, Bill Anderson made his usual programme notes, whilst we also see the league tables for the Fourth Division and North Regional League. We’d beaten Tranmere 1-0 in the cup two days before thanks to John Hawksby, and Bill noted they’d want revenge.

They got it, they won 2-1.

Whilst the content is better than the previous eleven years, the programme is so tough to open and read, as you can see by the picture. Anyway, there’s a range of adverts which are mostly familiar, although I do like the record store ad in the top left. On the right, a note from the Supporter’s club, which were mainly about the visitors. There were also draw winners, four in total, and I guess they were named every week. I might have a look back to see if any familiar names pop up through the season.

The real evolution of the programme begins here, as we see a guest article and something other than stats to read. Gill Morris penned ‘Soccer Searchlight’, which discussed a bit about the cup and notable results. This is the sort of thing people like me find interesting, so I guess the bad design has been balanced with better content.

This must have felt like a mammoth read, as we’re not even at the centre spread yet. There are no adverts here, it’s all business, the stats page. Leading scorers, results and reserves are all included, and this is what people tell me they like about today’s programme as well. Looking at the results, I can imagine the ten we conceded in five days at the end of October hurt badly.

If you’ve followed my other programme articles (which 165 of you did on my last article), then this will be familiar to you. It’s barely changed since the war up to this point, The team isn’t correct; Joe Jacques missed out and Bunny Larkin made his debut.

I like the idea of the Lincoln League being included here, it gives the programme a wider local appeal. It’s clearly something they’d tried much harder with than in previous years, so fair play. Musgrave Tools were still working closely with the club too, which is great. The pen pics returned, clearly we’d decided all opponents were worthy now (see Workington last season).

The new ideas continued, with a ‘personality page’, which featured Bud Houghton. This is the first time we’d seen content like this in a programme, and it gave a little more insight into the players at the club. Incidentally, for those who are interested, the first-ever subject of the feature was Dick Neal. I’m guessing that me, Malcolm and maybe two others will find that interesting.

More new content, this time an advert of sorts from St John’s Ambulance, discussing courses etc. This didn’t appear every week – there we other features some weeks, which made the programme one of the more interesting for fans at the time. The layout even changed, with pen pics appearing in different places each week, as an example.

I can’t help but think of the song ‘we’re on our way’ when I read the advert on the inside back cover. I guess this was a big money-maker, or at least one the club hoped would make money, as there is a big push on it.

That’s not quite the lot, there are a couple of points to make about the programme. Firstly, it varied from week to week. Some I have are a couple of pages shorter, with different aspects missed out. In one, the pages featuring content such as Gill Morris’s piece are actually smaller than the rest of the programme, and for the Tranmere league game, the content was lifted straight from the cup game two days earlier; imagine basically putting the same product out for consecutive matches and charging for it both times!

I also think this is the first programme to feature an actual photograph. I might be wrong, but in all the copies I have before this season, there’s never been a photo. However, in the edition for Doncaster, February 27, there’s a photo of Tony Emery. There’s also one in the Darlington home programme from April 10th, this time of Willie Windle.