“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover“ or so the saying goes but is it the same for a football programme? Here at cult twitter site @NonLgeProgs we certainly enjoy the finer points of a match day programme, good content, fantastic photography and of course the odd bizarre advert and comedy spelling mistake. However, whilst a book’s story really only begins inside, a football programme cover can often be the story.
In the last 18 months the football programme has made the news, a thing of the past? Has social media hastened its demise?
Look a little deeper and instead you’ll find a better story, the renaissance of the match day programme cover and even better it’s non-league leading the way.
The Hartlepool v Wrexham programme last season (pictured) shows a cartoon of neighbours Middlesbrough providing a vital helping hand to their friends up the A19. The story is that the reverse happened years before when Boro were in financial peril and Boro had thus agreed to return the favour.
Programme covers of course, like football itself was a little less pretentious in days gone by. For ‘handshakes after a goal is scored’ this Sutton United programme from 1972 was the paper equivalent. No flashy pictures just the salient information. Fast forward to the 70’s and just as in life, things got a little psychedelic (Havant). Then along came a chap that we call ‘Sideburn Bob’. He and a chasing opposition player (Dependable Dave) were the clip-art equivalent of the fast food restaurant ‘Wimpy’ in the eighties; simply your only choice. The good news is that Sideburn Bob is now back! (Steeton FC)
Cartoon designs at Eastbourne Town, Salford City and Sholing FC. Retro programmes at Barrow AFC and York City. Evocative old paintings on programmes at Port Vale and East Stirlingshire and some wonderful out of the box thinking at Hashtag Utd, Barry Town and Arnold Town. They all tell the story of better software yes, but also that the football programme itself will remain part of the story for many years to come.
Chris Tuck, founder of @NonLgeProgs