As we’ve been scanning and uploading the old match programmes, we’ve noticed the change in style and format over the years. Throughout the early decades they seem to have been a simple single sheet, often folded in two, and printing was in monochrome.
By 1976/77, the single sheet was being folded concertina-fashion, so as to produce 8 sides, and the front of the programme featured a grainy black and white photograph. A 12-page stapled booklet format appeared as standard in 1978/79, the number of pages increasing to 32 by 1993/94. A full colour cover was featured for the 1995/96 season, and colour photographs started to appear inside by 1997/98.
Today the programme is typically a 76 page full colour glossy magazine, packed full of information – and advertisements. Adverts are by no means a new concept, as they appeared in a programme from c. 1900 – no doubt providing a useful source of funds for the club, supplementing the income from the programme cover price.
The early programmes simply gave the details of the fixture and the line-up of players, later to be supplemented by information relating to Club officials. As time went by, more feature articles started to appear, including some background to the match, the current season’s results, forthcoming fixtures, historical information, and chatty articles. Over the years, routine contributions were made by Arthur Russell, Terry Phillips, Steve Fraser, Mike Harris, Ed Martin, and of course by Peter Arnold, whose notes first appeared in 1981 as far as we can make out, and who is still writing his column in 2012/13.
The table above shows a comparison of programme prices over the years.