My favourite programme
The match programme has been a staple part of the average football-goers pre-match ritual for well over 100 years. It’s believed that Arsenal have produced one for every single home game they have ever played, although in the early years this was likely to have taken the form of a single sheet, with 8- or 16-page booklets only becoming the norm from about 1905 onwards. The Club promote the current 80+-page programme by claiming it’s a must-have if you attend the game because it proves “I was there”, but this is a bit misleading, since you can subscribe to the programme by mail order or buy back editions from any number of sources. On top of that, there has long been a penchant for collecting programmes regardless of whether you were at the game or not – sometimes because the programme relates to a special game and sometimes just because it’s a gap in a sequence which needs to be filled. We asked our contributors to have a flick through their collections, pick out some of their most cherished programmes and tell us why a few sheets of paper stapled together have a special meaning for them...