Collecting International Football Programmes


Irrespective of club affiliations that supporters may have, the opportunity to acquire a programme for your own international team has a universal appeal to supporters from across the country. International programmes become relatively sought after as a result of this great demand placed on their supply.

There is scope to collect widely, especially in the United Kingdom where there is the possibility of acquiring programmes for the four home nations of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and additionally, the Republic of Ireland. However, it is usually the case that a collector will collect for one nation only.

Often, those attending international matches will view the event as a special occasion and purchase more soccer programmes than for their own personal needs in order to distribute to their friends and family, or with the intention of selling them at a later date. As such, collectors are most likely to come across international match programmes in a dealer's catalogue.

The better dealers generally have a strong network of travelling supporters to source both home and away international match programmes from. In some cases a dealer may request a number of programmes from those who distribute the programmes in the country that the match took place. However, for this sourcing a premium is added to the cost of the programme. One can expect to pay £5 or more for an away international match fixture programme. There is an even greater premium placed on programmes for those matches were there was an unexpectedly large attendance, having the knock on effect of reducing the surplus available to dealers. Pre-1950 away programmes can be very rare indeed. For example Germany v England in Berlin, in 1938, can fetch several hundred pounds.

One possibility to make your collection more historically interesting is to collect programmes that are fairly old. These are sought after programmes as they are filled with football heritage, and may even involve countries that no longer exist. Up until the 1960s most international matches were played at club grounds, which made the associated programmes very individualised. There was no set template for the international programmes, and this individuality makes them a very interesting addition to any collection. This created a situation whereby an England v Eire at Goodison Park in 1949 could fetch over £100 in the open market. Equivalently England v Holland at Huddersfield in 1946 could hope to fetch several hundred pounds.

International matches are a relatively new phenomenon apart from meetings between the home nations. This leaves the collector with a fairly neat cap of the 1950s to collect back until. Before 1950 few internationals were played at Wembley Stadium, which makes these highly collectable. Clashes between England and Scotland from the pre-war period are extremely sought after, as are continental internationals due to the scarcity of them occurring, and the fact they were held at non-Wembley locations such as Highbury, Goodison Park, White Hart Lane, Maine Road, Old Trafford, Hillsborough, Bramall Lane, Villa Park and Ayresome Park.