Friday, 13 May 2011

The Programmes

Top row, left to right: Eastleigh, Andover New Street, Romsey Town; Centre: Gosport Borough, Brockenhurst, Horndean; Bottom: Fareham Town, Fleet Town, AFC Totton, Stockbridge.
I've been to ten different non-league grounds in Hampshire in the latter half of 2010-11. At each, I've bought a programme. Now, I'm not a programme collector, and neither have I kept records of every match I've ever been to. Plenty of groundhoppers do both of these things, but I've mostly followed the same club all my life, and their statistics are perfectly well kept by others. I can understand the appeal of collecting - I buy an enamel badge at every ground I go to, assuming there's a club shop - but spending an extra £3 or so every time I visit Fratton Park for the latest shiny club propaganda sheet isn't for me.

However, non-league programmes seem to contain some of the character of their parent club, and I've enjoyed buying and reading them this season. I shall certainly carry on buying them over the next two years as I carry on with my journeys. What I haven't done so far is add the programme details to my match details as I've written about each club on here - this will be rectified when August comes around again.

What follows now is a list of the matches I've been to over the last few months with added programme information:

Eastleigh v Havant & Waterlooville (4-2), £10 entrance + £2 programme. Colourful, professional-looking, plenty of club news in amongst the adverts.
AFC Totton v Sholing (2-1), £9 entrance + £1.50 programme.
Fareham Town v Romsey Town (1-1), £ 6 entrance + £1 programme. Excellent value. Several interesting articles, plenty of stats. A labour of love.
Romsey Town v Lymington Town (2-6), £4.50 entrance + £1.50 programme.
Andover New Street v Tadley Calleva (4-3), £4 entrance, programme free. All the Wessex League First Division programmes were advertising shells with team sheets and opponents' histories within.
Stockbridge v Petersfield Town (1-1), £4 entrance, programme free.
Brockenhurst v Bournemouth (0-5), £6 entrance, programme free. Another favourite. Colour cover, lots of club info and a most extraordinary rant on the welcome page.
Fleet Town v Met Police (0-2), £8 entrance + £2 programme (I think - no price on cover). Professional appearance, lots of match reports.
Gosport Borough v AFC Totton (0-1), £8 entrance + £1.50 programme. A couple of interesting pieces within.
Horndean v Hythe & Dibden (3-1), £5 entrance, programme free.

And the best programme award for 2010-11 goes to...

Fareham Town! Jam-packed with original opinions and information. The usual club statistics, but in more depth than is often the case; an article on the pros and cons of being promoted to the Southern League; another article on the Step 5 promotion process; a report from a groundhopper's trip to Blackwell Miner's Welfare; another long piece on potential restructuring of the Wessex League; memories of a trip to Margate...and so on. And all written for a midweek crowd of 60 people, and sold for only a quid! Absolute bargain.

And whilst I'm here, to wrap up the season, my personal award for best match of the season goes to...

Andover New Street v Tadley Calleva! A gripping, end-to-end thriller on a day when it seemed just about possible that Spring was on its way to Hampshire.


  1. It's nice to see one of my programmes there! I'm the programme editor at Romsey Town and I've changed the programme a lot since the issue you've got there. Hope you enjoyed it though.

  2. Hello Cam. I've been back to Romsey a few times since the Lymington match. I always buy the programme and do the half-time quiz - although I usually do it the next day as I'm chatting at half-time! I do understand how much work must go into producing a club programme and always appreciate the effort.