In a previous issue of our quarterly fanzine, we featured the covers of just a handful of the thousands of old football programmes that sit in the collection of MILES McCLAGAN (@TheSkyStrikers). The theme? When British clubs, of all sizes, would take European football by storm. Here, we look at a small selection of the often bizarre pages contained within these matchday magazines that would have greeted both home supporters and those visiting from the continent. We urge you to check out Miles’ collection online at https://www.flickr.com/photos/114058793@N05/sets
Stoke City hosted the mighty Ajax, multiple European champions and the foundation of the great Dutch side of the 70s, in the UEFA Cup in 1974, and as a favour, they saved everyone a bit of time bumping and barging to collect autographs at the players’ entrance by printing the Ajax team’s signatures in the programme.
Younger football fans would probably piss their pants if you suggested that Dundee United were once a top side in continental competition, yet, in 1984, they were just 90 minutes away from a place in the European Cup final against Liverpool. A heartbreaking second leg defeat to Italian giants Roma killed United’s dreams after a first leg at Tannadice where they outclassed their star-studded opponents.
His players probably never had the audacity to ignore a call from Old Big ‘Ead, and the slightly menacing tone to the final remarks in his programme notes from this clash with PSV Eindhoven in 1983 suggests the fans shouldn’t dare to either.
‘From Leeds to the bottom of the sea’. Sounds like the worst disaster movie ever, but this stirring advert for Cameron Iron Works appeared in the programme at Elland Road in 1979 when Universitatea Craiova of Romania visited Yorkshire in the UEFA Cup.
Mike Yarwood in cabaret at Cesar’s Palace in Luton and a photo of Stan Bowles that “is bound to appeal to all members of his Fan Club”. What more could anyone ask for from their programme? QPR vs. SK Brann Bergen 1976.
Borat and his Hungarian team mates pitch up in Glasgow for this Cup Winners’ Cup preliminary tie with Celtic in 1980 minus goalkeeper Vereb, who was suspended for five European games after a run in with a referee. The Celtic programme writers decision not to elaborate leaving us hanging there.
A perma-tanned Ron Atkinson welcomes Videoton to Old Trafford in 1985 in a nice pair of roomy short shorts. Given the slant of his weather-heavy programme notes, perhaps not the most appropriate attire to be discussing the introduction of a winter break.
In the early 80s, St. Mirren were rewarded for their domestic displays with European football despite being coached by a life-sized cardboard cut out of manager Jim Clunie.
Liverpool, Champions of the Football League: they would go on to conquer Europe too at the end of this 1980/81 Champions Cup campaign. Graeme Souness and Terry McDermott both scored hat tricks in this 10-1 first round demolition of the Finnish unknowns at Anfield.
Beer and tabs. ‘Scotland’s favourite’
Back to Nottingham Forest now and the obligatory post-match celebratory bath or shower scene that footballers were often forced to pose for during the 70s and 80s. Not sure you’d get away with such semi-naked frivolity in today’s programmes.
ACTION! Ipswich skipper Mick Mills and Escape to Victory veteran Russell Osman try to beat AZ Alkmaar keeper Gerrit Vooys to an inswinging corner in the 1978/79 Cup Winners’ Cup. The two clubs would meet again 3 years later when Bobby Robson’s side beat the Dutch in the UEFA Cup final.
It’s not only Britain where you find programmes at football matches, as you can see here. If you know what this advert is for from this 1988 Honved vs. Celtic European Cup clash then please feel free to elaborate…