StatsName : Rob Dale
Forum Nickname : BertD
Age : The wrong side of 40
Started Collecting : On and off since 1977
What do you do for a living?
Supervisory position in human resources for a train operating company in central London.
Which club do you support and why?
AFC Wimbledon. I watched a lot of local football growing up in Mitcham - Tooting & Mitcham, Corinthian Casuals (both at Sandy Lane), Fisher Athletic and often sneaked into Crystal Palace at half time in the early seventies. Stumbled across Plough Lane during a reserve team game in their first season in the League (1977) as an impressionable 13 year old and it was love at first sight.
What do you collect?
Wimbledon only. Programmes at any level, fanzines, tickets, photos, cards, anything paper, basically.
How did you get into programme collecting?
Initially just by attending the games, then trying to fill in the gaps from games I'd missed, then simply working backwards - firstly to 1974/75 (the start of our glory years), then 1964/65 (when we turned semi-pro), then anything I could lay my hands on.
What was your first football programme?
Probably Tooting & Mitcham vs someone in the early seventies.
What was the last programme you bought?
This evening's F.A. youth cup teamsheet against Sutton. Redhill vs Wimbledon, 1958/59 Surrey Senior Cup also arrived in the post this morning.
How big is your collection?
A few thousand, I guess.
How do you store your collection?
Old photocopy paper boxes back to 1977, prior to that in ring binder season by season.
Whats the oldest programme you own?
1925/26 away to Dulwich Hamlet.
What is the rarest item in your collection?
A pre-season friendly played at our training ground in the early eighties. There were only ten printed.
Which programme from your club is the rarest and most expensive to obtain?
1934/35 Amateur Cup Final replay at Middlesborough, seems to be into 4 figures.
What is your worst buy?
A similar story to ForestMick’s, West Ham vs Wimbledon 1959 (we played them in the London Challenge Cup, speedway rode against them the same year. Guess which one I paid £8 for?). A couple of years later I paid £15 for the real programme, but it never arrived... finally picked one up last year for £15, but rather expensive in total!
What is your best buy?
A huge pile of early 60s programmes picked up for next to nothing from an ex player who wanted to clear the space. The 1946 Amateur Cup Final for £10.
What is the most you have paid for a programme and which one?
Three figures on a couple of occasions for pre-war home friendlies.
What is the most you have received for a programme and which one?
£10 each several times for sold-out AFC Wimbledon aways. I'm a hoarder, not a seller, although one day I hope to be sufficiently sorted to list the myriad spares I have.
What is your most prized programme?
Probably the 1935/36 Surrey Senior Cup final against Camberley & Yorktown. Maybe the 1963/64 Amateur Cup final signed by 6 or 7 of the winning team.
Whats your biggest regret in collecting?
Not having enough money or time to devote to it. Not picking up all the reserve / youth / ladies games as I went along.
In you opinion, is the programme collectors communtiy shrinking or growing?
I think the glory days of schoolboys sending off for "ten different teams" are over, the days of poring over lists won't be with us much longer, but the ease which you can now collect online has opened up a whole new market.
What do you enjoy most about the hobby?
Completism, bargain hunting and nattering with my fellow collectors. The feeling of holding a newly purchased old programme in your hand and reading the club notes, considerably more interesting than the modern pfaf.
Where do you buy most of your programmes from?
Originally the old programme shop at Plough Lane, these days it's ebay or personal contacts.
If money was no object, which programme would you most like to add to your collection?
All the ones I'm missing! I really would like the 1889/90 fixture card, but I don't think there's too many floating around ...
Would you ever sell your collection?
How do you wish to develop your collection over the coming years?
Just filling the gaps.