THE HISTORY OF THE ALBION PROGRAMME - INTRODUCTION
The programme has been around for almost as long as The Albion itself. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, match records were very rudimentary and programmes as we know it were not produced. The earliest known Albion programme is for a game in September 1907, against Plymouth Argyle. Over the years, the design and content has evolved to coincide with promotions, relegations, cup runs, survival games and everything else in between. We now have a massive 84 page matchday magazine that is as far from the match cards of the 19th Century as is possible.
This part of the website will go on a journey through the years, looking at the design and content of our programme. As always, if you have any queries, questions, or feel you have some memorabilia that would be of interest, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am massively thankful to Peter Irvine of the Collectors & Historians Society for his input into the early part of the life of our programme,
Part 1 - 19th Century Match Cards and Brighton United
Organised amateur football started to take hold in the Brighton area towards the end of the 19th century and one of the leading clubs in the area Brighton Athletic, who it is believed played a series of friendly matches at the enclosure in Preston Park. Match cards are known to exist for 1895 but the example shown here is for a game against Middlesex Hospital dated 30th November 1895. It is priced at a rather expensive one penny and was printed by Crowhurst of 52 Market Street. The single card measures 190mm x 125mm and conveyed only the most basic of information, the date and ‘position of the teams’ on one side and five local adverts on the other. The main advert is from W. Avenell & Co., artists & photographers, who a few years later produced many postcards involving Brighton & Hove Albion. This card was typical of match cards throughout the country at this period. Stan Freeman (Left Back), Arthur Collins (Forward) and Charlie Halman (Outside Left) later went on to appear for Brighton United.
Unfortunately no home match cards are known to exist for this short lived club, who were the first professional club in Sussex and the forerunner of today’s Brighton & Hove Albion. Brighton United played two seasons in the southern league division one from 1898 to 1900. United failed to complete the 1899/1900 season and their record was wiped out. On 18th November 1899, they played along the coast against a strong Southampton team. Southampton were the reigning Southern League champions and later this season were to become F.A. Cup runners up. An attractive match card was produced proudly showing on the front cover a picture of trophies held. Again it was a single card but this was folded in half to give four sides. When folded the card measures 125mm x 75mm. The team lineups were printed across the two centre pages. Adverts appeared on the back page.
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