|The object shown is the official match programme for the fixture between Watford and Crystal Palace played at the Vicarage Road ground, Watford, on Saturday 7 December 1974.|
In the 19th century, the first printed programmes were just single sheets with team details. Over the years they expanded to four, eight and many more pages of team news, articles, cartoons photographs, statistics and, inevitably, adverts.
The cover of the programme displayed is in the ‘home’ colours of Watford FC: gold and black. It features Barry the Hornet, a logo which had just been adopted. Inside the anticipated line-ups are shown, plus the names of the match officials. There is an article on the visiting team, with a slightly outdated photograph of the players.
At the time of this league fixture, the teams were playing in the third division of four that made up the English Football League. Watford were on a poor run of form and lost the match by two goals to one. At the end of the season they were relegated to the fourth division.
For many years matchday programmes were as much of the Saturday afternoon experience as hot pies and standing on the terraces. The Football League no longer requires printed programmes to be produced and sales have dropped as fans increasingly use online resources for information.
There is a huge market for old programmes. One online retailer has over 500,00 in stock. All programmes appreciate in value. A world record price of £35, 250 was set in 2013 for the programme of the 1882 FA Cup Final between Old Etonians and Blackburn Rovers.