When you have 16,500 Huddersfield Town programmes stretching back to 1911 it’s clear you are an avid collector and a serious supporter.
Graham Clark has travelled the length and breadth of the nation following the Terriers. In doing so he has picked up a programme at every ground in the country. He has seen Town play in all four divisions – and be dumped out of all the various cup competitions too!
Graham’s amazing collection of programmes has now helped to form the basis of a new heritage website for Huddersfield Town, a partnership with the Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association, Huddersfield Town Foundation and local digital printing firm Microform. The Huddersfield Town Heritage Project can be found HERE.
Graham said: “I started collecting programmes when I was 11 in 1964. I’d started watching Town in 1957 and although I’d got a programme from each home game I went to, I never thought about saving them. So obviously I had to re-buy these when I got the collecting bug!
“My collection includes over 30 pre-war programmes, including all five FA Cup Finals – two originals from 1930 and 1938 and three replicas 1920, 1922 and 1928.
“I also have three original FA Cup semi-finals – 1928, 1938 and 1939. The 1928 semi against Sheffield United at Old Trafford is my most valuable programme. A copy of this sold just before the millennium for £1,600. I bought my copy from the British Programme Collectors’ Club in the mid-1970s for just £8.
“Its value rose with three sets of fans bidding for it at auction. Both Town and Sheffield United fans were joined by the hoards of Man Utd fans because it was played at Old Trafford. I have it insured as a single item, separate from my collection which is also insured.
“My oldest programme is the Chelsea v Town issue from the 1911-12 season, I acquired that back in the 70s as well for £10.
“I have every Town programme – home and away – going back to season 1952-53 where I have just two missing from that season. I’m just 15 home and 16 away programmes missing back to World War Two. My collection will reach 16,500 during the coming season.”
Graham has always believed history matters and especially the history of Huddersfield Town. Having spent thousands of pounds down the years, programme collecting is not about the money but the memory each stained page reveals.
On how Graham got involved with Microform, he said: “The heritage project from my perspective began when at a Patrons meeting in the promotion season (2016-17). Neil Bowker of Microform Imaging was present and asked if anyone had a programme from the Norwich away game in season 1960-61. Town were due there the following Friday after the meeting.
“I told him I had one and after we’d had a conversation about programmes and the heritage site, the plan was set up to scan every single Town programme I had in my collection by Microform Imaging.
“So what started in December 2016 is still ongoing and will continue. We are in a position where we are almost up-to-date with my programmes, scanning-wise. There was a problem with the scanning of season 1961-62 which is being re-scanned shortly, you’ll notice that season missing on the heritage site, and Microform are currently scanning Town’s away programmes for last season’s behind closed doors games.
“Only four clubs failed to print programmes last season – Derby, Wycombe, Sheffield Wednesday and Reading. I managed to get all the programmes which were issued.”
Graham will continue to collect his programmes and Microform will continue to scan them.
As well as Graham’s unbelievable collection there are lots more things on the heritage site too.
The website is an open access archive of a 110 years’ worth of material from Town’s long and storied past.
The project itself was built up from the rubble of the 2003 crisis when the club fell into administration and was saved by the fans so it didn’t go into liquidation.
The website is aimed at Town fans, but the Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association hope that it will be a useful resource for journalists, historians, schoolteachers, university lecturers, students of all ages, and the Foundation’s Sporting Memories sessions, too.
In the future the plan is to add more content (including more programmes from the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s), host regular events, develop educational assets, and produce video documentaries. In other words, the website is very much the beginning of the Heritage Project, not the end.
A HTSA spokesman said: “This has been a long time coming, and it wouldn’t have been possible without those who donated their hard-earned money to save the club from oblivion in 2003.
“In terms of the workload, we are indebted to the dedication and determination of a handful of people.
“It’s great for fans young and old to see the history, from the well known to the relatively obscure, brought to life.
“The heritage site captures the rich football history of Town and how the game and the town have both changed.”