Tuktuk Day 102

QPR …again

If you saw yesterday’s blog, you will see that I was getting excited about the programme fair at QPR’s Loftus Rd this week. The organiser, Martin Percival, kindly got in touch and supplied me some background information! An interesting history! He also made me aware of a blog I had never seen. Enjoy!

Martin is providing the answers (a)

Q. How did the QPR Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair come about? Has anything like this taken place previously?

A. I attended the two previous fairs held at Loftus Road – they were both a very long time ago now! The May 1986 fair was organised by long time Rangers fan and collector Martin Botwright plus Daphne Biggs of the Official Supporters Club. It took place in the old Players Lounge in the South Africa Road stand. The previous one, in September 1981, was held in the then newly built club shop. The one time Rangers Club Director, Tony Williamson, was involved in that event’s organisation together with Daphne. 

Both events were a lot of fun. I met many fellow Rangers collectors at them, many of whom are still good friends. Fairs are a great way of bringing people with a common interest together. So I suggested the idea of a fair at the Forevers Rs planning meeting in January. Fortunately the club were really receptive and supportive of the idea – they have helped enormously with publicising it. 

Q. Why hold it in the Forever Rs bar?

The Forever Rs bar was launched in the summer of 2023 and has been a big success. People love all of the memorabilia that has been added to the bar over the last few months. Much of this has been very kindly donated by fans. So it’s the obvious venue for an event like this. It’s light and bright and has flat access for table holders. It’ll also be an opportunity for some of the fans attending to see the bar for the first time, because on match days it’s only accessible to fans with Upper and Lower Loft tickets. Any profits made will go to the Forever Rs funds.

Q. What are those funds used for?

A. They help to cover some of the costs of transportation and accommodation for the ex players and their families when they come back to Loftus Road. So many past players are from an era when they were not earning big money from the game, so they really do appreciate a bit of help with the costs of visiting Rangers again. 

Q. What’s the most collectable football related type of memorabilia nowadays?

A. You name it, someone collects it! When I started collecting as a 10 year old kid in 1973, it was mostly programmes for club sides, big match programmes like the FA Cup final and internationals. Scarfs, badges, pennants and rosettes were popular too. Many people nowadays wouldn’t even know what a pennant or a rosette is! 

Collecting has expanded and it’s almost anything and everything now. Old match tickets are very popular, shirts are massive, Subbuteo teams, old magazines, handbooks, photos, cards, stickers, fanzines  – there’s collectors for almost everything.

Q. Will all of those collectables be on sale on 21 April?

A. I certainly hope so. I have done my best to attract a wide variety of dealers. All being well there will be something to interest everyone.

Q. How has the football memorabilia collecting hobby changed? I suspect that the internet has been probably the biggest change?

A. Yes – the launch of eBay in the late 1990s meant that that much collecting moved online. Nowadays the really rare items, especially pre war items, like player’s shirts and medals, are typically sold at online auctions or at very specialist in person auctions. 

Q. Going back 50 years to when you started collecting, where did people typically find programmes? 

A. Dealers catalogues and attending fairs were how most people built up their collections before the dawn of the internet, plus club shops of course. Many club shops sold programmes, especially at non league clubs. Wycombe Wanderers and Hayes, amongst others, had really good club shops. Rangers even had a specialist programme shop in addition to the club souvenir shop. In the early 1970s it was located underneath the South Africa Road stand, before it moved round to the Ellerslie Road stand in the mid 1970s. Later on, in the mid to late 1980s, Daphne Biggs used to sell old programmes plus recent away programmes from the Pools Office next door to the box office.

I don’t know when or where the first specialist programme fair took place, but my first one was the National Programme Fair at the Russell Square hotel back in May 1975. I was thrilled to find older pre 1970s programmes. It’s hard to believe, but they were not too easy to find at that time. Getting a copy of the 1967 League Cup Final programme was a huge thrill. It was actually quite hard to find then!

Q. How did you build up your own collection?

A. My first home match was v Coventry City in November 1973. As we were leaving the ground my brother and I spotted the programme shop under the old South Africa Road terrace. We asked if we could go in there. It was like Aladdin’s Cave! Thousands of old Rs programmes from the previous 5 seasons with the chequered cover design pioneered by the club secretary Ron Phillips. 

 What we didn’t realise at the time was that my Dad was a collector. He had kept all of his programmes and handbooks from November 1945, when he returned home from Army service. A few months later I discovered the huge box of them in the loft!! He encouraged both my brother and I in our collecting. Unfortunately almost all of his collection from 1926 to 1939 were thrown out during the war. Fortunately though his 1935/6 Supporters Club badge did survive – the very first season of the Official Supporters Club. It’s the badge that I treasure the most. 

So my collection is essentially a mixture of my Dad’s programmes from 1945 onwards plus everything that I collected from 1973 onwards. It’s very comprehensive from 1945 to 2000.  

Q. So who is going to be selling at the fair?

A. We have a very good mixture of dealers, book authors plus a few Rangers fans who will also be selling. Andy Evans is also having a Community Trust table. Michael Wale has also very kindly offered to draw the winning raffle ticket for a prize donated by Rs fan and collector Nick Guoth. The whole event is shaping up well. It’s been a great team effort.

So far we have confirmed;

  • The book authors and Rangers fans Ray Eaton and Francis Peacock, who will both be selling their really well written recently published Rs books. 
  • Fan wise we have Martin Botwright who has an amazing collection and who used to do a lot of fair work with Brentside Programmes back in the 1980s and 90s. 
  • The main dealer is Dorian Taylor. Dorian runs DG Taylor programmes and he’s a Rangers fan, a collector and also a specialist Rangers dealer.
  • In terms of badges, Les Easterbrook who has an excellent selection of badges. As with everyone else attending, Les has been a huge help in spreading the word about the event as well as sharing his advice and tips for the organisation. 
  • Lee Hermitage of North West Middlesex Football Programmes and Memorabilia will be attending and will mainly be bringing old classic football magazines. Lee used to run the shop at Hayes – probably the very best in the country 15 years ago in the days before Hayes sold their old Church Road ground. 
  • Richard Letts – Corner Programmes.
  • Terry O’Neill – Terry’s Football Memorabilia specialising in programmes, books, magazines and cards.
  • Tom Roe – a variety of Football Memorabilia
  • Elmo Books – Emil and Karen specialising in football books 
  • Mark Barnes – Welling Collectables, Mark mainly specialises in football shirts 

    You can find the entire interview here

Everybody will know that I have a passion for books and football. I also have a passion for chess and travel. Let’s stick to QPR plus books today! Here is an excerpt form a recent QPR newsletter.

“AS PART of our work on environmental sustainability, QPR is proudly supporting the Children’s Book Project – and is encouraging R’s fans to do the same.

Across London and the UK, one in four disadvantaged children own fewer than 10 books, while one in eight have none at all.  

This has an impact not only on these children’s academic outcomes but also on their wellbeing, emotional development and sense of themselves as a reader.

The Children’s Book Project directly tackles this ‘book gap’ and gifts donated books to targeted communities across the capital.  

Over 500 schools, community groups, women’s groups and prisons nationwide put on book gifting events at which children are invited to choose a book to take home and keep.

The charity expects to gift upwards of 350,000 books this year.

And this is where YOU can help.

We are asking supporters to show their backing by donating any unwanted books they may have. These can be left at Main Reception at MATRADE Loftus Road where a drop-off point will be in place from 10am-5pm.

Let’s do our bit and help disadvantaged children across London and the UK.

To learn more about the Children’s Book Project, click HERE.

Anyway, I thought this was an absolutely fantastic initiative and I am appalled that so many children have so few books. I was brought up with books from a very early age and I still have a huge collection. I have been selling them off to raise funds for Prostate Cancer but still have hundreds to go. So, I am now in touch with the London Book Project and I am thinking of setting myself a target of donating 1,000 books in the next twelve months. It’s early days in the thought process but you heard it here first! The trouble with targets is that before you start with no history or stats to work on then any number is just a dream figure. Perhaps I can only get 500! Perhaps 1,000 is a ridiculous goal. Perhaps I can do 1,000 before lunch. I don’t know but I DO know that I will get something in writing in the next few days and commit to it! “


…and in the spirit of trying to help people, this is from a close friend in Spain. Benalmadena is a town directly on the Costa del Sol between Malaga and Fuengirola. In fact, it’s literally next door to the more famous Torremolinos. If you are over there please do feel free to say “hola.”

Benalmadena Ladiews Walking Football

Benalmadena Ladies Walking Football Club unveil new strip and welcome new players

Benalmadena Ladies Walking Football Club was formed in November 2020, by Cath John. She was asked to form a ladies’ team to join an established men’s team for a charity match to raise money for a close friend with Motor Neurone Disease. The charity match was such a success that the club was officially formed a few months later.

They now have 25 players and 15 social members and welcome new players to join their growing club. There’s no need to have played before and everyone is welcome. Some of their highlights have been winning the Competa Tournament last May and players representing Spain Ladies Walking football in the international tournaments in Morocco and in France this year.
They are sponsored by Specsavers Ópticas in Fuengirola, who has been sponsoring them since October 2023. The store came on board as they have two employees in the team, and they love to support developing sports in the local community. The club unveiled a new kit earlier this year and are looking forward to their tour to Portugal in May and hosting a tournament in Benalmadena in November 2024.

Cath John explains how the game works, “Walking football is different to regular football in that you can’t run, and you can only have three touches before you pass. This makes it much more skilful than you realise, with the weight and accuracy of the pass being very important.

I am very proud of our club. We are a group of women who are here to support each other, even though we have very different backgrounds and personalities, and we give back to the community through raising money for the children’s cancer charity AVOI. Thanks to our sponsors Specsavers Ópticas Fuengirola for their support and we look forward to welcoming any new ladies who would like to come and give walking football a try this year.”

Team member Emma Thorne Lees adds, “I am proud of my team as we are such a mixed and unique bunch of individuals. Everyone is welcome and accepted as part of the group. We all love to play, but also don’t take ourselves too seriously and have good fun in the process!”

If you would like to find out more about playing for the Benalmadena Ladies Walking Football Club, contact them on playcation1{at}gmail.com or call 617 612 361. Find out more about Specsavers Ópticas at www.specsavers.es


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