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Our Crack Tongue & Groove

programmefreud.jpg What fresh hell is this?

It looks like the end is nigh for the football programme with clubs voting in June on whether the obligation to keep producing them for each and every match should be scrapped. They may as well bin the very heart and soul of the game while they’re on.

First it was The Pink that was crushed in the name of progress (ie no one bought it any more because everyone can get the final results on their phones), then most of the fanzines went online. Now it looks like the oldest printed matter associated with the game – the football programme – is going to be kicked into touch too, and it’s a crying shame.

Sure, programmes are usually full of not-rocking-the-boat clap-trap featuring interviews with star players that are about as hard-hitting as a parent quizzing a child on its first day at school, but they are so much more than vehicles for anodyne chats and a shop window for a club’s commercial interests. For collectors, they record the passage of time, with lives being marked not in years, but seasons.

And, despite their corporate nature, they do throw-up some fabulously surreal features such as the one pictured (right) emblazoned with a cover line that could only be topped by: “James Milner: I’m swapping football for performance art”.

All of this comes on the back of news that the FA are intent in selling off Wembley Stadium to a US businessman who wants to make it the home of NFL franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars. (The Jacksonville Jaguars! If he turned it into a massive Wetherspoons he couldn’t piss on The Home of Football’s legacy any more.)

So farewell the humble programme, another constant in supporters’ lives wrecked forever. (Full disclosure: I’ve never actually bought a programme for 15 years. Have you seen the price of them? I’m not paying five quid for that shit.)