1 Shilling | Football programme design evolution

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Costing barely one shilling, or five pence, the match day programme was a must for fans, especially from the mid 1960s when it went through a design revamp across the country, and the world, inspired by a whole new fresh approach.

QPR. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
QPR 2-1 BRADFORD CITY / League Cup 2nd Rd 1st Leg / 28th August 1979

Now graphic designer and football fan Matthew Caldwell, along with co compiler Alan Dein, has put together a collection of the very best eye catching programmes. Called 1 Shilling, it is a comprehensive look at the football programme design revolution, from 1965 to 1985, and Caldwell’s own father’s programme collection was the catalyst that got the project up and running.

Port Vale. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
PORT VALE 1-1 HALIFAX TOWN / 13th April 1974

“Holding the programmes in my hand, I could almost hear the chants, smell the bovril and see the soggy goal mouths.”

Matthew Caldwell
1 Shilling
COVENTRY CITY vs MAN UTD / 13th April 1971

“1 Shilling began four years ago,” said Caldwell. “I took a look through my dad’s vast programme collection, dating back to the late 60s and was blown away by the effortlessly beautiful design that graced the pages. 

“They were like little budget time capsules. The match reports, line ups and ads for local boozers took me back to a romantic era of football which I had only heard stories about from my dad. 

“Holding the programmes in my hand, I could almost hear the chants, smell the bovril and see the soggy goal mouths. I started to document these bits of paper and shortly after began collecting my own, browsing the depths of eBay and visiting programme fairs around London to find them.”

After getting some traction on social media and online blogs, 1 Shilling caught the attention of Mark Elvin, whose late father, John Elvin, was arguably the most important of this new wave of programme design artists.

“He designed match day magazines for West Brom, Coventry and Chelsea,” explained Caldwell, “and single handedly kickstarted a programme design revolution which reverberated around almost every club in the UK during the 70s. Now his son was getting in touch with me to share all of John’s original workings! 

Newcastle United. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
NEWCASTLE UNITED 3-0 LEEDS UNITED / 21st December 1974 / Division 1

“A couple of years down the line, and to Mark’s delight, we were able to get an entire season of John’s creations into the Design Museum for a recent exhibition. This was one of the best moments in the 1 Shilling journey to date – maybe even more special than receiving the first copy of the book that we published!”

Originally from Stratford Upon Avon, and born into a family of Aston Villa fans, Caldwell now lives in Bath but works for London design studio DixonBaxi where his own design expertise played a key part in a recent rebranding revamp for Everton.

“We work on all kinds of projects, predominantly focussed around sport, entertainment and broadcast design,” he said.

“We recently worked on the rebrand for Everton FC, creating a graphic system around the Prince Rupert’s Tower, which sits at the heart of The Toffees’ crest. It was a popular rebrand with fans – unlike many club rebrands we made a point of separating ‘branding a football club’ from ‘replacing the crest.”

He has his own favourite from the 1 Shilling compilation, Coventry City versus Bayern Munich from November 1970. 

Coventry. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
COVENTRY 2-1 BAYERN MÜNCHEN / European Fairs Cup, 2nd Round, Second Leg / 3rd November 1970

“It’s a John Elvin classic,” he enthused, “stunningly designed throughout, but the best part is the front cover. An ominous silhouette of the late Gerd Müller lining up a shot takes centre stage over the striking title, ‘EUROPEAN SKY BLUE’. 

“My Dad’s Villa vs Derby programme from 1969 also means a lot to me. It is his earliest programme from his collection and the ‘1/-’ on the cover became our logo. 

Aston Villa. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
ASTON VILLA 0-1 DERBY COUNTY / 29th March 1969
Oxford United. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
OXFORD UNITED 0-3 MILLWALL / 1st December 1973 – Postponed to 26th January 1974 / Football League Division 2
Manchester United. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-4 MANCHESTER CITY / December 12th 1970
Cover. 1 Shilling. Football programmes
1 Shilling.
1 Shilling. Football programmes
Football programme design evolution.
Southend United. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
SOUTHEND UNITED 1-0 BLACKBURN ROVERS / EFL DIV 3 / 24th February 1973
Wolverhampton Wanderers. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
WOLVES 1-3 EVERTON / January 6th 1968 / EFL Div 1

I just love the release. I love seeing massive middle aged blokes jumping for joy and hugging the nearest human. I love joining in the chants and taunting the fans of the big clubs who thought they’d walk all over us. Literally, nothing comes close to football.”

Matthew Caldwell
Accies. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
HAMILTON ACADEMICAL 0-2 BERWICK RANGERS / 17th April 1971 / SFL2
1 Shilling
C.F.BARCELONA vs SEVILLA FC / 3rd September 1961

“One last design that comes to mind is a Barcelona program from the early 60s which was gifted to me by my co-author, Alan. It features a three dots, one blue, one red and one with a player who’s chiselled jawline and haircut make him look like a matador. 

“Es magnifico!”

Caldwell has been a Villa fan for 28 years, with Scandinavian centre-backs Olof Melberg and Martin Laursen making a lasting impression.

The first game he recalls going to was Villa against Watford in February 2000. 

“We won 4-0,” he said, “but apparently I spent most of the game playing under the seat and inspecting the chewing gum. I always remember a few of the wonder strikes from Thomas Hitzlsperger, Ron Vlaar and Stiliyan Petrov. The famous Paul Merson chip vs Everton is a goal I have branded into my memory too.”

There are other memories, not so good. “The year Villa relegated Coventry City into the Championship was the game I first heard my Dad swear,” he said. “I was then told off for copying him at an away day at Bolton, aged 10.”

Brighton & Hove Albion. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 2-1 CHESTERFIELD / 31st August 1974
Stoke City. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
STOKE CITY 3-2 FULHAM / 4th December 1965
Rochdale. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
ROCHDALE 2-0 SOUTHPORT / 28th February 1976 
Fulham. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
FULHAM 1-1 NOTTS COUNTY / 24th September 1985 / Milk Cup Rd.2 Leg 1
Wolverhampton Wanderers . 1 Schilling. Football programmes
WOLVES 2-2 IPSWICH TOWN / 26th February 1972

Caldwell savours the fact football is a universal topic of conversation. 

“Talking about football has led me to meet so many amazing people and find life long friends, “he said. “On top of this, supporting a club, particularly on a regular basis gives you a real sense of identity and belonging. 

“It’s not often you go to a district of Birmingham and know that there are 35,000 people around you who have your back! Ultimately I just love the release, I love seeing massive middle aged blokes jumping for joy and hugging the nearest human. I love joining in the chants and taunting the fans of the big clubs who thought they’d walk all over us. Literally, nothing comes close to football.”

All profits from book sales go to the Huntington’s Disease Association, a national charity supporting anyone who is affected by Huntington’s Disease. It was Huntington’s Disease that claimed the life of pioneer programme designer John Elvin at the age of just 53. Meanwhile Caldwell and Dein have further plans for an exhibition on the work of John Elvin, along with a radio series where they meet other designers from that era. 

Caldwell describes it as the “golden age” of programme design, and his 1 Shilling book, packed with front pages and anecdotes, has all the hallmarks of a compilation that will resonate with fans everywhere.

Luton Town. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
LUTON TOWN 0-1 CARLISLE UNITED / 25th November 1972
Mexico 79. 1 Schilling. Football programmes
OFFICIAL MEXICO 1970 FIFA WORLD CUP PROGRAMME. BRAZIL 1970 WORLD CUP WINNERS

If you enjoyed that, you may also like Apocalyptic football stadiums, where Alex Mather discovers the cold, harsh reality of football stadiums without the fans. 

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1 Shilling. Football programmes

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