IT’S the gem in Brian Barwick’s remarkable collection of Liverpool memorabilia which dates back half a century.
The matchday programme from Liverpool’s first ever game at Anfield against Rotherham Town on September 1 1892 sits proudly on his office desk.
“A guy phoned me up who was an antique dealer and said he had a bound copy of Liverpool’s first season programmes and asked if I would be interested,” he said.
“I said yes but could I afford them, probably no. Nobody wanted them as a complete set but I said I would take the first programme and he agreed.
“It cost one penny back in 1892 but it cost me a little bit more than that over 15 years ago.
“My dad John was a police officer on duty on match days when I was young and he would often bring me home a programme, an errant rosette and rattle or a set of away team’s autographs. Inadvertently in the early 60s he started me off on a collecting bug that has never gone away.
“You don’t realise when you are collecting it – then suddenly you think I’ve got three seasons worth of Liverpool home programmes so I better get the fourth and then the fifth and now I’m on to the 55th. I’ve got every home programme going back to the 60s as well as loads of books, autographs, balls and shirts. I’ve got the autographs of the 1914 Cup final team.
“I’ve never subscribed to anything – part of the thrill is in the hunt. I’m short of about five away programmes since about 1960 but I will get them.
“It probably makes me a king size anorak but I don’t see it that way. It’s strange because over time I ended up being in the programmes myself – like writing the foreword for the 2006 FA Cup final programme.”