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32 Programmes by Dave Roberts

Release date: 02nd August, 2011
Publisher: Bantam Press

List Price: £12.99
Our Price: £6.49
You Save: £6.5 (50%)
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Like many young boys, Dave Roberts was an avid collector-cum-hoarder of various items - everything from fossils to marbles - though eventually he realised his true love was football programmes.

Having started his collection early (he attended his first match in September 1964), Dave gradually assembled more than 1,100 different programmes, a voluminous pile which afforded him the opportunity to re-live games and recall specific milestones as he grew up.

As they reach middle age, most blokes lucky enough to have retained the equivalent of almost 50 years' worth of football programmes would tend to declare, wrap them in plastic and find them a permanent space in the loft. Not Dave Roberts.

When he and his wife decided to move to the US, he understood - mistakenly - that his valuable anthology of football history would, naturally, be making the journey too. But Mrs R had other ideas and so Dave was forced to reduce his collection from 1,134 to just 31 - enough to fit into a Tupperware box.

This hugely enjoyable, occasionally poignant, book tells how the author must jettison more than 1,100 individual memories and leave behind an integral part of his footballing recollections. Women can be so cruel - or practical, depending upon your point of view.

Dave Roberts' wonderful series of tales explain why every one of the 31 programmes made it into the box; each is infused with a mixture of touching reminiscence or laugh-out-loud anecdote. For anyone who has ever started a football programme collection only to lapse after a few seasons, it's easy to understand why it was so difficult for Dave to leave such a huge part of himself behind as he headed west.

But why is his book called 32 Programmes?

It transpires that Dave surreptitiously added one since moving: "which means more to me than any other", he writes.

It would be criminal to reveal which of the 32 that is, but it's well worth reading this excellent book to discover their identity and to find out what happened to the 'other' 1,100 programmes.


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