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Why Macclesfield Town fans who hold on to their matchday programmes could be sitting on a fortune

Picture Caption: Alistair Lofley with Macclesfield Town programmes

Macclesfield Town fans are being urged to dig out their old matchday programmes to see if they’re sitting on a fortune by a man who has 100,000 of them.

And you can find out if you own a winner this month because football programmes expert Alistair Lofley is holding a free valuations event at the Moss Rose Stadium on Saturday, January 27, from 10.30am-2.30pm.

Silkmen supporters who have thrown hundreds of programmes away may be left kicking themselves when they discover just how much some programmes are worth today.

Because if it’s rare, unusual or sought after, it can fetch thousands of pounds, according to Alistair, 53, a lifelong collector turned dealer who rents out four storage units to house his vast collection.

For example, in 2013, a programme from the 1882 FA Cup final sold at auction for £35,250, and a 1924 cup final programme is now worth £6,500. But you don’t have to go that far back to be sitting on a winner.

And, thanks to Alistair, the people of Macclesfield can now buy and sell football programmes to fellow fans across the country and the world.

That’s because he’s ‘signed’ for Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire. Together, they have launched specialist football auctions to feed the country’s love for its national sport.

Charles Hanson said: “Football is universally loved and, thanks to the fact that buyers can bid with us online as well as in our saleroom, we can reach supporters all over the world.”

Entries are open for Hansons’ Sporting Memorabilia Auction on February 22 and Alistair hopes Macclesfield fans will come out in force with classic items.

As well as programmes, match-worn shirts, ticket stubs from important games and rare autographs can be valuable.

He said: “One of the best finds I ever made was in 1990. I was invited round to a house and the owner pulled out an old suitcase packed full of programmes.

“Among them was a 1932 Arsenal v Newcastle FA Cup final programme, a 1938 England v Scotland programme and another from a Scotland v England game in 1937. There was also a 1936 FA Cup semi-final programme. They’d all been kept by his grandad.

Alistair was momentarily dumbstruck. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. They were in such mint condition I thought they might not be genuine. I explained that might be the case and offered him £120 for the lot, which he was happy with.

“But they turned out to be the real thing. I sold them two days later for £950. If I’d hung on to them they would be worth £25,000 now.”

Alistair, a Derby man who gave up a job in the Parks Department at Derby City Council due to a back injury, is now focusing on his love for football memorabilia.

“Many people may have a rare football programme without realising it,” he said. “Rarity value is important. For example, in the 1990-91 season Derby played Liverpool and Liverpool was spelt with three ‘o’s on the front cover. That’s sought after.

“They stopped the presses when they realised the mistake but there are 40 copies in existence.

“European and England matchday programmes can be valuable, too.

“Money is no object if people want a programme. There are buyers all over world and I have sold to 27 different countries. The market is quite buoyant.”

Alistair points out that younger fans may not realise how key football programmes were before the internet was unleashed on the world.

“When I was watching football as a boy in the late 1960s and 1970s there were no smart phones, no laptops. All we had was the football programme,” said Alistair.

“I love football programmes because they are all so different. Every club had a different design and way of doing things. When you pick one up, they bring back so many memories of a particular match, era or players.”

Items can be consigned to the Sporting Memorabilia Auction at Hansons Auctioneers, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, until February 2. Alistair will carry out free valuations at Macclesfield Town’s Moss Rose Stadium, London Road, Macclesfield SK11 7SP, on January 27, from 10.30am-2.30pm. To find out more, call Alistair on 07863 203377.