Mention the name Gerald Mortimer to older Derby County fans and it may well bring a warm smile to their faces. Even more so if they recall the glory days of the early 1970s when the Rams were the best team in the land, writes Charles Hanson.
That’s because, for decades, Gerald was the vital link between club and fans - the man who told it like it is, week-in, week-out, thanks to his role as Derby County correspondent for the Derby Telegraph from 1970 to 2002.
Supporters are hungry for news and views on their clubs, always have been. It may be hard for younger fans to grasp but, before the arrival of social media and the internet, your local paper was the main source of all club information.
Consequently, any Rams fan worth their salt avidly lapped up Gerald’s DCFC match reports and queued up to buy the now defunct Green Un, the post-match paper, hot off the presses.
Memories about this came flooding back thanks to the arrival at our saleroom of The Gerald Mortimer Collection. Sadly, Gerald is no longer with us but his impact lives on thanks to his magnificent memorabilia.
Hansons’ football valuer and Rams fan Alistair Lofley was practically pinching himself as he opened each box and found more and more treasures – rare programmes, rare tickets, unique letters. It’s phenomenal.
You may already have read about an original letter Gerald had, signed by all Derby players in 1973 asking for Brian Clough and Peter Taylor’s reinstatement. Attached to it was a statement explaining why there was no going back for Clough. Though unsigned, it appeared to be from former club chairman Sam Longson. Each has as estimate of £600-£800.
Plus, we uncovered a Derby County Directors’ Minutes Book from 1888 – the year the Football League was formed. Its estimate is £1,000-£1,500.
But there’s more, much more. For example, lot 189 is a DCFC fixture list from the 1885-86 season – surely one of the earliest in existence. Its estimate is £100-£150.
Then there’s the menu from the DCFC jubilee supper celebration on October 1, 1934, signed by Steve Bloomer, lot 185, estimate £100-£150.
And who remembers when the Rams crushed Irish team Finn Harps 12-0 in the UEFA Cup in 1976? Gerald kept his press ticket from the second leg, an away game, which Derby won 4-1. It comes with two photos and DCFC travel itinerary, lot 121, estimate £100-£150.
Another highlight is lot 122, an AEK Athens v DCFC programme. The Rams flew to Greece to play the UEFA cup match on October 20, 1976 and Gerald kept the travel itinerary and what has turned out to be a rare programme. The rather flimsy affair is hard to come by because, by all accounts, the programmes were placed on seats on a windy day and many blew away. Estimate £300-£400.
Such is the quality of Gerald’s memorabilia, the low overall estimate for the entire collection is £10,000 and there are more than 100 lots. The auction takes place at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, on Friday August 31, from 10am. Viewing available from 9am on the day and you can bid live through www.the-saleroom.com. For more information, email [email protected] or call Alistair Lofley on 07863 203377. Entries invited for our November 20 Sporting Memorabilia Auction. And don’t forget, Hansons offer free general antiques and collectables valuations on Wednesdays, 5-7pm, Fridays, 10am-4pm, and Saturdays, 9am-noon.