It all began at the start of the 2014/2015 season. What am I referring to? Well, as Rhyl FC travelled to Park Hall, not only was it the second home game of the campaign but also the first step on a personal TNS journey.
Without realising it at the time, it was also the beginning of a football memorabilia collection – one that is still ongoing. Most fans of the beautiful game are collectors at various levels.
Your dad takes you to your first match, you get a programme which of course you keep, and before you realise it you have a collection in the making.
Lots of people have a few matchday programmes tucked away somewhere that they occasionally look at as the memories flow. Then on the other hand you’ve got the really serious dedicated collectors.
Some years ago I helped out on a stall at a football memorabilia fayre held at Molineux. People were coming to me asking if I had Workington Town Reserves v Halifax Town Reserves played on September 4 1954 on a Wednesday evening in two inches of snow.
OK, I made the details up, but you get the gist. There are some pretty hardcore memorabilia magpies out there.
My collection though is different in that it’s an accumulation of things gathered due to my own personal involvement in the world of football. It all began at the aforementioned Rhyl game with a humble match sheet.
It was the first time I’d ever had my hands on a line-up page, and due to the one-off appearance (or so I thought at the time) I was making on TNS Radio, it was definitely one to keep.
Before I realised it, the team sheet was joined by a programme, which I got signed by the cover boy. Then all manner of items were added to what was now a proactive collection.
To date I’ve got signed shirts, signed posters from Champions League games and domestic cup finals, press passes, champagne bottles that have been sprayed by the players on the pitch after a trophy win, a letter from the UEFA President congratulating TNS on winning the league title – and much more!
What I love about the collection is that it’s all highly personal – every item carries a memory. From Phil Baker’s entry pass at the Champions League game in San Marino through to Ciss’ Player Of The Round board in the Welsh Cup QFs, they are all treasured and valued.
I wonder what the coming season will throw up in terms of memorabilia? Well, I’m absolutely confident that there will be more amazing additions to my collection. I can’t wait!
Rev’s Ramblings is a weekly blog insight into my involvement with the Welsh champions.
Stewart Bloor, Media & Communications Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org).