The announcement struck fear into the hearts of anoraks, collectors and traditionalists everywhere.
But Sheffield United have confirmed they will continue to publish a matchday programme despite the EFL’s decision to make them non-mandatory for member clubs.
“Irrespective of the EFL vote, our plan for the foreseeable future is to continue to print programmes for Sheffield United fans and visiting supporters,” Kevin Cookson, United’s media officer and UTB editor for the past ten years, said. “Despite the changing landscape with regards to instant news and social media, our official matchday programme, UTB, continues to be popular amongst Blades fans.”
United print over 100,000 copies of UTB a season and, after pegging its cover price at £3, reported a near 15 per cent increase in sales. The picture elsewhere, however, is much more bleak with the EFL using its annual general meeting earlier this month to confirm Championship, League One and League Two sides are no longer obliged to produce them. Many had complained a combination of declining interest and escalating costs meant programmes were no longer viable.
Revealing United will also introduce a programme for its ladies team, Cookson added: “At Bramall Lane, we value the matchday programme as part of the whole experience for Unitedites and the feedback we get is good.
“In addition, we are adding a programme for the ladies team next season as we embark on the FA Women’s Championship.”