Steve Hossack: A good clearout can help Rovers

Barry Watson
Barry Watson

Have you got a few old Doncaster Rovers’ programmes knocking about the house?

If so Barry Watson would like to hear from you.

The Supporters’ Club can turn your old Rovers’ programmes, be they home or away, into cash which is then used to purchase items such as machinery to help the club’s ground staff.

But, like a lot of things, sales have been hit by the recession.

“A couple of years ago we were clearing £300 a game but it is often less than half that figure now,” said Barry, who has the best Doncaster collection in the country.

At any one time the Supporters’ Club have between 6-7,000 programmes for sale at their shop at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“We have a pigeon hole for every team from A to Z as well as for Rovers programmes in seasons dating back to 1962,” said Barry.

“People come into the shop on a match day and we charge 50p for a programme from another club and a £1 for a Rovers’ programme.

“A lot of people didn’t buy last season’s programmes on match days because they cost £3 but buy them this season.

“One guy came in earlier this season and bought 37 2012-13 programmes; it would have cost him over £100 had he bought them last season.

“We had a group of lads wanting some Bolton programmes, which we had, but they weren’t old ones from the 50s.

“One of them spent £40 on various items.

“He told me he buys one programme per club per season and wanted some from this season and recent seasons.”

He added: “Some people will offer to sell us old programmes but it all depends on what they are asking for them because we haven’t got a great deal of money to play with.

“What I sometimes do is tell them what they are worth but that all we can afford to pay them is roughly around half of that figure because we want to make a profit on them.

“We also sell special programmes in return for a donation.”

Barry says that e-Bay has also had a negative impact on donations.

“Whereas in the past if, for example, someone’s elderly relative had died and they had a lot of old programmes they’d donate them to us, now they’ll often try and sell them on these auction sites,” he said.

That’s just one reason why Barry was grateful when I recently handed him around 200 programmes I had collected over the years during my time reporting on the Rovers, including a number from the Conference era.