Shropshire Star

Rare programme from postponed Wolves tie goes under hammer

A rare programme from a match between Wolves and Manchester United postponed because of the Munich Air Disaster is expected to fetch up to £9,000 at auction.


The extremely limited edition, much sought after item will go under the hammer tomorrow at Graham Budd auctions in Northamptonshire.

It is one of just a small number of programmes printed for the Division One match, which was scheduled to take place at Old Trafford on February 8, 1958 but then postponed when the plane carrying United’s team back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade crashed in Munich on February 6, killing 23 people including players, support staff and journalists. Dudley’s Duncan Edwards was among those killed.

Print deadlines meant the programme had already gone into production and even carried a brief report of the 3-3 draw in Belgrade, which saw Matt Busby’s team progress to the European Cup semi-finals.

After news of the disaster broke the printers, C. Nicholls, were ordered to cease production and destroy any programmes which had come off the presses.

A very small number of progammes survived, thought to be either printer’s proofs or souvenirs kept by staff, with experts believing there may only be five in existence.

The scarcity factor and the deep significance of the occasion has subsequently made it one of the most treasured and valuable football programmes of the post-war era. A copy previously sold for £6,200 when auctioned in 2011. Tomorrow’s item is valued at between £7,000 and £9,000.

The programme is part of what Graham Budd claim to be one of the biggest collections of United memorabilia in a generation to go under the hammer, amassed over 25 years by lifelong fan, Paul Atkinson.

Other items include Bill Foulkes’ 1968 European Cup winners medal, a Bobby Charlton shirt from 1965 and kit worn by modern stars including David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo. The sale collection is estimated at more than £500,000.