Match tickets - a growing collecting area

Although programmes are a central focus of interest for most collectors, there is a vast range of memorabilia to collect. One only has to take a look in most of the various club megastores that exist to see the range of goods on offer. Yet it is always those items with a close connection to matches that are most sought after. After the official programme, the next closest reminder of the game is the match ticket. This is an area of collecting that has grown in popularity dramatically over the last few years. As a result prices have increased for the rarer items, with the tickets for certain games fetching far more than the programmes!

Today virtually every Liverpool first team match is an all ticket affair. However in years past, apart from all ticket matches such as most finals, the majority of games often only saw tickets issued for certain seating areas. In a lot of cases most of these would have been thrown away after the game making it even harder to obtain these items now. Also, until fairly recently, it was only the seating areas of the grounds that had tickets printed. In stadiums like Anfield the vast majority of those attending would stand and watch the game, meaning that just a few thousand tickets would have been printed.

A good example of the rarity of some tickets comes from Liverpool’s early matches in Europe. Even for the 1964-65 European Cup semi-final, the game was not all ticket. Given the importance of the match, and the fact that it was being played just three days after the club’s first ever FA Cup win, it is amazing to find out that it still was not an all ticket affair with tickets only being issued for the seating areas. Needless to say this has made these first European season home match tickets very rare. So despite 54,082 people attending the semi-final game, the vast majority paid on the gate. As with the laws of demand and supply, connected with the importance of this match, the price for this ticket when it comes up on offers is around £40+.

For this European Cup semi-final first leg, played at home on 4th May Liverpool issued a new style of ticket. This is much larger that those which had been previously produced by the club. It is far more attractive with the club logo and name in the background, and with all the match details on the front.

The next ticket illustrated is appropriately from Liverpool’s first home game in Europe. On September 14th 1964 the visit of Reykjavik opened Liverpool’s illustrious European account. A crowd of 32,597 witnessed the game – the only tickets being issued were to those wanting to reserve seats, making any tickets coming from this match hard to find. The ticket is printed on light pink card and is typical of Liverpool’s ticket issues at this time. A good addition to the match programme in marking an historic occasion in Liverpool’s history.

For the rest of the home games in this European campaign, apart from the semi-final, the tickets took the same form of nearly square cards printed in varying colours.

For following European matches Liverpool continued to issue some very attractive tickets up until the mid 1970s. The typical ticket was fairly large, printed on paper. Again most home games were not all ticket so the vast majority that do exist come from the seating areas.

The example shown here is from the final tie of the 1973 UEFA Cup campaign. This one is very rarely seen as the match initially took place in such wet conditions that it was abandoned after 27 minutes. Given the very thin and flimsy paper that the ticket is printed on few have survived the passage of time in good condition and as a result, when it comes up for sale, it usually fetches more than £100.

In the late 1970s Liverpool went back to issuing tickets printed on light card. Yet for some reason they changed the policy of retaining the ticket stub at the gate to retaining the main proportion of the ticket, leaving the ‘stub’ with the purchaser. And for the 1975-76 season they printed the match tickets on extremely thin paper. An example of this is for the match ticket issued for the club’s next European final, when they met Bruges in the UEFA Cup Final in this season. If anything this ticket is harder to obtain than that of the previous UEFA Cup Final played at Anfield. The reason being not just the very light and flimsy paper, but the supporter just retained the small stub section of the ticket. As can be seen, it must have been very tempting to fold or screw this up into a pocket once entry was gained. Then how many would have retained them after the match? The few that have survived are mainly found inserted into the match programme. I have only ever seen a handful of these come onto the market over the past ten years or so. The latest one fetched well over £100 as big match ticket collectors as well as Liverpool collectors are after it.

It is also interesting to note that the hobby of ticket collecting is much bigger abroad. Whereas we seem to lead in the production and collecting of match programmes in England, it was in Europe that ticket collecting has been the more popular hobby.

The other tickets illustrated include an example from the 1977 European Cup Final in Rome. This is quite a long ticket and most examples have been folded. After all, who at the game thought that over 20 years later such items would be so collectable, fetching well above their original face value! The majority were probably thrown away at the game. One of these in very poor condition, with many creases, fetched £35 at auction recently. If it had of been in mint condition then the price would have been over £100.

The ticket from the 1978 European Cup Final is the easiest of Liverpool’s European final tickets to obtain, mainly because it was played at Wembley and so many home based supporters attended the game and have retained their tickets.

The ticket from the 1981 European Cup Final is an attractive large square ticket printed onto light paper. As a result, most that come up on offer have been folded. As with the 1977 ticket, this one fetches more that the related programme.

For the 1984 final in Rome, the Italian FA once again issued a long rectangular match ticket. This has become increasingly sought after in recent years thanks to the historical significance of the game and its dramatic ending. Two different designs exist for these tickets, one for the standing areas and one for the seating sections. As a price guide, when a ticket from the standing area of the ground came up for sale last month it fetched £103, mainly thanks to the fact that it was in near mint condition – something rarely seen as most are found with folds.

The 1985 European Cup Final saw a large ticket issued onto thin card. Again, due to its size most that come up for sale are creased/folded.

For the UEFA Cup Final in 2001 played in Dortmund, a large sized ticket was issued. Due to it being very recently, and thanks to the fact that most supporters now keep hold of their tickets, it often appears on offers or at auction. Again its condition will dictate the price achieved, but it typically sells for around £10-15. If you are lucky enough to have an unused example then it will go for more.

The most recent European final another large sized ticket was issued. Once again what collectors are after are ideally mint condition tickets – hard to find given how most people store their tickets in pockets or wallets.

So the lesson is, as well as buying the match programme, keep the ticket safe and uncreased. Who knows what it will be worth in years to come.

For more information on Liverpool programmes and memorabilia please send 2 x first class stamps for the latest bulletin of the Liverpool Programme Collectors Club. This contains many articles on past issues and news on current season programmes. The club has been established for over 17 years and exists to promote the enhancement of the hobby and the sharing of information on Liverpool memorabilia between collectors. Keith Stanton, 4 Hillview Gardens, Woolton, Liverpool, L25 7XE (0151 42 86 087).

Copyright - Robin Gowers


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