Avid Manchester United fan selling more than 2,000 match day programmes spanning 60 years at auction

  • Report by Granada Reports Sports Correspondent Mike Hall

More than 2,000 Manchester United match day programmes spanning more than 60 years are to be auctioned off.

Mike Wolstencroft is selling the huge collection, which includes major events like George Best's debut and the last game before the Munich Air Disaster.

The collection also encompasses some of the biggest moments in world football, from the Busby Babes, Sir Alex Ferguson's first and last matches, and the era-defining Treble win.

I've got nobody to leave them to. I moved house seven years ago and ever since they've been stored in plastic containers in my spare room. I woke up one day and thought that's it they're going.

Mike Wolstencroft
  • The collection includes George Best's first games

Mike purchased his first programme aged just 11 in 1968 - spending one shilling on the Manchester United v Estudiantes of Argentina programme on 16th October.

Now, 53 years on, he owns more than 2,000, collecting, among others, every single home match programme until Sir Alex Ferguson's last match in charge in 2013.

The collection includes historical moments such as the first game Manchester United played following the Munich Air Disaster in 1958.


Programmes in the 2,000 strong collection include:

  • Every single match day programme between 1960 and 2013.

  • Manchester United v Ipswich Town, FA Cup Fourth Round - the last game before the Munich Air Disaster

  • Manchester United v Sheffield Wednesday, FA Cup fifth Round - first home game after the Munich Air Disaster with blank team sheet

  • Munich Air Disaster memorial - forty years on

  • Bobby Charlton's debut game

  • Australian tour 1967

  • European Champion Club final 1968

  • Cup final programmes

  • Testimonial programmes

  • Champions League programmes

The collection includes this programme from George Best's debut for Manchester United in 1963.

Mike rediscovered the programmes, which have been stored in containers for seven years after moving house - but decided it was time to let someone else enjoy them.

My wife said you're not going to get upset are you. I'm bound to get upset, it's a lifetime collection, sorry to see it go. As long as it goes to decent people who will look after them then I'm happy.

Mike Wolstencroft

Mike's collection also includes the first game ever to feature a penalty shootout, Denis Law's testimonial match and the 1968 European Cup Final.

The 162 lots go under the hammer on Thursday 25 February at Charles Taylor Auction House in Salford, and can be viewed here.

  • Matthew Bateman, Director of Charles Taylor Auctioneers

Since giving up his United season ticket, Mike has started watching Salford City. He bought just two programmes so far, but insists he has no plans to start a new collection.

The programmes span 60 years and include some of the biggest moments in Manchester United's history.