Manchester news Manchester United superfan selling off his incredible memorabilia collection Manchester united news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Thousands of match programmes are part of the vast collection to be put up for auction later this week
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! The date was 16 October, 1968. More than 60,000 people had crammed into Old Trafford to watch Manchester United play Estudiantes in the second leg of the Intercontinental Cup. It was here where Salford lad Mike Wolstencroft, then aged 11, bought his first ever matchday programme, sparking a hobby that would span decades. From the late 60s up until Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, Mike collected a United programme at each home game, eventually accumulating thousands of them. But the ‘piece of history’ is set to be auctioned off next week as the Manchester United superfan puts his lifetime collection of match programmes and memorabilia up for sale. Just a few examples of the programmes for sale during the auction (Image: Charles Taylor) As he got more serious about collecting, Mike was soon seeking out and obtaining programmes from the 1950s and 1940s from family and friends. Now aged 63, his stockpile includes programmes detailing decades of the club’s history, including the magazine from 19th February 1958, the first home game following the Munich air disaster. There’s the tribute programme to Sir Alex Ferguson as the club became Premier League champions for the thirteenth time in 2012/13. And it even includes a folder with programmes detailing every single player in the 1968 European Cup winning team, featuring their home debut, the last game they played for United, plus their testimonial if they were granted one. Every programme from 1960 until 1990 even has its match token intact. Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here “When I decided to start buying programmes in the 1960s I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice if I could get them all together and put in the ones that are missing,” Mike told the Manchester Evening News. With the advent of the internet he was able to search online, and make up the few gaps in the seasons where he was on shift at work. Part of the collection also includes rival teams’ programmes, which came after he got into the habit of programme collecting. “I started turning into a proper collector and was buying programmes from other teams. I got a bit carried away with it and was spending a bit too much money on doing it so decided to stop but I’ve got a fair few of them in there,” he explained. For Mike, adding to his collection was partly a hobby, and partly a labour of love to the team he has followed all his life. Mike's programmes will be sold at an online auction on Thursday 25th February (Image: Charles Taylor) Asked for some of his fondest memories of following the team, he quips: “Where do I start?” “The FA Cup semi final against Oldham - that was a brilliant game,” he said. “The Wayne Rooney overhead kick against City. “Beating Barcelona 3-0 at Old Trafford in revenge for a loss at an away game. That was superb. “David Beckham’s free kick goal from the halfway line. It’s endless.” Mike’s hobby of collecting every programme finished when Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign as manager came to an end in 2013, as season ticket prices continued to increase. The matchday programme of the first home game after the Munich disaster (Image: Charles Taylor) A Salford lad through and through, before the pandemic he started to go and watch Salford City games with his friends instead. “When I first got my season ticket it cost about £325. I got it from a friend who was emigrating to Australia and just kept renewing and renewing it,” Mike explained. “When United offered the amnesty on changing the names I put my own name on it, but the price kept going up and up. “The final straw was when we were coming to the end of Alex Ferguson’s season and I got a letter saying it was going up another £200 to £900 and that was just for Premier League games, with cup games being extra on top. “I thought it would cost me a fortune and I was looking to retire so I thought it was best to stop. “I had a funny feeling that United wouldn’t do anything after Alex Ferguson retired and to build another team they would struggle.
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. “To be perfectly honest it winds me up - we’ve played some c**p football, the defence we’ve got is a shambles. “I won’t name them but some players don’t deserve to wear the red shirt. “I’ve seen George Best play, Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law, I’ve seen all of them play and I look back and think some of the players here now baffle me.” Despite spending much of his life building up this unique collection, Mike insists it’s the right time to pass them on to the next generation of fans. As he doesn’t have any family members to pass the programmes on to, he’s decided to put them up for auction - and hopes the right people will come forward and bid. “I moved house about seven years ago and I put the collection in some plastic containers - they’ve been sitting in their boxes in the spare room ever since,” he said.
Boxes upon boxes of memorabilia up for sale this week
(Image: Charles Taylor)
“I was sat there one day and talking to my mates and said I was going to get rid of these programmes as I have no one to pass them on to. “My wife said to me ‘I hope you’re not making a mistake, you’re not going to get upset about it are you’, and I said I’ll probably be a bit upset as it’s a lifetime collection but as long as it goes to good people who will look after them it’s fine by me.” While in an ideal world the collection would be passed on all at once to one United fan as passionate as him, Mike says he’s realistic about the sale which is being done in multiple lots. “It would be nice if somebody just turned around and said ‘I’ll give you this much for that lot’ but it’s not going to happen,” he said. “I should imagine I’m going to get a few programme collectors looking at them. “It’s going to be nice just to see where they go. Hopefully they’ll go to good people - it will be nice. “As long as they make someone happy, I’m happy.”
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The programmes will be sold at an online auction on Thursday 25th February, through local auctioneers Charles Taylor. Matthew Bateman, Director and Auctioneer at the firm, said: 'We're absolutely delighted that Mike has asked us to sell his very special Man Utd programme collection. “The team at Charles Taylor are all staunch United supporters so it's an absolute honour to bring this collection to sale, right here in Salford, just a stone's throw away from Old Trafford. “We've got plenty of experience in the sale of sporting memorabilia - most recently, in October of last year, we had the pleasure of auctioning (what we believe to be) the largest collection of Man United pin badges in existence. We're certain we'll do this unique collection justice. “We'd love them to go to someone who can treasure and enjoy them just as much as Mike has - so we really want to encourage anyone with a passion for United to get registered to bid.”
An advert for the Manchester Evening News in a 1968 matchday programme
(Image: Charles Taylor)
Mike is urging successful bidders to take care of the collection that has taken decades to put together, but hopes there’ll be plenty of interest in the lots. After all, they aren’t just a slice of United’s history - but of his as well. “Bear in mind it is a lifetime collection that I’ve put together myself,” he said. “I’ve kept them in good condition and looked after them. I hope that anyone who buys them looks after them the best they can. “They are buying a piece of history.” The sale of the programmes will mark an achievement Mike says he will have fond memories of for the rest of his life - and has no regrets about going forward with the auction. On his hobby coming to an end, Mike quipped: “I’ve completed the goal I set myself - it’s just unfortunate that Alex Ferguson had to retire as I probably would have kept it going - I would have found £200 from somewhere!” Details of how to register for the auction can be found on Charles Taylor's website.
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