In this series of articles, Steve McGhee takes a look at some of the programmes issued covering matches between Derby and those who, back in 1888, along with the Rams, were founder members of the Football League.

1924/25 Derby County v Everton (reserves)

I include this first programme more for its vintage than for the match’s significance.  On February 28th, 1925, as the Rams’ first team were maintaining their place at the top of the Second Division with a 1-0 victory at Clapton Orient, the reserve team should have hosted Everton’s reserves in a Central League fixture. However, an unplayable pitch meant the match wasn’t actually played until March 2nd, ending in a 2-1 win for the visitors. Chadwick gave Everton the lead, and, although Rowe equalised for the Rams, what was described as “a superb team goal” was finished by Bain to secure the points for the visitors.

The club issued a 12 page programme priced at 2d for the match, similar in all respects to that issued for first team games. On page 3, it is stated that this issue is “No.70, Volume 2” indicating that this was the second season of issue and, also, that each first and reserve team issue was given a separate number.

There is sufficient to read within its pages in that the basic elements of a programme are covered. “Notes & Notions” on page 3 compares Derby’s season with Leicester’s, has a sly dig at Manchester United’s Frank Barson for favouring his own team over the Rams for promotion and has a much more overt dig at the Rams fans for not turning out in numbers for matches on a Wednesday afternoon (half-day closing for many places of employment back then). It is with some disdain that the club report an attendance of just 6,465 for the recent Wednesday afternoon game with Bradford City. Page 5 has fixture lists and league tables; line-ups (numbered 1-22, of course) are in the centre pages, page 8 has a H/T scoreboard but it is on page 10 where things get interesting. “Supporters’ Club Notes” take the form of an apology to Portsmouth FC for understating the club’s attendances in a previous programme and blaming this on Pompey’s lack of a formal Supporters’ Club. As the correspondent writes “I regret the error and also regret if I have, metaphorically speaking, trodden on anybody’s toes”.

As ever, the advertising is a highlight of perusing old programmes such as this.  The Mount Carmel garage in Burton Road promises to overhaul any car put its way as well as acting as agents for Palladium, Studebaker and Salmson motors (not many of them around these days!). Foulds in the Irongate offers pianos from 45 guineas, Matthew Basford in Becher Street will put right “dilapidations”, the Empire Cinema offers up Buck Jones in “The Circus Cowboy” as well as the latest Pathe gazette and our old friend Mr F. Isherwood-Plummer (who I have mentioned before in these articles) is still offering singing and organ lessons from his home at 115 Mill Hill Lane.

More than anything, the programme is a fascinating look back at life as it was back in Derby in the mid-1920s. For the record, the Derby team was as follows: Collins; Findlay, Ritchie; Carr, Hardy, Tootle; Keetley, Bacon, Pumford, Storer, Rowe.

1929/30 Everton v Derby County

On January 18th 1930, Derby, third in the First Division, travelled to Goodison Park to take on an Everton side struggling for league form (they were in 21st place in the table).

For the match, the standard “combined Everton/Liverpool” programme was issued (16 pages for 2d) which also covered the Central League fixture between Liverpool and Oldham Athletic. The editorial notes on page 3 are rather prescient, warning high-flying Derby of the “new spirit” within the Everton ranks following their FA Cup victory at Carlisle a week earlier. Pages 4 and 5 have fixture lists for both Merseyside clubs, page 6 introduces the Derby players and page 7 has “Breezy Briefs”, a light-hearted look at the game, reminding us that “snow, rain, mud and wind” are ideal conditions for the FA Cup 3rd Round (quite right, too!). Line-ups for both matches fill the centre pages (the tussle between Jack Barker and Dixie Dean would have been worth the entrance fee alone!), followed by “Anfield Happenings”, “Everton Jottings”, league tables and a very large H/T scoreboard. Plenty to read for the price though, because the programme covers both Everton and Liverpool, it can be a bit tricky figuring out which of the two clubs any given correspondent is writing about.

There’s some highly evocative advertising included. The Clifton Hotel in New Brighton amusingly presents itself as being “one second from the promenade” (the blink of an eye?), the Futurist Picture House (which is now “100% talkies”) and The Coliseum Cinema, who had Harry Card (“Musical Humourist”) entertaining the audience in between features. The back cover features an early travel agent advertisement, Tapscott Smith Ltd offering “summer cruises under sunny skies – 19 days for £30”. My favourite advert, however, is for “Tyrer’s Invalid Stout” which promises not only to be beneficial to one’s heart and digestive system but also proudly states it is “non-gouty”! And, at just 7/- for a dozen bottles, I bet they sold out very quickly. One further point of note – the paper this programme was printed on is of much lower quality than most other programmes of the era.  This was the case up until the mid-1930s when the idea of a combined programme was jettisoned and both Merseyside clubs started to produce their own.

Not a good day on the field for the Rams – the programme notes warning them of the Everton revival were quite right as the home team won 4-0 in front of a gate of 35,436, their goals coming from Critchley, Dean (2) and Stein. This programme is also rather special in that it features the debut of Everton’s legendary goalkeeper Ted Sagar who would go on to make 499 appearances for the club between 1930 and 1953.

1938/39 Everton v Derby County

By 1938, Everton were now producing their own programme and, at just 2d for 32 pages packed with reading, an absolute bargain at the price. Such was the issue for Derby’s visit to Goodison on Boxing Day of that year. Two whole pages are devoted to the Rams, written in such detail that it took me 20 minutes to work my way through it. There are no fewer than 7 pages of statistics (including one page of league tables (all the way down to the Bootle League 2nd Division!) and, unusually, this includes attendance figures for all home reserve games (usually around the 4,000 mark).

As well as historical articles, a whole page is devoted to the Everton “Boys” team, the H/T scoreboard takes up two pages, there’s a full page cartoon and, if anyone found the time, also a crossword to have a bash at (though the answers weren’t printed until the next home game). Page 9 is taken up by an advert for an early version of a club shop selling, amongst other things, bound volumes of all Everton’s home programmes for the previous season. For just 10/6d! For the ladies, an “Everton powder puff with Georgette handkerchief” must have been very tempting at just under two shillings. The “Lost and Found” section (not many programmes included that!) told of a gents glove which had been handed in along with no fewer than three pipes. Claimants were asked to present themselves at the club offices at their convenience. All very polite – and it makes me wonder why such announcements weren’t a regular feature in every club’s programme. Lots of evocative advertising as well as upcoming features for a dozen cinemas – it really is hard to better this programme for both design and value. I love it (as you can no doubt tell!)

This, of course, was Everton’s title-winning season but they couldn’t get the better of the Rams. In what were described as dreadful conditions, a crowd of 55,401 witnessed a 2-2 draw. After a goalless first half, Ronnie Dix put Derby in front then Tim Ward was harshly adjudged to have brought down Gillick, Cook converting the penalty. With 8 minutes left Dave McCulloch slid the ball home after Ted Sagar dropped a Dix shot but, 2 minutes later, Gillick headed home to salvage a point for the home side.

1946/47 Derby County v Everton

It’s quite common in football that, when one team soundly defeats the other, the return match sees the exact opposite take place. As was the case for Derby and Everton in the first post-war season.  Christmas Day saw the Rams travel to Goodison Park and, after a goalless first half, proceed to concede four in the second-half. As the two teams were due to meet at the Baseball Ground 24 hours later, however, they didn’t have to wait long to put matters right. Peter Doherty replaced Jack Stamps in the Derby line-up, something of a surprise as he had been expected to sign for Huddersfield Town over the festive period. A healthy crowd of 29,978 turned out on a bitterly cold afternoon only to see Fielding give the visitors a 16th minute lead. This, however, presaged an all-out assault on the Everton goal and, by half-time, Doherty and Reg Harrison had each netted twice. A second-half strike from Tim Ward completed the turn-around from 24 hours earlier, the Rams climbing to 12th place in the table.

For the match, Derby issued their standard 8 page programme costing 2d. Three pages of advertising, team line-ups on page 4, “official notes” covering the ticket situation for the upcoming Cup game at Villa Park and a syndicated article from the Daily Mail’s Roy Peskett entitled “Amusing Incidents from the Football Field”. I would very much like to know who the unnamed player was who played in an FA Cup-winning team having left his false teeth in the dressing room but then returned to put them back in before he shook hands with royalty and received his medal!

As an aside, whoever originally owned my copy of the programme must have had to leave very early as he has the score pencilled in as 3-1 to the Rams. Or perhaps he lost his pencil whilst cheering those four Derby goals in the space of just 20 first-half minutes?!

1953/54 Everton v Derby County

We move forward seven years to September 1953 and the first-ever meeting of the two clubs outside the First Division, Derby having been relegated at the end of the previous season ditto Everton two seasons earlier. Each club had made a solid start to the season, Everton were unbeaten in 11 games and Derby had only lost once. Winning form brings the crowds in and, here, the attendance figure was a remarkable 54,216.

Everton have a history of producing programmes with plenty of reading material and this was no exception.  The 12 page issue cost 3d and came with a very smart cover, though lacking any match details. Three pages of coverage for the Rams including a full page cartoon which ends by imploring the home crowd to “keep it up, wackers!”. Lineups are in the centre pages and there’s a short article on Everton reserve forward Eddie Thomas (who would join the Rams 12 years later and set a club record by scoring on each of his first six games for the club). Advertising content is minimal and mostly kept to the centre pages.

The match was played in very warm conditions – Eglington and Lello, with two goals in less than a minute, gave Everton the early advantage before Norman Nielson headed home from a corner to pull a goal back before half-time. Parker extended Everton’s lead before another headed goal, this time from Hugh McLaren, reduced arrears. A nasty clash between Everton striker Dave Hickson and Derby’s Rex Osman saw the latter, in these pre-substitute days, forced to play the final ten minutes holding a wet sponge to his head. This he held between his teeth when taking throw-ins!

Everton would go on to finish the season in 2nd place and earn promotion but Derby’s season would fizzle out, eventually finishing in 18th place and presaging what would be an even worse season in 54/55.

1968/69 Derby County v Everton (League Cup)

It would be 15 years before the two clubs would meet next, this time in the League Cup. Brian Clough’s resurgent Rams, having already eliminated Chelsea, had held Everton to a goalless draw at Goodison Park. The replay would be a rare all-ticket affair.

A standard 16 page programme costing 9d was issued and, in the manager’s notes, Cloughie describes how the club dealt with demand from the public for tickets. Initially, supporters were limited to six tickets each but this was soon reduced to two. Indeed our manager, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, wonders how the club have suddenly managed to acquire an additional 20,000 supporters. It was also noted that Everton had been issued with 8,500 tickets for the game. Such a high amount might explain those home supporter supply and demand issues Clough was alluding to! There’s a brief resume of the goalless draw at Goodison, along with pen-pictures of the Everton team, the usual stats and details on how to get to Gigg Lane, Bury, for the team’s next league game. A couple of interesting adverts – one for the Rams Shop in Osmaston Road lists “Rams’ Theme Songs, 7 inch EP” for sale at 15/-. I have never seen these come up for sale in catalogues or on eBay and it’s hard to believe that none have survived the years. If anyone has a copy, please let us have a description! There is also an ad for the Queens Hall Methodist Mission, described as “The Church the Men Go To”. Not sure they’d get away with that nowadays.

Derby once again grabbed the headlines with a single Kevin Hector goal eliminating their First Division opponents in front of a crowd of 34,370. Although eliminated in the next round by the tournament’s eventual winners – Swindon Town – the cup run went a long way to bringing the club to the forefront of national interest.

This article was first printed in issue 9 of Derby County Memories (June 2015). If you enjoyed reading it, why not buy copies of the magazine? See the About section for further details.