The sense of community, hope and competitiveness which the game of football is built on is quite phenomenal when you think about it. It’s a sport that invites obsession. Saturday afternoons are blocked out in diaries, season tickets are bought, coach trips
travelling the length of a supporter’s respective country are planned and hours of anticipation builds in fans with a literal goal in mind. It’s a feeling designer Matthew Caldwell has inherited from his dad culminating in his love for Aston Villa, but also the printed ephemera that surrounds the game which he now shares in a brilliant Instagram account, 1 Shilling (1/-).
“The project is inspired by an immaculately kept and comprehensive collection of Aston Villa programmes that have been accumulated by my dad, dating back to the late 60s, when his addiction to holding a season ticket at the Villa began,” Matthew explains of 1 Shilling (1/-)’s beginnings. “I was always intrigued growing up, staring up at a bookshelf full of season categorised programme ‘folders’ which hadn’t seen the light of day for years, and of course being forbidden to come within touching distance of their hallowed pages.”
It wasn’t until very recently that Matthew’s dad actually let him reach up to this bookshelf. The designer’s intrigue in the programmes had re-emerged and he was finally “granted to access to ‘having a right good look’,’ he tells It’s Nice That. “As I turned the pages, the cheers of fans seemed to flood out of them, as well as the stench of baltic pie splatters that stained their pages.” Everything about the programmes represented something: how it was printed, the colours chosen that reflect kit colours but also how with a lick of nostalgia Matthew could imagine “the games they must have witnessed…the swear words that these programmes must have heard,” he says. “It was time that they too found their voice. I then started my very own collection and so, 1 Shilling (1/-) was born!”
In a design context, it’s fascinating to scroll through Matthew’s findings and think about the aesthetic decisions made in creating the programmes. Certain typefaces writing out headlines to describe not just the skill but the personality of a player too or the layouts haphazard in some ways, but genius in others. “In my eyes, these old things surpass any of the shiny, content-heavy programmes that we see today,” says Matthew. “Using simple graphic elements, cheap paper, and more often than not, a single staple, these mini artworks offers offer a glorious flashback to when football was less monetised and better representative of the lives of the communities that used to hang on every pass, save and goal.”
The unpresuming quality that each of the programmes present is the true gem of Matthew’s Instagram account. “Like the footballers of their day, they have never asked for attention. They have simply served their purpose as informational publications that capture the mood and spirit of the game when it was once so humble.”
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.