Teams: York City v Morpeth Town
Venue: LNER Community Stadium
Result: York City 1 (1) – (0) 1 Morpeth Town
Programme cost: £1.50
The debate about digital v physical programmes has featured in our opening two reviews (Selby Town and Chadderton) and continues here with York City producing both a digital and physical version for their FA Cup tie v Morpeth Town. Looking at the Club’s on-line store, it seems that ‘The Minstermen’ have done this all season, for both their National North and FA Cup games to date, for which they should be applauded since it gives fans the option of which to purchase. One thing to notice though, is that for league fixtures the programme is £2.50, so is presumably a more substantial production than the 16 page version costing £1.50 for the FA Cup.
So what of this offering in the FA Cup, which celebrates 150 years in the 2021/22 season? Well, seven pages are given over to adverts (44%), with club/ground sponsors jmp, LNER, York Gin, DWA, and go store accounting for five of these. The remaining two are for The FA Player app and Kick it Out, although this is advert from the 2020/21 campaign. Since the Club will undoubtedly be contractually obliged to these companies and organisations to carry these in the programme, it will mean York have no option, but given that, couldn’t the programme be at least 20 pages?
The programme cover leaves you in no doubt that this is a FA Cup tie with an image of the famous trophy dominating and is a template used in the previous home ties. It is titled. “The Citizen” a nod to the founding of the city by the Romans. Colour-wise it is in the red club colours with the club badges of York and Morpeth and the standard match information – venue, date, competition and price. Additionally, the logo of shirt sponsor jmp features as does the Emirates 150 Years FA Cup logo. A nice little feature is at the bottom right hand corner, where a print effect looks to reveal that this is No: 9 of the programmes this season.
In terms of content this is where it feels a little strange. Page 3 is the first non-advert material of this edition and rather than being a welcome or game scene-set from the Chairman or manager, there is an article from youth team player Kyle Lancaster who was an unused substitute in the previous round v Whitby Town. Whilst an interesting article about the youngsters recent game against Notts County and thrill at being involved with the senior squad, it just doesn’t feel that this is a introduction to the game ahead. Incidentally, came on for the last ten minutes to mark his senior debut.
The programme is generous in the pages given over to visitors, NPL Premier Division, Morpeth Town with pen-pics and head-shots of the squad featuring on pages 4 and 7, and a club history on page 12, all very useful to fans on the day. However, the history for ‘The Highwaymen’ is curious in that it cuts off at the end of the 2014/15 season, with no details after that date. Pages 8 and 9 are the centre-fold of this edition and detail the ‘classic’ fixtures, results and line-ups common to all programmes. Additionally there is the National North League table as well as the current seasons appearances and goalscorers. The space on page 9 (games yet to be played), is used to provide a profile of a York volunteer, details of the other FA Cup fixtures involving National North teams and a picture of Olly Dyson the ‘Man of the Match’ from the last home game v Southport. That fixture provides the content for page 10, titles “Action Replay” with six images from the game as well as a brief match summary including the York line-up. All that leaves is the back page, which contains the common squad lists, with respective clubs badges and details of the match officials and the forthcoming games at the LNER Community Stadium.
Overall, whilst this is a tidily produced programme, however, the overriding feeling is that with the addition of four more pages it would have been improved in having a better flow and more bang for your buck. These could easily have been provided through the addition of some of the following – a welcome from the Chairman, a preview of the game from the York manager, a full list of the other ties taking place rather than just those involving National North teams, a look at both sides game played in getting to the Fourth Qualifying Round or indeed a summary of the record of ‘The Minstermen’ over the 150 Years of the FA Cup.
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