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Just as football has never been more popular and wealthy in Britain, the attendant market for memorabilia has become ever more vibrant.

The strength of demand for the humblest programme to the shirt of a hero, can be explained by the club loyalty. The three Chelsea FC match chronicles for the seasons 1931-2, 1932-3 and 1934-5, which topped this sale at £3100 apiece, were contested by Chelsea fans. Each contained all the home league and London combination match programmes for the season, bound in blue cloth boards with gold lettering.

Some idea of the strength of demand for the rarest memorabilia was exemplified by a match programme for England v. Belgium on May 18, 1950. It realising £620 when another example had made just £370 at auction last year.

Middlesborough football club bought several items of memorabilia relating to the career of one of its favourite sons, Mick Fenton, who played on Teesside from 1935-48.
However, it was his short-lived career as an England striker, scoring 23 goals on the 1939 Empire tour, which aroused most interest, his England shirt, shorts and socks from that season making £1000 and his dark blue velvet international cap for the match against South Africa making £800.

Another England player whose belongings featured at the sale was Peter Broadbent, the brilliant inside forward in Stan Cullis’ victorious Wolves side of the 1950s who won seven caps for England, including in the match against Brazil in 1959. England lost the match 0-2 in front of a capacity crowd of 200,000 (the biggest ever for an England match) in the Maracana stadium, but one positive outcome from the game for Broadbent, and the collectors at Mullock and Madeley, was the exchange of shirts with the Brazilian no.8, Didi. The midfielder is ranked highly in the Brazil world cup winning team of the late 1950s/early ’60s, which included Pele and Garrincha. A Pelé shirt from this period might cost £5000-8000, says auctioneer William Andrews; Didi’s shirt made £1450.

The highest rated lot in the sale was Denis Law’s Scotland No.17 shirt for the 1974 World Cup match against Zaire and offered with the striker’s testimonial match programme Manchester United v. Ajax (October 3, 1973), which failed to sell at £2000-3000.

Mullock & Madeley, Wellington, April 9
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent