There Is Just Something About Going To A Game & Getting A Programme...

When I was younger I loved going to football and rugby games and purchasing a programme but I slowly changed that as I got a bit older and I started to only purchase programmes from games that were big games or ones I definitely wanted to remember due to something in them such as interviews or even posters back in the day. Sometimes it was even a case of a programme having my favourite player on the front and that is all it took for me to make the purchase. 

So here are the programmes I have managed to find in my collection...

First up we have the one of my absolute favourite programmes as it is from the first ever women's game I ever went to watch. Way back in 2007 I went to see Leeds vs Arsenal Women in the FA Cup final at Scunthorpe's ground. It is funny looking back and seeing how many names from that game have gone on to make a name for themselves and how many are still playing today. 

Then we have my current collection of Bradford City Women's programmes. These are definitely going to be my prized possessions as they have articles in that we wrote specifically for them. Never did I think I would be writing for their programme so this is a huge achievement for me and one I am certainly always going to remember. 

Now this is a programme I am questioning as I don't have a clue why I have it. This programme is from the Community Shield game back in 2004 between Arsenal & Manchester United. I know I certainly didn't go to this game so I can only imagine that my dad or grandad had a friend who went and brought me a programme back. I am glad I have this though as there is something about it I love. 

I have a small selection of Manchester United programmes which I have gained from the few games I have managed to go to. I have definitely been to more games than I have programmes for but the one with Phil Neville on is from my first United game so that holds a lot of memories for me. I also have one from years ago which I picked up from a market a while back. I would love to add more Man Utd programmes into my collection. 

One of my favourite programmes in my collection has to be this one from my first trip to Wembley. It is a shame that first trip had to end in defeat but of course the occasion had to be marked with me picking up a programme. It seems to have become a great place for me to store the tickets from that game too.

I don't have as many Bradford City programmes as I would like to be honest but the ones I do have are brilliant as I even have the Bradford vs Chelsea one somewhere, I just wish I knew where. I have a memorial programme to mark the anniversary of the fire, I have one with my favourite Kai Bruenker on it, one from after the Chelsea win and most importantly I have one from the game vs Leeds which we ended up winning.  I know I definitely have plenty more Bradford programmes dotted around my parents house so maybe it is time I went to find them. 

It wasn't just football matches I picked up programmes for as I went to lot of rugby matches when I was younger too. To be honest as I got older I started to only buy the ones for those important matches I went to and these are the only ones I kept hold of as they are from a few of the Grand Final's I went to. I also have a Bradford Bulls one somewhere in the house that I am actually in so I may have to try find that out, if I do I will post a picture of it on Instagram.

So there you have it those are some of my prized possessions also known as my programme collection. I honestly wish I kept hold of or could find some of my missing programmes as there are some from some great games that have disappeared. I think my favourites are the ones from Bradford City Women where we are printed in them and also the Leeds vs Arsenal Women's FA Cup programme. I also have a Manchester United 1968 Champions League final programme somewhere which I really need to find.  

What are your favourite programmes in your collection? 

In Conversation With Brighouse Town Women's Manager Rob Mitchell

Kicking our 'In Conversation Series' for 2021 we managed to ask Brighouse Town Ladies manager a few questions about the club and his journey into the women's game. If you have been reading the blog for a while you will know our first post was actually a match report from our trip to watch Bradford City Women vs Brighouse Town Women's, the club have been a big support for the blog so far and I am looking forward to getting to some more games once we are allowed again and seeing how the club progresses. So here is how our conversation with Rob went...

EOTA :  What got you into football in the first place?

Rob : I think football has always been part of my life from a young age, although I didn't start playing for teams until I was a little older, I always used play in my grandmas back garden, on the streets and at school. I can remember playing on video games such as FIFA and Championship Manager.

EOTA : Could you describe the process of you becoming manager of Brighouse Town? 

Rob : Back in 2013 I was the first team coach for the men's side at Brighouse and we wanted to start a women's team at the club, I had already had a bit of experience of working in the women's game and felt it was a project I could really give my all to. We managed to put together the structure in place, recruit players and have grown each season to be where we are today.

EOTA : Was it always your intention to manage in the women’s game?

Rob : I think for me personally, I don't look at the gender of the players on the pitch. Football is football to me and as far as I'm concerned I'm managing a group of footballers who want to develop and be the best version of themselves that they can be.

EOTA : What do you believe you have brought to this club since taking up the role of manager? 

Rob : I'd like to think I've been able to instill a winning mentality and professional structure. The culture of any club is vital for you to be successful and I believe that between myself, the coaching staff and players we have done pretty well to achieve success. I think I'm quite an open and honest manager, always approachable and will support our players to improve and develop. If you're willing to give your all to this club and buy in to our ethos I'll fight for you and support you all the way, if not it's probably not going to work out in the long run.

EOTA : How important has your coaching team been to what you’ve achieved? 

Rob : We have an unbelievably talented and hard working group behind the scenes and as mentioned previously, without them we cannot operate to the same levels. Our secretary Becky Alderson is incredible, she works tirelessly behind the scenes along with the chairman Colin Tomkins who has become a really good friend of mine, he will do anything for you, is honest and says it how it is.

My assistant Kevin Heetun is an amazing #2 with his football knowledge and work ethic, I've not seen commitment like what he brings before alongside Lee Harrison who is a new addition this season, he's someone we've wanted to bring in for a while and I'm finally delighted we got him. Ruth Brazier is out first team coach and brings a wealth of expertise to the group, our calming influence somewhat and a bit of a super sub when required. Mikey Emery is our GK coach and has played and worked at the top level, great for the banter but another very knowledgeable coach. Sam Cleaver is our S&C coach, he's the one the players probably dislikes because he makes them run but he's amazing at what he does and has been, like all the others an amazing addition.

Georgina Neilsen is our newest recruit and she is in charge of our Video Analysis, it's been a massive help so far and really given us the edge in some of the games this season already.

I could go on and on with the amount of others that help out to make us successful, from Emma Stevenson, Ray Alderson and Ray Spencer the photographer. Together they are an amazing group.

EOTA : Could you tell me about how you personally coped with managing a side during lockdown? 

Rob : I'd be lying if I said it was easy, the constant stop and start not being able to build any momentum is not just difficult physically but it's mentally demanding for the coaches and players as well. I know there are bigger things going on in the world right now but football is vitally important for not only us as a club but for the wider footballing community and we hope that we can return once again to play the game we all love. For now we will continue to meet regular for Zoom calls and fitness, keep checking in with the players and plan for any eventual return that may come our way.

EOTA : We have seen the club using Zoom fitness calls to stay in shape what other ways are you helping players stay connected whilst the season is suspended? 

Rob : I think Zoom has been a big one but without putting pressure on the players to get out and go for a run, we have a Strava group where players can track runs and see what others have been getting up to. We are planning on having a YOGA session soon and will try to put some interviews together to keep everyone engaged.

EOTA : It must’ve been challenging to prepare for this season. Was there ever any doubt in your mind that you could retain a strong squad to push for top spot this year? 

Rob : I believe we had an excellent preseason and recruited really well, we identified the players and areas we needed and were very fortunate to get 90% of what we wanted. From there we've hit the ground running with the girls getting to grips with a new shape which demands high fitness and energy levels so that was a challenge but one I believe they mastered with the help of Sam.

EOTA : Do you think the stop start aspect of COVID lockdowns may be detrimental to some clubs especially in leagues like your own due to finances and players staying match fit throughout?

Rob : I think financially it's always going to be difficult for teams at our level, especially when games are behind closed doors and we still have officials and travel expenses to pay for. The FA cup has been beneficial with us putting a cup run together which brings prize money and a positive adventure to look forward to. I think fitness will be affected in the short term and we may see a few injuries due to demands of being on and off but we have games postponed due to the weather usually anyway, the big problem now is the restrictions on training which won't help with match fitness, sharpness and touches of the ball.

EOTA : Where do you hope to see the club in the next five years?

Rob : I'd love for us to be in the division above and be able to compete in the next 5 years, the level of opposition has improved, coaches are better equipped tactically and the demands are greater with so many teams fighting to achieve the same goals. I'd love for us to also develop our players to go on and play at the top level or at least contribute towards their development.

If we can go one better ourselves then that would be amazing too but we will continue to do what we always do and take it one game at a time and see where that takes us. 

EOTA : As the women’s game grows and becomes more popular do you think there is going to be more pressure added from lower club chairmen/women to get those clubs into the limelight & growing an even bigger fan base?

Rob : 100%, I believe that teams have already started to do that already, we've increased our attendances and engagement with local junior grassroots girls teams and regularly host girls tournaments. We offer free entry for U16's too which will hopefully help us to gain our fans of the future. I think its always going to be hard for teams such as ourselves, Liverpool Feds, Chester-Le-Street etc not having a big men's team attached to us or a recognizable name to piggy back off but in a way that's great because it gives us the chance to create something for ourselves and the success will always taste that little bit sweeter!

EOTA : As the game grows how do you think the male counterparts could help grow the women’s game & bring more fans through the gate?

Rob : I don't think they have to, I think the big thing is sponsors and exposure to the game are more important, of course it would be great if more people attended games who already attend men's games and I'm sure if they did attend they'd find that they probably would enjoy it because as mentioned before, football is football regardless of gender.

EOTA : Do you ever worry that as the game grows unnecessary pressure may be put on your players off the pitch as their profile grows as we have seen social media can be a tough place due to sexist comments even in 2020? How do you and the club help any players that may be suffering due to that?

Rob : It shouldn't be the case, but sadly we still get nonsensical, sexist and discriminatory comments aimed toward female players and coaches etc. I believe the culture we have at the club which is massive on equality and diversity really helps the players, of course it can be hard reading things online sometimes and we will always be there to support our players should they need it.

EOTA : Do you think we are ever going to see a decrease in those sexist comments and have it so big outlets can help promote the women’s game without seeing a load of abuse under each social media post or do you think governing bodies need to help promote the game more & in a better more consistent light for this to happen?

Rob : I think as the world evolves and peoples perceptions change I'd like to think there will be a change in peoples minds, sadly we will always get the odd few who cannot be changed. I think regardless of gender, footballers make mistakes on the pitch but I think women's footballers are highlighted more from the minimum expose the game does get compared to the globally marketed and branded male game. Anyone who takes the time to comment "No one cares" obviously cares enough to comment so at least they know women play football and as times goes on and their daughter, sister, niece etc start to play the game I'm I'm there perception will too.

EOTA : Once football returns (again), what is a realistic goal for the season? 

Rob : I think that will all depend on how the league looks if and when we return, of course we want to be successful and how that looks for our club is very different to others. To be competitive, improve on and off the pitch and finish as high up the table as possible would be what we will strive for and hopefully we can continue to finish what we started at the beginning of the season.

EOTA : Finally any advice for someone wanting to take up a management role in the women’s game?

Rob : I think I'd definitely advise anyone wanting to get involved in management to never stop learning or asking questions, get to know each player as a person and treat them as footballers. A big thing I'd like to think I've done well over the years is knowing the players around in the level above, below and current level, network as much as possible and ensure you set yours and the teams standards high regardless of the level you want to work at.

There you have it that was our conversation with Rob Mitchell from Brighouse. Rob and his team are doing a fantastic job at the club and if you do ever get chance to see the team play make sure you take that opportunity. You can follow Rob on Twitter & also Brighouse Town Women's to stay up to date on fixtures and club news. 

Who would you like to see us chat to next?

My Current Favourite Bradford City Players

Normally writing this post would be easy for me as I usually get instant favourites when it comes to Bradford City however, this year it is really difficult as the players haven't consistently been performing anywhere near how they should be in League 2 and honestly it has been painful watching games on iFollow most weekends as you just know what is going to happen before kick off. Since they let go of McCall things have improved but with us yet to play in 2021 it does make you wonder if the lack of game time is going to revert players back to the start of the season performances. There are a few players that do seem to be making more of an effort and doing well with what they have around them and to be honest they are my current favourites as they are showing they want to play and get the results for the fans. It is funny as two of these players would never normally have made it on to the list however, they are really beginning to prove themselves. So here are those few current favourites...

Connor Wood 

To me Connor has been a stand out player for a while now. He works so hard on that left wing it is just a shame that others aren't on the end of the brilliant crosses he puts into the box. You always see him on the break then trying his hardest to get back into that defensive line to help out the rest of his defense as no one else seems to track back as much. He has provided plenty of chances but the rest of the team just don't seem to be able to keep up or get in the right positions to actually finish the chances. 

Anthony O'Connor

 Surprisingly Anthony O'Connor has made it onto the list as I feel he has really improved as a player and is really showing just how much he wants to be in the starting 11 week in week out.  There have been a few times when O'Connor has been playing out of his position this season but I really do believe that he has stepped up and helped up in conceding less goals than we already have. A few seasons ago his name would be nowhere near this but now I think he is really starting to show improvement. 

Billy Clarke

3rd time lucky for Billy I guess, honestly I have never really been his biggest fan but this season I find that he is doing better than previously and is really trying his best to turn things around get the results we should be getting. Billy is another player who hasn't really been in his preferred position for most of this season but he is doing well with what he has been given. Let's hope any new manager we get can help him achieve his full potential and help him get on the score sheet more often & help City out of the trouble they are in. 

Lets hope that when the team continue playing as they should be and actually start looking like they are going to continue to win games instead of the same story week after week that City fans have become used to. Who knows then some players may end up redeeming themselves and making it onto this list. 

Bradford City Have Had Some Fantastic Players In The Past... Here Are My Favourites

Over the years that I have been supporting Bradford City we have had some great players but also had some massive flops too. My earliest memories are of watching Bradford playing in the Premiership with some fantastic names that really stood out then as I grew old and the teams changed there were plenty more names that stood out and in my opinion made an impact. So here are those players who made it onto my list of favourite past Bradford City players, I have to admit these were definitely easy picks as these are always the names that stand out to me when anyone asked who my favourites have been over the years. 

Stuart McCall

Current Bradford City manager Stuart McCall is a Bradford City legend in my eyes, he was a fantastic player in the midfield for City over the years and made a definite impact. He's also been back to manage the team and is currently trying his best to get the current side back in form like he did in his last stint at the club when they reached the League 1 play off final. There is also that fantastic moment where he is celebrating on top of the car with a can of beer and falls off which makes me laugh every time. 

Dean Windass

I don't know what it is about Windass but he has always been a player I have loved for City. Bagging himself 75 goals in his two stints at the club in my eyes he was fantastic it was great growing up having a player like him on the team I watched. Plus that goal he scored for Hull to win them promotion you just can't beat it. 

Rory McArdle

I would happily have Rory back at the club any day as he was a player I loved to watch play. A real no nonsense defender who put in some brilliant challenge and provided some great goals in his 183 appearances for the club between 2012 & 2017. I am sure he often mistook being a defender for being a wrestler with some of the challenges he made but he always made the defence that little bit safer when he was playing. 

Stephen Darby

It is actually thanks to Darby I ended up following Man City women but that is a story for another day. Darby was a great player at right back for the club and to be honest it shows just how good he was for the club when you look at how that position has declined since he left the club to head to Bolton. For me Darby was a great captain and was really influential in the clubs success during the time he was playing for the club.  

Benito Carbone 

Benito Carbone is a name I think I am always going to remember. Carbone was at the club just as I was really enjoying the game with my mum, he is probably the first big name (well big for Bradford)  I ever picked up on and although he wasn't at City for long he is always going to be one of my favourites. I do believe if he stayed at the club a little longer and I was a bit older to appreciate the game at the time he was with us he may be even further up my favourites list.

David Wetherall 

The hero that kept us in the Premier League for another year. This for me made Wetherall one of my favourite players in its own right as that goal against Liverpool kept us in the league. Unfortunately he was hit with plenty of injuries whilst at the club but he still went on to make 304 appearances for the club in just under a 10 year period which for any player is a great achievement. 

If you follow or have watched Bradford City who would make your list of favourite past players who have worn that Bradford City shirt? 

My Favourite Manchester United Players At The Moment

 Manchester United haven't had the best start the best start to the season at all and something needs to start turning around in their favour soon. As many of you will know Manchester United have been a team I have followed closely for a long time now and I still do so seeing them in the state they are currently in isn't fun at all. However, although they are on a bad run now I still have favourite players who I think make a difference in the games they play in and if only the rest of the team worked like them, well maybe then results will turn around and they will start getting 3 points for a change. So here are my favourite Manchester United players currently... 


Scott McTominay is one of those players who at just a young age is already starting to show a lot of potential. I think if he gets the support and guidance needed from the club and the older midfielders at the club he could really become a household name and a world class midfielder. He isn't afraid to put in a challenge and is great at creating & being a part of any attacks too. He could really be a key midfielder for Man Utd in the next few seasons. 


Bruno Fernandes is a player I have been really looking forward to seeing play and to be honest he hasn't disappointed me. Fernandes is certainly a play maker and if he could just get the rest of the team on the same wave length and they could be dominating in attacks once again. I just hope he doesn't get frustrated with the rest of the team as that could see his performance slip. 


Last season Martial really impressed me, when Rashford was injured he really stepped up and made a positive impact and really helped United get back into those Champions League spots. I think with the right delivery and amount of game time this season he could certainly be a very influential player for United and how they turn their season around. 


Just like with McTominay, Brandon Williams is another player who is just a young age but already starting to show progress and how good of a player he can be. In the 19/20 season he played some fantastic games and really showed what he was made of. Give him guidance and support and I think we could soon enough see the academy graduate become a permanent name on the United team sheet as the world sees his potential. 


Marcus Rashford isn't just an influential figure on the pitch he is also one off the pitch too. Honestly with all the press on him at the moment I was a little worried that he may buckle under the pressure and his performance on the field may suffer but that hasn't been the case at all. Towards the end of last season he was doing really well after returning from injury and he has started this season off pretty well too, he just needs the team around him to perk up too and we might start seeing more goals from him and some results. 


I never thought Luke Shaw would make it onto my favourite players list as I have never really been a fan of his. However, I think he has shown a bit of progress this season and been able to get United into some good positions with no one unable to offer him the support he needs when he has made a break down the left. I would definitely say he has been one of those standout players in an otherwise shocking defensive line which certainly needs work. He seems to be more confident attacking this season too and tracking back so his fitness must have certainly improved. 

Obviously this list changes on a season basis as the seasons progress and players come and go so I am sure you will see plenty of updated versions of this post in the future but for now these are my top 6 players in the United team from the 19/20 & 20/21 seasons. Who are you enjoying watching play for Manchester United these days if anyone? 

2020 Round Up


Well 2020 didn't go to plan  did it? Things happened that I never thought would happen such as the whole of the UK going into lockdown for months, that didn't stop us though as we managed to power through and adapt the content so we were still posting. In fact the blog actually helped me get through the main lockdown as it gave me something to do whilst I was on furlough and stuck in the house. 

I never thought I would see the day that football and other sports were cancelled but that is what 2020 held for us. Competitions were either put on hold or cancelled all together which was crazy as who would ever expect that? When the leagues did eventually return fans weren't allowed back in the grounds so games were behind closed doors which was a very strange atmosphere whilst watching it on the TV, it just didn't feel the same. Fans were eventually allowed to return to the grounds but only in small numbers and the rules kept on changing meaning no one actually knew where they stood and clubs weren't bringing in the revenue that they usually would. It was certainly challenging times for clubs especially those lower league ones. It definitely was a strange year not going to as many games as I usually would but I know we will be back properly hopefully in the near future.

Even though there weren't many games to report on we still managed to adapt and create other content that helped us see the blog and social media channels grow. To say we have only been going for just over a year it is crazy to see the progress we have made already. We even got asked if we would like to work with Bradford City Women again which was absolutely fantastic as it has been great writing the articles for them and working with them. We even managed to sponsor a player which was fantastic as that was one of the main goals for the year and we ticked that off. 

The love for football shirts definitely grew through the year too as most of the time was spent looking at them on Instagram, twitter and YouTube my collection didn't grow too much but I did make a few new additions with more I want to add in the very near future, writing about shirts definitely helped reignite that love. 

Now that we are in the new year lets hope that some normality returns so we can get back to reporting on games, working on more content out of the house and getting on those stadium tours we hope to do. I am looking forward to seeing where 2021 takes us.