From humble beginnings – Gareth Southgate

As a feature writer of articles for the EFL League 2 club Crawley Town FC football programme I draw on my collection of old programmes, press cuttings and ephemera to compile a “Retro” article in all of our home matchday programmes.

As a buyer and seller of Stamps, Postcards and Ephemera in my day job for Reynard Collectables I am used to not throwing anything away in the hope that it might come in handy one day (in fifty years time!) consequently it was always second nature to me to keep all my old programmes from around 60 years of supporting the “Red Devils” (our nickname since the early 1960s). However I also kept raffle tickets, match tickets, match reports, car stickers………you get the idea.

However after a few seasons of articles, fresh material is always needed and I have been lucky to be given or loaned several fine photo collections by the children of Crawley players from the 1950s. Also our club shop supremo Ian Hands (Sports Programmes) was always a big help in providing me with other material. Sadly Ian passed away quite suddenly a couple of years ago, but in talking to one of Ian’s sons Darren I was able to get access to more material for future articles and this included a single photocopied sheet Darren said might be of interest.

On closer inspection it was a team sheet for a local Crawley youth match on 29th April 1981 and lists the Crawley Cubs Representative XI for their match against the mighty Crawley Traders (Playleader League Champions 1981 no less!!).

On closer inspection and with England’s current World Cup campaign in Russia in mind I was surprised to note one Gareth Southgate (of 4th Worth Scout Troop which still has its hut right by Gareth’s old school) in the team as a central midfielder when I suspect he was about 10 years old? I knew Gareth was brought up in Crawley and went to school at Hazelwick Comprehensive but had never before seen any documentary evidence of his potential as a top class player. As some may know he went on to start his long and distinguished playing career with Crystal Palace and representing England as a player before working his way up as a manager to his current impressive performance as England manager.

Although not born in Crawley he did spend much of his childhood in the town and completed his education here, unfortunately though not representing the local Crawley Town team at football before moving on to Crystal Palace youth team.

We do have a Crawley Town connection in the Cub’s team though as Ashley Cook went on to play for the club and Darren Hinton was the son of Marvin Hinton who most famously played for Chelsea from 1963-76 winning an FA Cup medal and also the European Cup Winners cup in a career of over 340 games for the club. Towards the end of his career and after playing for Barnet, Marvin finished his long career with a couple of seasons at Crawley and still lives in the town (I saw him at the shops only a few months ago!).

It would be interesting to know how some of the other young players progressed in their lives, maybe one or two will pop up in the future but I think with his latest exploits Gareth qualifies as our most famous “old boy” even if he was born in Watford, he learnt all he knows in the town! He beats others such as BBC presenter Dan Walker (thankfully still a Crawley Town long distance fan) and The Cure who were formed while at St Wilfreds comprehensive school in the town, and Daley Thompson was a Crawley resident while winning his Olympic decathlon titles.

I must start searching for more ephemera relating to them for selling in my on line ebay and delcampe stores, but have added a scan of the Gareth Southgate Cubs XI teamsheet and also a very early picture of The Cure shot locally.gsouthgatecubsprog1981


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French Indo-China Saigon, Croquet anyone?

My Reynard Collectables company picked up a nice collection of several hundred mainly French postcards at auction recently. It leaves me with a dilemma I have had before as the collection seems to mainly centre around one address in Parthenay an ancient fortified town in the Deux-Sevres department of France. It is always a shame to break up an historic timeline of correspondence even if the subject matters is only of personal/family interest, but I do have to balance this against trying to make a profit. But then can I sell the collection as one –  decisions, decisions!!

In amongst lots of topographical cards of small towns and villages there are also a number of cards from Morocco with various military postal markings, suggesting a tour of duty there by a family member? Also in here where a small number of theatrical/circus cards including those of an early 1900s troupe “Zeynard’s Liliput Troupe” (see below) and also a card of the Pinder circus parade through a town with Elephants etc.

Also included are some cards from the 1906 Tourcoing Exposition, which fit in nicely with the 100s of other World’s Fair/Exposition items I have in stock.

Continuing the military tour theme from earlier though there are also a number of French colonial period cards from the early 1900s in what is now Vietnam, at the time Cochin Chine. It includes a very nice card of soldiers from the 11th Colonial division playing a croquet match in Saigon, featured here.

All this and much more in Reynard Collectables Delcampe store here.



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France – The Golden Age of Aviation

I have always admired the early postcards,programmes and graphics from the many and varied French Air Shows from the early 1900s through to the 1930s and was delighted to be able to buy a collection of these items at a recent auction.

The items range from small vignette/cinderella labels or stamps, very stylish meeting postcards and also a few very scarce official programmes which as well as great cover graphics and small bios and pictures of famous pilots of the time also contained some fine period adverts.

Although it grieves me to have to do this I have started listing the items for sale on my Reynard Collectables ebay store here, but thought I would showcase a few images from the collection with more maybe to follow!


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WW2 Allied Forces Football in Italy

My previous blog mentioned the diversity of items I accumulate and highlighted a 1950s theatrical archive compiled by artistes “Desiree and Pierre”  and to emphasise this diversity another recent listing in Reynard Collectables ebay store is another collection but this time an album of footballing photos and ephemera put together by a British serviceman in Italy towards the end of WW2.

There are many references to wartime emergency football in this country with players sometimes turning out for a team other than the one they were signed for often because of where they were stationed for their National Service.

However this seems to be mostly “normal” chaps turning out for their regiment or unit in various locations around Italy such as Florence, Siena, Ancona, Arezzo etc. I did manage to do a small amount of research though and found one or two professional footballers in the various teams (there were a number of match programmes in the album, so lots of useful names to research) including the wonderfully named Cpl Smellie whi I think turned out for St. Johnstone in Scotland, I also found at least one player who before the war was with Wolverhampton Wanderers. I would expect with more research more illustrious names might crop up but time didnt permit any more research much as I would have liked too!

There are many photos inside large stadiums, Florence in particular, with lots of action photos, medal presentations and team line ups including that of 15 HQ Signals team who it seems had won the Florence Command knockout competition as well as being champions of both 55 Area and District 1.

I like the programme also and in amongst these are matches against a Polish Army XI (in Siena) and also a Czechoslovakian Army XI (played in Florence) with all the opposition players and some of the “home” players having signed the programme. I am sure with some research more of the history of some of these players careers back in their homeland could be found? There is also a nice photo of the Polish team before the match along with a few action shots and also a small press report on the Czechoslovakian match.

All in all a superb and rare item of an aspect of the war that is not often shown in such detail and one that will as mentioned benefit from more research.

The description and more pictures can be found in the Reynard Collectables ebay listing here.WW2 Allied Football in Italy



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1950s Risque Theatre “Desiree & Pierre”

One of the joys of the collectables business is you never know what is going to come in next. To emphasise this point I am penning a couple of blog posts to highlight a couple of fascinating lots I have just listed in Reynard Collectables ebay store.

The first of these is a small collection of albums compiled mainly in the 1950s by an act called “Desiree & Pierre” who seemed to tour all over Europe with their act which seemed to entail Desiree wearing fewer and fewer clothes and Pierre dressing up as a gorilla or the Devil amongst other unusual themes!

There are many photos including an exhaustive study of the act with the gorilla costume as well as a trip to Amsterdam Zoo in 1958 for a photoshoot with a real ape and also to be filmed climbing a tree in “King Kong” style. Also seen is Pierre the Gorilla wrestling the Dutch World Judo champion Anton Geesink amongst other bizarre poses.

There are also many references to other acts they toured with along with photos and many dedications to Desiree and Pierre as they worked their way around Europe from Essen to Wiesbaden to Koln, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Dusseldorf, Den Haag and various cities in Turkey.

Fascinatingly there is also their contact/reference book with all their hundreds of agents, impresarios, photographers, interpreters, family, friends etc.

I have added a few pictures from the collection with this blog but for me have a look on the Reynard Collectables ebay listing here.Reynard Collectables Desiree & Pierre listing


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Linen Postcards Origins in Europe not USA?

As a huge fan of the vibrant colours and unusual locations of the “linen” textured postcards produced in the 1930-50s by companies such as Curt Teich and Asheville I have built up a fairly large stock. Some years back I did write a blog (see U.S.A. -Linen Postcards dated 2012, one of my earliest blogs) and included a few of my earliest aquisitions. I particularly like the obscure highway motels and the brash large letter city name cards.

Linen cards refers not to the paper content but the surface texture of the cards resembling a uniform vertical and horizontal lined texture. My assumption from reading mainly US research and information on line was that this type of card originated in the US but I think I have disproved this while sorting through my Reynard Collectables large stock of French postcards of the 1900s to 1920s.

I came across a few cards in colour (admittedly without the vibrant colours of the later US cards!) and with a definite linen texture, consisting of uniform dots and lines. The Rouen card is unused but definitely early 1900s and has “Editeur: Barrau-Crampon, 61, rue Jeanne d’arc, Rouen” along bottom edge. The St.Malo card is postally used from Sevres in 1920 and along the bottom left edge is printed “Bazar Parisien, Paraine” (not certain about the last word as it is mixed with the image).

I have added a couple of photo images of these cards which although not fantastic quality hopefully show some of the surface texture. The cards also have a toned coloration which may just be something that has happened over time due to exposure to light. I have preceded these with one of my US linen cards to show the contrast in the vibrancy of the colour in the later cards compared with the fairly gloomy earlier French “linen” cards.

Not a discovery that will change the world, and it may not even be a first but it is new to me!

At various times items from Reynard Collectables fascinating (to me!) stock of paper collectables are available in by ebay and delcampe stores. Just click on the appropriate store and it will take you there.


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Anyone for tennis – Wimbledon 1900s & Olympic Champions

I have just been listing on my Reynard Collectables ebay store a very fine group of about thirty postcards, bought last year as part of a massive (and expensive!) collection at auction. The major part of the collection was glamour and humour cards, some of which have already been featured on here, but as the Wimbledon Championship fortnight is looming I thought I would take the opportunity to put these tennis-related ones up for sale. Aside from the fact that they are very fine photo cards of Edwardian sporting stars, they were also fascinating to do some research on while completing the listings.

I think they are all from around 1906 and include three cards showing men’s singles and doubles finals, with the courts – and especially the grandstands – a far cry from today (I think this is not long before they moved to the current home of the All England Club at Church Road).

The rest are of individuals or a few doubles pairs and include some of the “superstars” of the time. For instance the English Doherty brothers (Reginald and Hugh Laurence) won a huge number of singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon, won the Davis cup numerous times and several Olympic Games titles. Hugh was also the first non American to win the US national title (now the US Open). It is said that they only started losing as their health declined, as both suffered through poor health pretty much through their lives, and Reginald died in 1910 aged only 38, just four or five years after his last major win. His brother Hugh Laurence Doherty won his US crown in 1903 amongst a number of Wimbledon titles, singles and (with his brother) doubles. But he also died young, in 1919, aged only 43, having been invalided out of WWI due to ill health. He had actually given up tennis in 1906 to take up golf, at which he was also a fine player! The brothers were eventually inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980.

Or what about Anthony Wilding, a New Zealander who won numerous Australian and Wimbledon titles (singles champion at Wimbledon 1910,11,12,13), both singles and doubles, and was for a time world number one. He died in WWI at Neuve Chapelle in 1915 (one of his commands was a fleet of armoured Rolls-Royce cars!). He is still remembered in New Zealand and has a foundation in his name – the Wilding Foundation. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.

Another interesting story was that of Karl Behr, a New Yorker who although a decent tennis player (Wimbledon doubles and US championship singles finalist) didn’t seem to have a record anywhere near that of the previously mentioned players, but was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame well before them (but he was American!). His main claim to fame was that he was a survivor of the RMS Titanic, sinking along with his fiancee and a group of other first class passengers. He died in 1949 aged 64.

Behr’s doubles partner in their Wimbledon final defeat in 1907 was Beals Wright, also from the USA, and although he never won a Wimbledon title he did win numerous US national titles and also two Olympic titles at St Louis in 1904. He died in 1961, aged 81, and had been inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1956.

The above are just a few of the highlights from fascinating personal stories from a bygone age. Other names include Norman Brookes (Australian), Sydney Smith, Dorothea Douglass, May Sutton, Dr Wilberforce Eaves (!), Roper Barrett, Alfred Gore, Major Ritchie (his name not his rank!), Otto Froitzheim, Max Decugis and George Hillyard (who later became AELTC secretary and under whose supervision the club moved to their current home at Church Road).

All in all, a fascinating slice of sporting and Edwardian social history and a very enjoyable few hours listing these cards, which are available (if not already sold) on the Reynard Collectables ebay store here.


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