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Business housing more than a million football programmes still needs a buyer

PUBLISHED: 14:54 20 February 2019

Steve Earl is still looking for someone to take over his Steve Earl Football Programmes business. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Steve Earl is still looking for someone to take over his Steve Earl Football Programmes business. Picture: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

A football memorabilia dealer is still looking for someone to buy his unique business - containing more than a million matchday programmes.

Steve Earl is still looking for someone to take over his Steve Earl Football Programmes business. Picture: Sonya DuncanSteve Earl is still looking for someone to take over his Steve Earl Football Programmes business. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Steve Earl, owner of Steve Earl Football Programmes, decided to put the mail order business up for sale last year after more than 48 successful years of trading.

The last five decades have seen endearing souvenirs worth thousands of pounds pass in and out of the Bungay premises, but Mr Earl says the time has come to move on and is looking for another football fanatic to take the reins.

Steve Earl is still looking for someone to take over his Steve Earl Football Programmes business. Picture: Sonya DuncanSteve Earl is still looking for someone to take over his Steve Earl Football Programmes business. Picture: Sonya Duncan

But the never-ending collection of copies from matches including European classics and cup finals remains stacked up at the Broad Street base, waiting to be given a new home.

“I had somebody who was very interested last year - a German chap who lives in Hungary - and he actually came over twice to visit me and take it all in,” he said.

Programmes from the 1966 and 2018 World Cup finals. Picture: Sonya DuncanProgrammes from the 1966 and 2018 World Cup finals. Picture: Sonya Duncan

“We had pretty much agreed on a price but unfortunately he couldn’t raise all the money in the end. He’s still interested so we’ll have to see what happens.

“Plenty of others have been interested as well but the problem for a lot of people boils down to the storage space.”

Steve Earl is still looking for someone to take over his Steve Earl Football Programmes business. Picture: Sonya DuncanSteve Earl is still looking for someone to take over his Steve Earl Football Programmes business. Picture: Sonya Duncan

One of rarest programmes in Mr Earl’s hoard is from the 1973 European Cup Final contested between Ajax and Juventus, thought to fetch about £4,000 with just 400 copies in existence.

His oldest copy is from the 1921 FA Cup final, while the charming programme for the 1950 World Cup final is among his favourites.

One of rarest programmes in Steve Earl's collection is from the 1973 European Cup Final contested between Ajax and Juventus. Picture: Sonya DuncanOne of rarest programmes in Steve Earl's collection is from the 1973 European Cup Final contested between Ajax and Juventus. Picture: Sonya Duncan

The Norwich City season ticket holder stopped monitoring the size of the collection when it hit a million copies and, while he waits patiently for the right buyer, business must continue as usual.

“I’m still carrying on with buying in new stock,” added Mr Earl, who believes there is significant potential for the business to grow online. “Programmes have been coming in all season and this week I’m getting in copies for the upcoming Carabao Cup Final.

Steve Earl is retiring from Steve Earl Football Programmes and is looking for someone to take over the business.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Steve Earl is retiring from Steve Earl Football Programmes and is looking for someone to take over the business. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

“Although I’d like to move on, I’m looking to carry on with some of the old stuff which I’m more sentimental about and is not quite so heavy going.

“I’m just not sure anyone has the space to accommodate everything!”

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