Rare football programmes reveal amazing story of how Lowestoft captain turned professional

A 1950 photo of Norwich City FC's Johnny Gavin.

A 1950 photo of Norwich City FC's Johnny Gavin.

A rare 60-year-old Norwich City programme and an even rarer 116-year-old Lowestoft programme are expected to fetch hundreds of pounds each when they go under the hammer this month.

The 1898 Lowestoft v Aston Villa football programme.It features, in the top right hand corner, a pic

The 1898 Lowestoft v Aston Villa football programme.It features, in the top right hand corner, a picture of Lowestoft captain William Beatton. - Credit: Archant

Both programmes feature tragic players who subsequently lost their lives – two Manchester United players in the Munich Air Disaster, and the Lowestoft captain – who was killed at the Battle of the Somme.

The Canaries programme was produced for the Norfolk and Norwich Charities Cup match between Norwich City and Manchester United at Carrow Road on May 5, 1954. While it cost six old pennies at the time, it is expected to sell for between £250 and £350 at Graham Budd Auctions in London on Tuesday, November 11.

At the same auction, a single sheet programme which cost one old penny at the Lowestoft and Kirkley match against Football League champions Aston Villa at Crown Meadow on February 28, 1898 – and which is thought to be the oldest surviving Lowestoft football programme – is expected to fetch between £300 and £500.

The Canaries programme was produced for the Norfolk and Norwich Charities Cup match between Norwich

The Canaries programme was produced for the Norfolk and Norwich Charities Cup match between Norwich City and Manchester United at Carrow Road on May 5, 1954. - Credit: Archant


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NORWICH CITY PROGRAMME

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Norwich City beat Manchester United 2-1 in the 1954 Norfolk and Norwich Charities Cup match watched by a crowd of nearly 9,000.

Tommy Taylor and Liam Whelan were two of the Manchester United team who played against the Canaries in the game. They were killed in the Munich Air Disaster four years later on February 6, 1958.

The Canaries' goals were scored by Liverpudlian Alan Woan, whose son, Ian Woan, later played for Nottingham Forest and who made his Football League debut for Forest on January 2, 1991 against Norwich at Carrow Road. Ian Woan is now assistant manager at Burnley.

The Canaries' team for that 1954 match against Manchester United included Norwich City's greatest striker, Johnny Gavin, whose 122 league goals for the Canaries is still a club record.

This was the Canaries' line- up: Ken Oxford, Denis Morgan, Bill Lewis, Roy McCrohan, Reg Foulkes, Bert Carberry, Johnny Gavin, Bobby Brennan, Tom Johnston, Alan Woan, Peter Gordon.

LOWESTOFT AND KIRKLEY PROGRAMME

After winning the Football League Championship and the FA Cup in 1897, Aston Villa were officially the best team in England when they travelled to Crown Meadow to take on a combined Lowestoft and Kirkley side for a friendly on February 28, 1898.

Villa won the match 6-0, but they were so impressed with the performance of Lowestoft captain, William Buckingham Beatton, that they asked him to join them. Beatton politely turned down the best professional side in the country, preferring instead to remain at Lowestoft where, a few weeks later in 1898, he inspired them to win the very first Norfolk and Suffolk League championship.

Beatton did join Aston Villa the following November, becoming the first Lowestoft player to be transferred to a professional club.

He later returned to his beloved East Anglia and became a fishmonger at Aldeburgh, Suffolk. He and his Lowestoft-born wife, Maggie, had a daughter, also named Maggie, who was born in 1901.

When the First World War started in 1914, Beatton joined the seventh battalion of the Suffolk Regiment and was killed at the age of 38 at the Battle of the Somme on September 12, 1916.

He is buried at Agny Military Cemetery in France.

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