Football treasures set for auction

When Colin Nelson began collecting football memorabilia the beautiful game was just entering its golden era.

When Colin Nelson began collecting football memorabilia the beautiful game was just entering its golden era.

During the 1960s the Norwich youngster would spend hours hanging around Carrow Road and the city's hotels in a bid to catch a glimpse, or hopefully an autograph, of his heroes.

Over the years the boy fondly nicknamed "Ginger" by Norwich City players collected a wealth of autographs, books, newspapers and stamps of which any football fan would be proud.

The collection he lovingly built up in albums pored over during the summer holidays and on rainy days includes autographs and programmes of England's 1966 victorious World Cup team.

Now aged 55 and a grandfather, Mr Nelson wants to find a new home for his collection, including Norwich City memorabilia, which is to go under the hammer at Horners auctioneers at Acle on May 19.

Mr Nelson, who now lives in Lowestoft, began collecting football memorabilia at the age of eight after being inspired by teachers at George White junior school in Norwich.

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"It was the FA cup run of 1958/1959 and the school got everyone to listen to the match on the radio," he said. "We were part of a team that was doing really well and it was an inspiration.

"Football was in its heyday and I would think nothing of going to the training ground to get the players' autographs. They would never refuse you. They considered themselves role models.

"I loved Ron Davies, he was my hero. I had his autograph more than 30 or 40 times over. The players recognised me and used to call me Ginger. They would pat me on the head and ask 'how many pictures have you got for us to sign today?'"

Mr Nelson's collection includes cigarette cards from the 1920s and 1930s, the first Carrow Road handbook from 1935 and a mass of football annuals from the 1950s and 1960s.

"In those days it wasn't expensive to collect these kinds of things," he said.

"I had newspaper clippings, programmes and Soccer Star magazines. The magazine had a boy's club section for pen friends and you could exchange your programmes with others around the country. In later years I went to antique and collectors' fairs.

"When the World Cup was on in 1966 I kept all the newspapers. I never thought they would be worth anything. In the 1960s it was also pretty common to get on the team coach. All the players would talk to you and sign autographs. Back then footballers had a personal connection with the fans.

"The fans are the greatest asset to any club. Norwich has always been a family club and it is one of the best."

Mr Nelson hoped the memorabilia would be bought by local people.

"I will be a bit sad to see it all go, but I must not get sentimental," he said.

"I want these things to go to people in Norfolk and north Suffolk. I want to feel they are going to the right homes."

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