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Rare Issues ...

One area of programme collecting that has gained rarity value are those produced for matches that were called off. A club programme would have been printed days in advance of the game. Whatever the reason for the cancellation or postponement, the weather would have been the cause in most cases, the publication would have been ready for dispatch. Clubs adopted various courses of action when dealing with postponed match programmes, on some occasions the complete print run was destroyed. Even then it's not guaranteed that a total destruction would have taken place as some still manage to get into the public domain. Another popular practice by the club's especially during the 70's was to save the print run and re-use the programme when the game was re-arranged and just use an insert for the new game with updated information.

Not all of West Ham United's rare programmes are for postponed games. The Hammers European adventures in the mid-60's produced some rarities, the home style programme produced for the travelling West Ham United Supporters Club for the away games and are amongst the more sort after items for the more keen collector as only 200 for each game was produced.


Please Note:

This section deals with those programmes that are "RARE" and does not include those that are simply "Expensive to Buy" such as the 1923 F.A. Cup Final, War-time and Pre-War programmes. Although many may regard these as Rare, they can be obtained if you’re willing to part with serious money. We have tried our best to give a reason for why the programmes are listed. We have also enlisted the help of fellow collectors to try and bring a definitive list together. If you feel we should include any more, please let us know by using the contact link above and a reason for inclusion.

ALDERSHOT TOWN : Carling Cup First Round

Postponed Programme

Upton Park

9 August 2011

Match Postponed on Police Advice

West Ham's Carling Cup game was postponed on police advice due to the continuing riots in London.

West Ham United were asked by the police to postpone the Carling Cup first-round tie with Aldershot Town

The club were contacted the evening before the game was due to take place and told that all major public events in London were to be rearranged because of the need to focus police resources elsewhere. Whilst neither the club or police anticipate any issues around the game taking place, the club had to comply with the police request.

The Club confirmed that Matchday programmes would not be sold to the general public and that all copies were being destroyed.

As we now know a handful escaped the destruction order which immediately catapults this programme into the most wanted West Ham United Home programme of the last Decade.

The Carling Cup First Round tie was rearranged at Upton Park for the 24 August 2011

Common Rearrange Programme

MANCHESTER UNITED : F.A. Cup (Third Round)

Postponed Programme

Upton Park

15 February 1986

Match Postponed

Last one seen sold on Ebay for  £261

The big freeze once more brought English football to a standstill and our home games against Southampton, Manchester United and Ipswich Town all fell victims of the arctic conditions.


The F.A. Cup Third Round tie home programme was not on sale to the general public and all copies were destroyed.

However it seems at least some copies did survive, but not many. One surfaced at Auction in May 2009.

Last one seen sold at Auction for  £496

The F.A. Cup Fifth Round tie was rearranged at Upton Park for the 5th March 1986

Common Rearrange Programme

CHELSEA : Canon League Division One

Postponed Programme

Upton Park

12 January 1985

Match Postponed

Common Rearrange Programme

The Canon League game was rearranged at Upton Park for the 13th April 1985

The snow which fell on England on Sunday 6 January had a domino effect on soccer fixtures, a back-log had already built up to cause problems on and off the field. Over half the Canon League games were deferred on January 12 the day of the Chelsea fixture.

Special arrangements had been put in place for this game and also for the subsequent rearranged date, the South Bank in its entirety was reserved for Chelsea Supporters only. Admittance to the South Bank will be on production of a Chelsea Members Identity Card and no one will be admitted to that part of the ground unless they are in possession of such a card.

The Club regretted the necessity of this action and apologise to those supporters that normally occupy the South Bank but on this occasion they felt it is advantageous to put these arrangements into operation.

With an 11.30 am kick-off time, alcoholic drinks was not on sale at the bars, however, non-alcoholic drinks and snacks were available. West Ham United supporters could only buy seat tickets if they were in possession of two different vouchers which were distributed in the matchday programmes versus Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday.

TRANMERE ROVERS : Football League Cup (Second Round)

74_09_11 Tranmere Rovers v. WHU FLC2

Prenton Park

11 September 1974

Tony Coombes, Tranmere Rovers' Matchday Programme, Club Archivist & Ambassador shed's light on why this programme is on most collectors wants list.

Tony explains; when the programme was originally printed (4,500 copies), a member of the local / national press had published an article within the first edition, criticising the Board, management and the players.

In a twist of fate following the direct delivery from the printers to the stadium, the board (while in readiness for the match) saw a copy of the programme, which then led to all copies of the first edition being immediately recalled on the morning of the game. 

They were subsequently destroyed in their entirety at the printers under club supervision - with a new edition reprinted containing an alternative press article, but only less than half the original print run (2,000) were now produced. Not surprisingly, with limited supplies the programme then sold out to an above average crowd of 8,638 who attended the match. No copies of the original programme exist.   

In early April of the same season, manager Ron Yeats was sacked from his position. Rovers ended the campaign third from bottom in the league table and were relegated along with AFC Bournemouth, Watford and Huddersfield Town to the Fourth Division. 


70_12_15 England Youth XI v. WHU U19s

Upton Park

14 December 1970

West Ham United were asked by The Football Association if the club would play host and provide an Under-19 team to oppose the England Youth XI for this International Youth Trial Match.


There is still some debate surrounding the actual issue of the programme on the day of the match. The programme has no price value on the cover, suggesting it was not on sale to the general public and that it was only available to guests and dignitaries


However it has been reported that the programme was inserted into the bound volumes of the time. Some collectors have also reported that they were included in the "End-of-Season" packs that were sold by Helliar & Sons, but not all packs contained a copy, presumably because of the small print run.


Please note:

The programme is dated 15 December but was actually played on the afternoon before (14th ) due to the power cuts caused by the miners strikes at that time.

COVENTRY CITY :  Football League First Division

70_02_11 WHU v. Coventry City

Programme 11 February 1970

Upton Park

11 February 1970


The Coventry City match was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday 7 February 1970 but was Postponed. The fixture was re-arranged and played 4 days later on Wednesday 11 February 1970. The original Saturday programme was re-issued for the Wednesday game as they were already printed.


However an additional 200 programmes bearing the date of the game Wednesday 11 February were printed and distributed to dignitaries, guests and the media only.

Price realised in Auction May 2009   £120

Price realised on Ebay March 2017 £311

The Football League First Division game was rearranged at Upton Park for the 11th February 1970

70_02_07 WHU v. Coventry City

Common Rearrange Programme

MILLWALL Youth XI :  London Youth F.A. Senior Cup (Semi-Final)

68_04_01 WHU v. Millwall LYC Semi-Final

Upton Park

1 April 1968

The Hammers had a successful Youth side in the 1960s and 1970s. With teams completing in various competitions that no longer exist today. The latter stages of these competitions were held in the stadium of the home First Team instead of the usual training pitches like Chadwell Heath as in the earlier rounds.


The match programmes in most cases were a single-sheet costing just a few pence, the print run in the low hundreds, which in itself makes the programmes from the 60s and 70s quite Rare.


However the game against a Millwall Youth XI 1/4/68 seems to be on most people's wants lists and copies were also missing from end of season sets issued by Helliar, not surprising due to the low print run.

ASTON VILLA : Football League First Division

65_12_27 Aston Villa v. WHU Postponed

Villa Park

27 December 1965



BACK in the 1960s, teams would play each other home and away over the Christmas period. In 1965, the fixture list saw West Ham United head to Aston Villa on 27 December before hosting their Midlands opponents at the Boleyn Ground the following day.


More than 30,000 people turned up at Villa Park to witness a match between two sides battling to avoid relegation. However, the game would last only 30 minutes before the referee was forced to abandon proceedings due to the frozen conditions.


Originally priced at 6d (2.5p), the programme featured a cover photo from the previous season involving West Ham's John Bond and Ronnie Boyce.

The match was replayed on 7 February 1965, with Geoff Hurst and John Sissons scoring in a 2-1 West Ham win.


As with all programmes produced for abandoned matches, the 16-page edition has become a collectors' item.

ASTON VILLA : Football League First Division

65_12_28 WHU v. Aston Villa Postponed

Upton Park

28 December 1965


Despite the inclement weather, both teams travelled to London for the return fixture on 28 December 1965, only for the low temperatures to see the game postponed due to a frozen pitch.

The programme produced by the Hammers for this match-that-never-was contained 12 pages and also cost 6d.


The cover featured the BBC Sportsview Team award trophy presented to the Hammers for their 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup success. Further photos inside from the presentation evening included one of Moore receiving a medallion from the UNESCO Council of Sport and Physical Recreation.

Price realised on Ebay July 2017 £412.01


Following their European Cup Winners Cup success against TSV Munchen 1860 the previous season. The Hammers European adventures in 1965-66 season produced some rarities. The West Ham United Supporters Club commissioned only 200 of the home style programme for each (AWAY) game and given free with their compliments to those travelling supporters.



65_12_01 Olympiakos v. WHU Away Special


(East Germany) 

66_03_16 Magdeburg v. WHU Special Edition


(West Germany)  

66_04_13 Borussia Dortmund v. WHU - Special editio

LEICESTER CITY : Football League First Division

Snow day 02.jpg

The Big Freeze of 1963

The Big Freeze of 1963

Football was virtually put on ice between late December 1962 and March 1963 as ferocious blizzards, drifting snow that reached 25 feet and regular temperatures of -20c made it the worst winter in football history and the coldest since weather records began. The number of postponements even exceeded the great white-out of 1947.

The severe conditions actually began on 22nd December 1962, but worsened on Boxing Day when snow fell heavily in the south of England. 19 of the 46 Football League games were postponed that day with another three abandoned. "Football cut in half" screamed the Mirror headline the following morning

63_11_19 RARE WHU v. Leicester City version

Upton Park

19 November 1963

This is a strange one, and only came to our notice (late 2017).


The match against Leicester City at Upton Park was played on the 16 November 1963.

However, there seems to be a limited number (how many we are not sure) which are dated Saturday 19th November. The 19th was a Tuesday so that's clearly wrong.

On Tuesday the 19th we were playing Swindon Town at the County Ground in a 4th Round League Cup tie.


The most obvious answer, the wrong date (19th) was spotted soon after the print run began. And rather bin those already printed they were released for sale on the date of the game.


Whatever the reason, if you have one dated the 19th it's rare.

63_11_16 WHU v. Leicester City
62_12_26 WHU v. Nottingham Forest Postponed

Upton Park

26 December 1962


Price realised in Auction May 2009   £70

NOTTINGHAM FOREST : Football League First Division

BLACKBURN ROVERS : Football League First Division

63_02_09 WHU v. Blackburn Rovers RARE
Snow day.jpg


Upton Park

9 February 1963

Price realised on Ebay June 2019   £3327.77

The Extremely RARE Blackburn Rovers Programme was printed but not issued to the general public, and only became available in the bound volumes at the end of the season.

FIRST PRACTICE MATCH : Club Colours v. Whites

60_08_11 First Practice Match

Upton Park

11 August 1960

CANCELLED : Waterlogged Pitch

From the late 1920s right through to the 1963-64 season the Hammers held Public Practice Matches at Upton Park before the start of each season.

The 'Pipe-opener' served a two-fold purpose. First and foremost it gave the opportunity to raise funds for local and other deserving charities. The second so that fans can see the preliminaries to the upcoming campaign. The occasion was also used to run the rule over players who are "on trial" for possible places in the senior team.

Although the accent on "practice without injury" during these games it is always a natural thing for the players to "take it easy" when going into tackles, but this is usually compensated for by more goals scored.

The games are normally billed as REDS v. BLUES, or CLUB COLOURS v. WHITES and CLUB COLOURS v. BLUES.


ALL of these Practice Match programmes from the period are considered RARE.


This one in particular is hard to obtain, due to the fact the match was due to be played on a Thursday evening and was Cancelled at the last moment due to a waterlogged pitch.


58_04_21 WHU v. Leyton Youth Andrews Cup

Upton Park

21 April 1958

The Andrews Cup was first donated in 1951 by A.W. Andrews of Chelmsford who was Vice-President of the Essex County and competed by teams in the Forest District Youth League with players in the immediate post school age groups.


The Andrews Cup was played for by teams from across the County and not just teams from the Forest league.


The Under 16½ Competition ran until 1976 being reinstated in 1988 for boys Under 14.


This 1958 final was held at Upton Park but the match programme was not printed by Helliar and Sons

MILLWALL : Southern Junior Floodlight Cup Final

58_02_17 WHU v. Millwall SJFC2

Upton Park

17 February 1958

It has been reported that the only copies seen are those that have been removed from the bound volumes of the time.


Not true, this programme was issued at the time of the game, the simple truth is, it's RARE.


For the record the Hammers won 2-1

BURY : Football League Division II

56_02_04 WHU v. Bury Postponed

Upton Park

4 February 1956


Price realised in Auction £225

The Bury match was postponed because of a frozen playing surface. An interesting point of note however surrounded the rearrange game. Following an agreement by our Lancashire opponents to play the match by floodlight on 19 March 1956 a further postponment was threatened owing to the proposed banning of floodlight fixtures by the Players' Union.


The difficulty was overcome and the fixture took place, to become the first League game played at the Boleyn Ground under "Floodlights".


For the record the Hammers won 3-2

56_03_19 WHU v. Bury

Common Rearrange Programme

LIVERPOOL : Football League Division II

55_01_15 WHU v. Liverpool - Postponed

Postponed Programme

Upton Park

15 January 1955


Last one at Auction realised £500

Ebay: April 2018 realised £599

The weekend of 15th January 1955 was very nearly a "lost week-end", for only the Hammers "A" Team was able to complete its fixture. Games postponed that day included the First Team v. Liverpool, Reserves v. Chelsea, "B" Team v. Dartford, Colts v. Arsenal and Juniors v. Briggs Minors. Unfit grounds due to heavy snowfall caused all the cancellations.


The "A" Team had a prolonged journey to Yarmouth Town for their Eastern Counties League fixture which they arrived late, the kick-off having to be delayed. However, the weather conditions at Yarmouth were more favourable than those met en route, and although the ground was treacherous with a hard top surface and soft underneath there was no snow to provide a further handicap.

55_04_26 WHU v. Liverpool 01

Common Rearrange Programme


49_10_17 WHU v. Glasgow Celtic

Upton Park

17 October 1949

The Friendly game against Glasgow Celtic is worthy of consideration to these pages. The game was billed as a Charity Match with the proceeds to go to the New Catholic School Fund. The club was hoping for a large turn out, an attendance of nearly 10,000 was probably due to the game being played on an Monday afternoon when many would have been at work. The present leaders of the Scottish League were humbled 5-2 with goals from  

Robinson 2, McGrory (og), Woodgate, Bainbridge

Price realised in Auction December 2016  £210

CHELSEA "A" : East Anglian Cup (Second Rond)

49_09_01 WHU v. Chelsea East Anglian

Upton Park

1 September 1949

The match verses a Chelsea "A" side in the East Anglian cup was the only game played at Upton park in this competition which only ran for one season. Both West Ham United and Chelsea were given "Byes" in the First Round.

For the record the Hammers won 3-2 but lost away to Kings Lynn in the next round.

SWANSEA TOWN : Football League Division II

47_03_01 WHU v. Swansea Town

Upton Park

1 March 1947

The match programme against Swansea Town was a hastily printed single sheet due to a combination of factors. The abominable weather at that time which necessitated an extension of the playing season, coupled with fuel cuts and the proposed "ban" on mid-week sport there was also a post war paper shortage.

Price realised in Auction April 2020  £95

The above are what most collectors consider to be "RARE" West Ham United programmes.


I'm sure there are many more that fall into this category, in which case they will be added to the above list.


If you would like to add to the list, make a comment on the content or just about anything Hammers related then please email:  

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