The oldest surviving GYTFC programme dates from 1927-28 although it is believed earlier issues were published. (If any reader can throw any light on this, or indeed have earlier copies, please get in touch.) This issue is a single folded sheet of thin paper of a brownish-yellow colour (this may be a factor of its age). The cover shows the club's headquarters to be the Duke's Head on Hall Quay (a public house which closed in 2010), and carries advertisements for "Jenkinson's Taylor & Outfitters" and "Bretts The Reliable Furnishers" (both now long gone); the latter advertises a suite of bedroom furniture in "Solid Mahogany" for the princely sum of £23/19/6d (£23.97½;)! The programmes were numbered which presumably relates to the £50 per week prize being offered by the local paper of the time, The Yarmouth Independent, at the top of the cover page; this would have been a considerable sum at the time, considering the afore-mentioned furniture price. The page size was irregular and varied from season to season, with the height-width ratio being greater than that of the modern A4 size. No price was advertised. For the following season, the £50 prize disappears off the cover!
This style of cover, with variations in colour and size, continued until the Second World War. After the War, a footballer graphic was introduced and the programme was published by the Supporters' Club at a cost of "TWOPENCE", that is 2d not 2p! The programme consisted of eight pages. In 1951-52, the price increased to 3d.
Between 1952-53 and 1954-55, the programme had a more classy cover which still featured a footballer but with a deep yellow colour being prominent in the design as befitted the club's registered colours. The price was still 3d.
The 1955-56 edition goes back to a less expensive publication, the footballer has gone AWOL and the cover lists the club's officials - interestingly, the Chairman is shown as Harold Holmes, a builder who started Holmes Builders, a business which is still flourishing in 2011 and is a current sponsor of the club. The copy in existence is numbered 3178 - it is unknown whether this is continuous numbering through the season or is just for this fixture, but attendances were regularly in the low thousands at that time!
The graphic footballer, who looks remarkably like Roy Hollis, a former player who went on to represent Norwich City, returns for the next two seasons, but for the five seasons after that the programme reverts to a style similar to those pre-war issues but without any graphical matter and consisting only of advertisements below the club's heading which also includes the match opponents and date.
1964-65 saw the introduction of an A4 sized issue which continued in size and style for at least the next eleven seasons. The cover featured two competing cartoon-style footballers as the central graphic with advertisements in the four corners of the cover. Initially in an orange-yellow colour this became progressively weaker until in season 1974-75 the cover was in plain old white though it reverted to yellow the following, 1975-76, season. Again, initially introduced at a price of 4d this became 2p when decimalisation was introduced in season 1972-73 but soon rose to 3p in 1973-74.
1980-81 saw a new design but in plain black on white; the two players were back but in more modern kit (short shorts for example)! This again featured advertisements above and below a central panel which listed the club principal officers. No price is quoted on the cover. The same design but on yellow paper was used in 1981-82.
1982-83 saw a radical departure in design, and for the next eight seasons a newly-designed club badge featured strongly on the cover which was printed on glossy paper for the first time, another radical move. The first season in this style was dominated just by the badge but in 1983-84 the badge-size was reduced and a new breed of footballer introduced. He, however, was soon relegated and four consecutive seasons featured a drawing of the old grandstand produced by Pat Page, a council employee.
Another new cover design in 1988-89 again featured the club badge and the grandstand drawing, separated by a black "V" on a strong-yellow background with a white border.
The 1989-90 cover saw the same two main elements, but in reversed positions, and featured the match details in a central white panel all on a totally yellow background. From a cover price of 3p in 1975 the cost had now rocketed to 25p.
Until now, the match programmes had been published with the major effort of the club' various secretaries over the years but this now changed and 1990-91 saw the first use of "Bloaters Bulletin" for the programme, having been thought up by Brian Bunn, the first dedicated programme editor. For this season, and this season only as it turned out, the club was run as a Limited Company in a bold but ultimately doomed move by Chairman Derek Needham and a b/w photograph of the directors featured strongly on the programme cover. The club's playing kit reverted to the old style black and amber stripes and the programme cover mirrored this. The match details were once more included and the price was now 30p.
Season 1991-92 saw the first-ever full colour cover featuring a deep yellow background with the town crest in its splendid red/blue/gold/silver design and a photograph of the grandstand. A white box was left for the match details. With what seems a now-annual increase, the price rose to 40p.
The next two seasons saw a less-ambitious cover and programme, no longer glossy and no longer full colour but still displaying the match details. The grandstand drawing made a re-appearance on the yellow-coloured card cover which declared "WELCOME TO THE WELLESEY" but not "Bloaters' Bulletin". No price is indicated.
Season 1994-95 programmes were designed and printed by then-club secretary Mike Capon. The cover was dominated by an action-drawing of a player pursuing a ball and also included the town crest and the price of 50p but not the day's match details. The publication was labelled "Matchday Programme" and again not "Bloaters' Bulletin".
Seasons 1995-96 and 1996-97 were again produced by Mike (under the pseudonym "St Margaret's Press", presumably because he lived in Ormesby St Margaret) but featured a new specially-commissioned player drawing plus the town crest, all in black on a yellow background. The price remained at 50p.
With the emigration of Mike to North America, Gerry Brown took over programme production and his first cover depicted a celebration of the club's centenary year. In a representation of the club's striped kit, the cover featured a striking design of black edge strips to left and right with a central deep-yellow panel which included a photograph of the first-ever team of 1897 with the Norfolk Senior Cup which they had won in the club's inaugural season, a photograph of a newly-designed centenary blazer badge, the match details and - for the first time - a sponsor's logo. The purchase price moved on to 70p!
Season 1998-99 saw the (temporary) loss of a glossy cover and much of the yellow colour as a card cover was provided free of charge by a friendly local cash 'n carry company. A footballer and the town crest were both incorporated in a rather static design that once again featured "Bloaters' Bulletin". Match details were shown, and the price increased to 80p.
From now onwards, the programme cover is a full-colour production; the next three seasons issues were produced in-house (literally, on Gerry's kitchen table) with some rather imaginative cover designs produced and printed in consultation with professional printers in Cheshire, Vibrant Graphics who lived up to their name! Detailed descriptions are unnecessary as the full glory can be viewed in the photo gallery but two points are worth making. (1)The photographs on the 1999-2000 cover were taken by editor Gerry, while those on the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 edition were from various Eastern Counties Newspapers photographers with the final design of the latter being a triumph of Vibrant Graphics. (2)The 2001-2002 cover featured a contents list with page numbers (for the first time). The price remained at 80p until 2001-2002 when it reached £1 where it has remained (almost) ever since.
The editor's personal circumstances now prohibited the use of his kitchen table and for the following seven seasons the club utilised the services of Norfolk company Barnes' Print who specialised in producing match programmes for local clubs at no cost to the clubs; the cover, interior design and advertising were in the hands of managing director Simon Barnes with the clubs supplying photographs, other club graphical material and editorial copy. Until 2007-2008 the Barnes' Print cover did not include the matchday details and only until that season did it include "Bloaters' Bulletin" which was then dropped for reasons which remain obscure. Most of the photographic material for these covers continued to be supplied by Gerry, and from season 2008-09 the cover featured a different photograph each edition, mostly action shots from recent matches, and hence the covers shown for these seasons are only representative.
New printers were found for season 2009-2010, Roberts of Loddon, and the design of the cover and interior reverted to the club (ie the editor, still Gerry). With the aid of his new camera, Gerry supplied regular player action photos for the covers with some photos sourced elsewhere.
Season 2010-2011 saw another new printer found by new club Commercial Manager Carl Harding who assisted Gerry with supplying photographic material, with the cover photograph again changing for each edition until early in 2011 when the 118-year old grandstand again became regularly featured. For the first time, the programme interior was printed in full colour, accompanied by a price increase to £1.50, but consumer resistance and low attendances, leading to low sales, made these changes uneconomic/unsustainable and in January the programme reverted to b/w interior with the cover price back to £1.
Click below to view available programme covers