Rangers programme from 1948 Benfica clash expected to fetch £1,000 at auction

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Collector Neil Brown, 70, has put the programme up for sale at Glasgows Trades Hall on 10 April.

A 76-year-old match programme from one of Rangers’ first post-war fixtures overseas is expected to change hands for a four-figure sum when it goes under the hammer next month.

The 16-page publication produced for the Ibrox club’s friendly against this week’s Europa League last-16 opponents Benfica in Lisbon on 10 February 1948 will be given a guide price of between £800 and £1,200 when details go live online this Friday ahead of its auction at Glasgow’s Trades Hall on 10 April.

It has been described by auctioneer and sporting memorabilia specialist David Convery as “one of the rarest Rangers and indeed Scottish post-Second World War match programmes in existence”.

Even allowing for the fact the spine has been taped, Scottish football memorabilia enthusiasts forecast that the programme, printed in an era of paper rationing across the world, will appeal to many Gers collectors and fetch significantly more than the reserve price.

It fell into the hands of fledgling Edinburgh collector Neil Brown when gifted to him by his Sunday school teacher as part of a random batch of programmes in the early 1960s.

The now 70-year-old Hearts supporter has no idea how such a rare item made its way back to Scotland following a match – some two and a half years after the end of the war – in which few of a Rangers persuasion beyond team and officials were in attendance.

“When I was 11 years old, my Sunday school teacher found out I’d started collecting programmes and brought in a bag of about 15 old programmes for me,” said Brown.

“I had no awareness at that point that it would be of any value in the future because in those days I was just collecting as a hobby.

“It was only probably in the 1980s, when people started to take a real interest in the value of such things, that I started to realise the significance of this particular programme and how rare it might be.

“I’ve collected all kinds of sport and music memorabilia over the years, such as comics, magazines, vinyl and football programmes, and it has all got a bit out of control!

“It has been fantastic to own such a rare item for so long but I’ve been trying to down-size for some time so now, unfortunately, is the time for it to go and let someone else enjoy it.”

Brown contacted the auctioneers in January and by sheer coincidence his prized programme – with a cover price of 1 Escudo – will be going under the hammer just weeks after Benfica and Rangers were reunited in the Europa League. The two sides are tied at 2-2 ahead of Thursday’s second leg at Ibrox.

Their encounter at Lisbon’s Estadio Nacional 76 years ago was the first ever meeting between the clubs and it represented Rangers’ second post-war match overseas – their first was against the Combined Services in Hannover in October 1945.

Bill Struth’s Gers side defeated the Portuguese 3-0 in front of an estimated crowd of 60,000, with Jimmy Duncanson scoring twice and Willie Thornton also on target.

As a romantic aside, former Rangers player and manager Willie Waddell met his wife Hilda when she was working as an air hostess on the flight to Lisbon for the match.

Rangers programme from 1948 Benfica clash expected to fetch £1,000 at auction

Collector Neil Brown, 70, has put the programme up for sale at Glasgows Trades Hall on 10 April.

A 76-year-old match programme from one of Rangers’ first post-war fixtures overseas is expected to change hands for a four-figure sum when it goes under the hammer next month.

The 16-page publication produced for the Ibrox club’s friendly against this week’s Europa League last-16 opponents Benfica in Lisbon on 10 February 1948 will be given a guide price of between £800 and £1,200 when details go live online this Friday ahead of its auction at Glasgow’s Trades Hall on 10 April.

It has been described by auctioneer and sporting memorabilia specialist David Convery as “one of the rarest Rangers and indeed Scottish post-Second World War match programmes in existence”.

Even allowing for the fact the spine has been taped, Scottish football memorabilia enthusiasts forecast that the programme, printed in an era of paper rationing across the world, will appeal to many Gers collectors and fetch significantly more than the reserve price.

It fell into the hands of fledgling Edinburgh collector Neil Brown when gifted to him by his Sunday school teacher as part of a random batch of programmes in the early 1960s.

The now 70-year-old Hearts supporter has no idea how such a rare item made its way back to Scotland following a match – some two and a half years after the end of the war – in which few of a Rangers persuasion beyond team and officials were in attendance.

“When I was 11 years old, my Sunday school teacher found out I’d started collecting programmes and brought in a bag of about 15 old programmes for me,” said Brown.

“I had no awareness at that point that it would be of any value in the future because in those days I was just collecting as a hobby.

“It was only probably in the 1980s, when people started to take a real interest in the value of such things, that I started to realise the significance of this particular programme and how rare it might be.

“I’ve collected all kinds of sport and music memorabilia over the years, such as comics, magazines, vinyl and football programmes, and it has all got a bit out of control!

“It has been fantastic to own such a rare item for so long but I’ve been trying to down-size for some time so now, unfortunately, is the time for it to go and let someone else enjoy it.”

Brown contacted the auctioneers in January and by sheer coincidence his prized programme – with a cover price of 1 Escudo – will be going under the hammer just weeks after Benfica and Rangers were reunited in the Europa League. The two sides are tied at 2-2 ahead of Thursday’s second leg at Ibrox.

Their encounter at Lisbon’s Estadio Nacional 76 years ago was the first ever meeting between the clubs and it represented Rangers’ second post-war match overseas – their first was against the Combined Services in Hannover in October 1945.

Bill Struth’s Gers side defeated the Portuguese 3-0 in front of an estimated crowd of 60,000, with Jimmy Duncanson scoring twice and Willie Thornton also on target.

As a romantic aside, former Rangers player and manager Willie Waddell met his wife Hilda when she was working as an air hostess on the flight to Lisbon for the match.

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