A Ranger's Fanaticism: Tony Collins and his Rare Programme Collection
Tony Collins has been a loyal supporter of the Rangers football team since he first attended a game at Ibrox Stadium in 1981. Along with his passion for the club, Tony has developed a love for collecting programmes and has amassed an impressive collection dating back to before he even started attending matches.
Tony's collection came to public attention when he began sharing scans of his old programmes on Twitter, particularly responding to the account "On This Rangers Day." Intrigued by his collection, we spoke to Tony to learn more about his passion for Rangers and programme collecting. Read the Q&A!
Early Memories of Supporting Rangers
Tony's first match was in 1981 when his father took him to see Rangers play Hibs at Ibrox. Despite the team's poor performance, they won 3-0, and Tony has been a loyal fan ever since. His first Cup Final was in 1983, where Rangers played Aberdeen, and despite it being his birthday, the team lost 1-0. Tony laments that the team has lost on his birthday every year since, but there's hope that the curse has been lifted after Rangers defeated St. Johnstone last season.
Record-Setting Programme Collection
In a 2010 interview with BBC Alba, Tony revealed that he had collected every home programme from 1977 onwards, an impressive feat that still stands today. Tony has held a season ticket since 1987, and on the rare occasion that he can't make it to a home game, he always finds a way to get a programme, even if it means enlisting the help of friends.
Tony also shared that there's a collectors' community within the Rangers supporter base, and over the years, he has made connections with other collectors who help each other out. They've created Facebook groups and meet up at Ibrox pre-match to fill in gaps in their collections. While Tony mainly focuses on programmes, he also has a variety of other Rangers memorabilia scattered around his house.
A Museum-Worthy Collection
Rangers fans have long discussed the idea of a museum to showcase the club's extensive history and memorabilia. Tony believes that his programme collection is more extensive than anything the club currently has and has offered his services to the club many times. However, until space is created for a museum, he'll continue to hold on to his collection. Tony has visited many club museums over the years and notes that while they showcase plenty of memorabilia, they often don't display everyday programmes.
Favourite Programme Era
When asked about his favourite era of Rangers programmes, Tony stated that he believes the current programme is excellent, with fascinating articles. He also praised last year's programmes, which had different retro-style covers for each match and were in a unique book format.
Stadium Tour of SPFL
Tony has visited most of the stadiums in the Scottish Professional Football League but has yet to make it to Stranraer, Berwick, Annan, and Ross County, the furthest away ones. He's passed by a few others but hasn't attended games there. Tony recalls that when Rangers were in the lower divisions, it gave fans the opportunity to visit grounds that they otherwise wouldn't, such as Stenhousemuir, Montrose, Brechin, and Alloa. Some games were memorable, while others were forgettable, but the experience was always worth it.
In conclusion, Tony Collins is a dedicated Rangers supporter who has created an impressive programme collection. He's made connections with other collectors and is always on the lookout for missing programmes. His passion for Rangers and programme collecting is something to be admired, and his collection is a testament to his devotion to the club.