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The extensive private collection of outgoing Rugby Football League Chief Executive Nigel Wood is to form the basis of a new national archive of Rugby League programmes.
The archive features over 20,000 Rugby League programmes, collected by Nigel over the last 40 years and is now freely available for all to use at the University of Huddersfield’s archive facility, Heritage Quay.
Nigel has been an avid programme collector since he was a schoolboy and has entrusted his collection to Rugby League Cares, the independent charity that preserves and champions the game’s rich heritage.
His collection includes more than 600 home programmes from each and every long-standing professional club, as well as rare and historic programmes from internationals, representative games and one-off fixtures.
“I began collecting programmes as a young boy and it’s a passion that’s never left me,” said Nigel. “A large part of the collection starts in the 1960s and 1970s and recently I have been trying to fill in the gaps and bring it up to date.
“I think it is really important to celebrate our heritage and capture our history as accurately as possible, and hopefully the National Rugby League Programme Archive will be a rich source of material for researchers, historians and everyone interested in the history of the sport.
“I am indebted to Rugby League Cares and the University of Huddersfield for assisting in the creation of the archive and to the many volunteers who are continuing to catalogue what will be the most comprehensive collection of matchday programmes to be made available for public perusal.”
Rugby League historian, Professor Tony Collins, said: “This is a phenomenal collection that is a treasure trove of the game’s history. As well as rugby news, the advertisements and features in these programmes give us a valuable insight into the social history of the game and its communities.
“It’s a wonderful resource for fans, family historians, students and everyone else interested in Rugby League and the people who made it.”
Professor Tim Thornton, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Huddersfield, said: “We at Heritage Quay and the University of Huddersfield are proud of our connection with Rugby League and are delighted to be able to develop our work on the sport’s heritage further as guardians of Nigel Wood’s impressive collection of programmes.”