The good, the bad and the ugly of FA Cup Final programmes
1987: Tottenham Hotspur vs Coventry City
A great cup final – underdog victor, ding-dong goal action and Gary Mabbutt’s knee – marred only by the worst programme cover of all time.
A truly nasty piece of street sketch art that looks like it should be getting hastily knocked out for two quid alongside depictions of Bananarama and Danger Mouse and a caricature of Phil Collins in mid-eighties Leicester Square. Uck.
And that's definitely a foul: possibly a card, too. Which is fitting, as this cover also resembles the cards you get every birthday from a distant aunt. Even when you're 35.
1991: Nottingham Forest vs Tottenham Hotspur
Happier memories for Spurs fans – but another godawful cover, with its off-cream colour, gold calligraphy and panel of pictures making it resemble a tedious out-of-print history of the Basingstoke Canal or commemorative booklet for something to do with Prince Edward.
1993: Arsenal vs Sheffield Wednesday
Aargh! My precious eyes! Ian Wright’s epilepsy-inducing shirt, the thunderous Waddler, the squashy discotheque poster font and the casually shouty yellow FA CUP|93 up the side – everything about this is upsetting and wrong.
Perhaps hoping not to cause any more optical distress, the programme for the replay was almost funereal.
2000: Aston Villa vs Chelsea
It doesn’t quite work, but brownie points for trying something different here, as the designers made the front cover resemble a yellowing, olde-worlde newspaper Sunday pictorial special.
Slightly marred by the whacking great team names in the middle and the AXA logo at the bottom, it’s still a nice-looking souvenir, albeit one costing a tenner.
2008: Cardiff City vs Portsmouth
Full disclosure: Haymarket, who also produce FourFourTwo, took over the publication of the Cup Final programme in 2006.
Nevertheless, from an entirely unbiased standpoint, this is a stunning piece of visual art, clearly produced by a talented, handsome and sexually dynamic team of geniuses. See you in the pub later.