One of the oldest and rarest Watford football programmes which cost just one old penny when it was issued nearly 100 years ago when Watford was a non league club is expected to fetch up to £400 when it is auctioned in London on Wednesday, May 10, three days before the FA Cup final.

The black and white programme is for the Southern League match between Watford and Fulham on March 23, 1907, which was played just ten years after the Hornets turned professional in 1897.

The programme gives the team line ups and also features prominent advertisements for Freeman, Hardy & Willis Ltd, of High Street, Watford, who supplied football boots to the team; and for the aptly-named tailors and outfitters, Creese & Co, of Market Place, Watford.

Watford were then playing their home matches at Cassio Road. It would be another 15 years before they moved to Vicarage Road, in 1922; and another 13 years before they became a Football League club, in 1920.

When Watford played Fulham in 1907, during the reign of King Edward VII, they were managed by a famous figure named John Goodall, who helped make football history 18 years earlier, in 1889, as a member of the great Preston North End team, known as The Invincibles, the first team to clinch the Double, winning the FA Cup and the Football League title in the same season.

Goodall (1863-1942) also won 14 England caps and managed Watford for seven years, from 1903 to 1910.

He later retired to Watford and became a familiar figure strolling along the High Street with his pet fox on a lead.

The valuable Watford v Fulham programme is being sold by Graham Budd Auctions at Sotheby's Olympia in London on Wednesday, May 10. At the same auction, a copy of the 1889 Preston versus Wolverhampton FA Cup final programme the match which future Watford boss John Goodall and his team mates clinched the Double for Preston is expected to fetch up to £10,000.

[From the Watford Observer website, uploaded on April 28, 2006]

For more stories from the Watford Observer's archive, go to our Nostalgia section by clicking HERE