(first published in the match programme for St. Mirren v Livingston, 14th December 2019)
York C. v St. Mirren 1971
Quite often, as a result of editorial and printing constraints, Clubs have produced “double issue” programmes to cover successive home games within a short period of time.
The earliest double issue involving St. Mirren was in 1971, when York City’s 12 page programme covered the pre season visits of Saints and Hibernian. The number of occurrences increased throughout the 1980s, especially when festive holidays added to the pressure for programmes to be produced well ahead of the fixtures. Morton’s programme for the 1983 New Year’s clashes with St. Mirren and Kilmarnock was the first to include the Buddies in the league. By the 1990s, midweek cup ties and weekend League games were being covered in a single issue, an example being East Fife’s August 1997 programme for the visit of St. Mirren in the Challenge Cup and Stenhousemuir in the League. By the 2000s, as many as three or four matches were being covered by one issue for St. Mirren’s away trips to Blackpool, Lincoln City and Accrington Stanley.
In recent years, the earlier start to the season has seen the early rounds of the Betfred Cup take the place of friendlies, and more and more teams have taken the opportunity to produce double issues for their two home League Cup Sectional matches.
By its very nature, the double issue was less topical and, as they were unchanged in format and size from the normal production, they devoted less space to each opposition team. Visiting supporters of the second match could be excused for feeling that such programmes were no more than a gap filler for their collection.
Aberdeen v St. Mirren 2000
In 2000/01, Aberdeen tried to buck this trend when their “bumper festive issue” for the matches against St. Mirren and Hearts provided a larger than normal page format and increased number of pages. However, the attempt spectacularly backfired when the weather intervened to postpone both fixtures. Normal sized issues were subsequently produced for both rescheduled games later in the New Year.
St. Mirren v Livingston 2015
St. Mirren have only produced seven double issues so far, the first of which was at the 2005/06 Christmas period for the visits of Clyde and Brechin City. In contrast, their away trips have seen them be included in no fewer 31 multiple issues. None of these are particularly difficult to obtain, so it’s a suitable subject for a relatively small and interesting programme collection.
Saints’ most unusual double issue was in August 2015, when they faced a Tuesday League Cup tie, followed by a Saturday League match – both against Livingston! Issue number 3 of the 44-page A5 sized programme was no different to other issues of the season, but was on sale for both matches. After introductory notes from the Manager and Marketing Matters, there was an article on the Football Experience, the ever popular “Football Bloody Hell” and the Matchday Gallery from the previous week’s game. There followed four pages on the West Lothian visitors, Buddies Stop Press and News Desk. The centre page spread featured Calum Gallagher. The Disabled Supporters Association. SMISA, Fan’s Corner, Saints in the Community and Team Lines were interspersed with action photos of previous matches against Dumbarton and Morton and adverts occupied the remainder of the programme. All in all it was a packed issue, well worth the £3 price tag.