As a fervent Blue Nose (that's an Everton supporter in case you're football illiterate) I'm very excited that Thursday sees the launch of The Everton Collection website; the most complete treasury of football memorabilia in the world. And if you're a supporter of another club or social history buff you should be excited as well as the collection isn't just about Everton Football Club. This is the history of football told through the story of Everton.
The collection is made up of over 18,000 items of football memorabilia, dating back to the founding of the club in 1878, itself a founder member of The Football League. Programmes, medals, tickets, transcribed ledgers, trophies, boots, shirts, contracts, cash books and photographs all feature and are now available to browse online. It features the earliest programmes of many clubs including Manchester United (then Newton Heath), Celtic, Aston Villa, Derby County, Bolton and Blackburn, and many of football's rarest artefacts.
I've had a sneak preview and think the transcribed ledgers are my favourites. The minutiae of life in the days before TV deals and big money transfers is fascinating. Players late for training because they missed their bus is a far cry from today's industry.
The collection will be launched with the major new exhibition at Liverpool's Central Library, ‘Everlution: The Everton Collection’. There's also a series of talks by Peter Lupson on topics such as joint Everton and Liverpool programmes, the birth of the football league and the man who many claim was responsible for that famous split that created Everton and Liverpool football clubs.
I should point out that my interest isn't totally partisan. The new Museum of Liverpool will be featuring many objects from the collection in the Creative City gallery, using the pieces to tell the story of Liverpool and its people.