Aldershot Town Programme Editor, Victoria Rogers, admitted her surprise at receiving the Football Conference Programme of the Year Award for the second time on Saturday.
The Award, also won in 2014, was announced at the Football Conference Annual General Meeting at the Celtic Manor Resort in South Wales, and Rogers said: “It was a really unexpected but fantastic surprise”.
The Shots – a full-colour, 64-page matchday magazine – is produced by a team of eight, led by Victoria, and also features contributions from the Club’s Academy and Youth Department, Supporters Trust and Community Foundation. The final product is the result of many hours of planning and copywriting.
“I would say somewhere in the region of at least 20 hours, although it varies slightly,” she surmises on the time spent on each edition. “It would be safe to say that page layouts, copy commissioning and gathering, and deadlines are always in the back of my mind on a daily basis, and it is a rare day that goes by during the season when I don’t actually do anything towards a programme.
“Emailing people, writing copy, contacting opposition clubs, phoning players to arrange interviews, liaising with the Club’s Commercial Department and advertisers, there’s always something to do!”
Modestly, Victoria is quick to thank the team who work on each edition. “They all provide their services freely and generously,” she stresses. “It would be wrong not to name each person so here goes: Tommy Anderson, Dan Blake, Craig Matthews, Jack Rollin, Pete Stanford, the Supporters Trust, Graham Brookland, Janet Guess, Rob Worrall and, of course, Ian Morsman, whose photos enhance so many pages.
“Thanks also go to the Club Directors, manager Gary Waddock and captain Callum Reynolds. Finally, Daniel Parker, the designer at Duplexity Artwork and a man who, whatever I throw at him and however tight the deadline, is always calm and unflappable.”
The rigours of a 51-game season are felt not just in the players but also by an Editor who has to react to postponements, re-arrangements and, at just three days’ notice, Play-Off semi-finals.
“I used to think that home football matches came once every other week,” admits Victoria, ruefully, “but this job has certainly put paid to that idea. In October there were no less than four programmes which needed to be produced, including three in a period of 11 days. It is a huge challenge when you are working on two or more programmes simultaneously, to make sure that the right copy appears in the right programme.”
Such awards, whilst deserved recognition for a job well done, also create pressure to maintain standards – a challenge that Rogers is happy to meet.
“There is always room for improvement, no matter how well you think you may have done, in any line of work. For this coming season we need to aim even higher, with new features, new layouts and design, and even closer attention to detail – all the kind of things that hopefully will encourage supporters to keep buying the programme and, hopefully, catch the judges’ eye again this time next year!”
Dare we ask, even at the height of summer, with the new season still two months away, about her plans for next season?
“We will be getting together soon to discuss the 2017-18 programme. I’ve got some ideas going around in my head, although I have to admit to enjoying a bit of a break from deadlines over the last few weeks! My aim is to retain some of the articles that I think people enjoy, freshen up some others, and start to work out who might supply what articles, both old and new, in the coming season.
“Whatever we decide, I know we will all be working to ensure that the 2017-18 programme is one that everyone will want to read – and hopefully we’ll see a few more Sold Out signs by the programme sellers too.”