Aldershot Town Programme Editor, Victoria Rogers, admitted her surprise at receiving the Football Conference Programme of the Year Award on Saturday.
The Award was announced at the Football Conference Annual General Meeting at the Celtic Manor Resort in South Wales, and Rogers said: “I didn’t know the Club were even in contention for this award! It made it even better to find out that Aldershot Town had won. It was a really unexpected but fantastic surprise.”
The Shots – a full-colour, 64-page matchday magazine – is produced by a team of 12, led by Victoria, and also features contributions from the Club’s Supporters Trust and Football In The Community Trust. 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, Dan Boardman, Kevin Knights, Craig Matthews, Owen Roberts, Jack Rollin, Pete Stanford, the Supporters Trust, Kirk Wheeler of FITC, Rob Worrall and, of course, Ian Morsman, whose photos enhance so many pages.
“Thanks also go to the Club Directors, manager Andy Scott and captain Craig Stanley, Steve Gibbs, Bob Green and Richard Petty. Finally, Mark Hall, the designer at Indigo Press and a man who, whatever I throw at him and however tight the deadline, is always calm and unflappable.”
The rigours of a 53-game season are felt not just in the players but also by an Editor who has had to react to postponements, re-arrangements and, at just three days’ notice, FA Cup replays.
“I used to think that home football matches came once every other week,” admits Victoria, ruefully, “but this past season has certainly put paid to that idea. In March there were no less than four programmes which needed to be produced, along with two supplements for postponed matches. 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.”
Satisfaction comes, of course, from consistency and quality, but one edition from 2013-14 stands out for Victoria. “The edition that was produced to celebrate Frank Burt’s 100th birthday was probably the one I was most pleased with. In a lot of ways it was very different to the usual programme, being primarily about Frank, but his family were delighted with it and I received a lot of excellent feedback from many people, which was very gratifying.”
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 2014-15 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.
“One thing that we will be including is a reflection and commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, something which is very important and relevant to the town of Aldershot.
“Whatever we decide, I know we will all be working to ensure that the 2014-15 programme is one that everyone will want to read – and hopefully we’ll see a few Sold Out signs by the programme sellers too.”