A RARE piece of football history from one of Hartlepool United’s most famous games is set to go under the hammer.
A match day programme from the 1957 FA Cup tie between Hartlepools United, as they were then known, and Manchester United signed by many of the “Busby Babes” has been unearthed.
It is attracting strong interest from both sides of the Pennines ahead of an auction of football memorabilia next month.
The original four-page programme is signed by several members of the famous Man Utd squad, some of who died the following season in the Munich air disaster.
It has an estimate of £100-£150, but auctioneers say it could go for more.
John Wilson, of Methusela Football Auctions, said: “The programme came from a local collector who has had a bit of a clear-out.
“It was quite a special game for Hartlepool. The programme even without autographs is quite collectable, but with autographs like Matt Busby it is going to be quite an interesting piece for someone to own.
“We have already had quite a bit of interest. A lot of Manchester United collectors will probably be after it.
“I think it will certainly go for three figures, but you never know.
“A few of the guys who signed it unfortunately didn’t survive the Munich air disaster and some of them didn’t sign again.”
The programme is signed by Man Utd’s manager Matt Busby and players Roger Byrne, Bill Foulkes, Billy Whelan, Mark Jones, Dennis Viollet, Eddie Colman and David Pegg.
The match at the Victoria Ground on January 5, 1957, attracted Pools’ biggest ever crowd of 17,264.
Hartlepool came back from 3-0 down at one point to level the match at 3-3, before eventually losing 4-3.
A number of other Hartlepool United programmes from the 1950s and 60s and rare memorabilia are also up for sale in the auction.
They include a Hartlepool United Supporters Club card dating from 1938 plus a menu and two tickets from the supporters club’s first annual dinner dance in 1948 signed by several players of the era.
Four Hartlepool United share certificates, three issued in the 1960s and the other in 1991, also form part of the sale.
It takes place at The Marton Hotel and Country Club in Middlesbrough on Thursday, November 1, at 1pm.
Viewing takes place from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
l Are you the programme’s orginal owner, if so contact the Mail’s newsdesk on (01429) 239380.