Thanks for the memories, especially when it comes to Manchester United

Somewhere, maybe in the loft or even in the garage, I still have souvenirs tucked away of my early visits to Charlton Athletic matches while still a short-trousered schoolboy, writes ERIC BROWN.

There are plastic badges with tiny photographs of my early playing heroes stuck on, enamel club badges, rosettes, programmes and all sorts of other mementos I no longer even look at.

Goodness knows what happened to the wooden rattle and the bobble hat. I never thought for a moment some of this stuff might have a value years down the line.

Charlton Athletic goods might not be worth much but similar items from the bigger clubs certainly attracts collectors willing to stump up their hard-earned cash.

There’s such an interest in Manchester United memorabilia that super-collector Iain McCartney has written a book about it.

BEST OF ALL (Allsport Hulton/Archive)

McCartney, who runs the Manchester United collectors’ club, once splashed £70 on a club blazer worn by Ryan Giggs. George Best items are always sought after. These range from jigsaws and magazines to cuttings and signed photographs. His funeral service card and a menu card from the 1968 dinner to celebrate his election as Footballer of the Year are popular.

Delving further back often pushes up the price. Anything relating to the players lost at Munich and to the great Duncan Edwards in particular can fetch a decent price. A well-preserved copy of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly magazine for March 1958 is a real treasure. Produced before the Munich tragedy, it features a front cover colour picture of Edwards.

One of Mr McCartney’s specialities is collecting newspapers and cuttings related to Manchester United. Anything about the crash is collectible, particularly the Manchester evening papers with first accounts of Munich, simply saying that the aircraft carrying United players had crashed and some passengers were feared dead. He also has large collections of the now lamented Pink ‘uns and Green ‘uns sold on Saturday nights around the country but now sadly mostly defunct.

There’s such a market for some of these items that many have been forged and reprinted by unscrupulous operators so buyers beware

Programmes are among the most numerous souvenirs. A copy of the Arsenal-Manchester United programme for a match staged days before Munich will be sought after. The programme for United’s first post-Munich game against Sheffield Wednesday with blank spaces where the players names  is a poignant collectible.

There’s such a market for some of these items that many have been forged and reprinted by unscrupulous operators so buyers beware.

McCartney’s fascinating book may be small but in years down the line it could become a big collectors’ item itself.

Manchester United Collectibles by Iain McCartney is published by Amberley Publishing priced £14.99.