FOOTBALL lovers will head for the fifth annual Auchinleck Talbot Football Programme and Memorabilia Fair this weekend.

The event takes place in the Talbot Social Club at their Beechwood Park ground on Sunday, November 18, between 10.30am and 1pm.

It is the longest-running fair of its kind in Scotland, and for the first three years was the only one in the country after a gap of almost 10 years.

Enthusiasts come from all over the country to browse and fill gaps in their collections ­— Fair organiser John Holroyd explained the fair's popularity.

He said: “I suppose it’s because it’s small and friendly. You can have a good talk with all the very knowledgeable stallholders about what’s on offer, and the prices aren’t as high as you’d find with some of the bigger dealers in the country, so there’s the potential for the odd bargain to get picked up as well.”

Talbot's new programme and memorabilia hut is proving a big success at the ground, as well as sales of donated items online.

John added: “I try not to use Ebay too much due to their pricing structure, but over the years I’ve built up quite a sizeable contact list of folk who look for lots of different clubs.

"It’s much more personal doing things that way and it has also given me further outlets. I run three different online Facebook sites including the Scottish non league Programme and Memorabilia site which now has nearly 600 members, and therefore a market for saleable items.

"I also run the page, Auchinleck Talbot a Living History, where fans of the club can look back at the club’s history, and have recently set up with a friend in Irvine the Ayrshire Junior Football History, which has really taken off. It also keeps memories and memorabilia in the public eye

“I’m still amazed at the amount of stuff I still get donated every home game, and it’s unusual for me not to get something that I know I can sell as soon as I go online when I get home”

Over the years, the fair has been well supported by the stallholders, most of whom have had a stall since the beginning.

At just £15, it is cheap to rent a stall while John will be manning the nostalgia hut throughout the fair.

Just before last year's event, he revealed they had just broken through the £10,000 barrier of sales, all of which is ploughed back into the Beechwood Regeneration scheme.

This now stands at over £12,500 so the money raised from the fair will help propel the total towards the £13,000 mark, something John hopes to achieve by the spring.

“It’s a lot of money for a Junior club to generate without having to lay out any money in the first instance. I organised a fair up in Inverness last month, and although the takings weren’t great it did mean an extra £100 in the kitty that wouldn’t have been there otherwise, after my travel expenses had been taken care of," he added.

While there will be a wide variety of programmes from the 1940s onwards, big match, internationals and others, John says non-league items sell best.

He said: “The junior game is changing, and it’s conceivable that in a decade or so it might not exist. It’s a grade of the game that many thousands of people still love with a passion, and they also like to have mementos of that love, and that’s where the programme comes in.

"Our run in the senior Scottish Cup this year has been an exceptional area of collecting for junior fans, and all five of our ties so far will be on sale at the Fair”

John will also provide a free valuation service on the day in the programme hut inside the ground, a bit like the Antiques Roadshow. So if you have anything you might think to be valuable bring it along to Beechwood to find out for sure.