'We'll trawl world to bring home Derby County memorabilia'
FOOTBALL is coming home – or, at least, Rams photographs, programmes and relics will be.
That is because members of a new charitable trust have vowed to build the largest collection of Derby County memorabilia in the football club's history.
The idea of creating the Derby County Collection was first thought of about 18 months ago by Rams fans and collectors Andy Ellis and Andy McConachie.
Both already have their own boxes of memorabilia but Mr Ellis said they realised there were plenty more historical items which, over time, had become lost or disappeared from the club.
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Mr Ellis said they then decided to try and find as much memorabilia as possible and return it to Derby – to share with other fans.
The concept has received the backing of the football club itself and among those now involved with the trust are businessman and ex-Rams director and current honorary vice-president Don Amott, former Rams star Roger Davies and historian Richard Felix.
Derby County Collection trustee Mr Ellis, 51, of Ladybank Road, Mickleover, said they hoped to create "the single, largest collection of material about the club".
He said: "The club has nearly 130 years of history but, if you walk into Pride Park Stadium, there's not much there to say that's the case.
"But that's not because the memorabilia doesn't exist – it's just that, over the years, though nobody's fault, these items have been taken away or just gone. And what we want to do, quite simply, is pull it all back together.
"In the short-term, we want to start cataloguing and recording what we already have and put it into temporary storage.
"But our ultimate aim is to organise permanent or temporary displays to share what we can pull together – with the possibility of creating mobile exhibitions to take items to schools."
Members of the Derby County Collection have listed 52 categories which items would fit into, including old programmes, tickets, trophies and silverware, badges and merchandise.
Mr Ellis said, in the process of setting up the trust, visits were made to see the collections of other football clubs and to the National Football Museum.
He said they had also done extensive research about the Rams memorabilia which was out there.
Mr Ellis said: "We've found that there are things out there up for auction which should have never left the club, such as board meeting minutes from the 1890s.
"So we're always trawling through the catalogue of auction houses, locally and nationally, so we don't miss anything.
"In some cases when we find memorabilia, we may not be able to buy items or the owner may not wish to part with them permanently.
"So, we'll be looking to see if we can organise a loan agreement with them – so the items can be seen as part of the bigger picture.
"But we're looking for all sorts of things – for example, Steve Bloomer's caps have not been seen in Derby since the 1990s. It would great for people to see them."
In the next few days, the trust has permission to rummage through a storage unit belonging to Derby County, to see what items could form part of the collection.
As well as their own memorabilia, members of the trust have also recently bought relics at auction to add to the collection.
These include items belonging to former Rams player John Robson – who died in 2004 – photographs from Raymonds news agency and some rare programmes.
Mr Ellis said: "We are a charitable organisation so this will not be about making money.
"But, when we find items which are duplicates, are not required or just don't fit with anything, we'll be looking to sell those in order to purchase things we do want.
"We'll also be looking to attract external funding, like lottery funding, sponsorship or grants to help us."
Mr Amott said: "It was a great honour to be asked to be involved in this – I have some things I can add to the collection."
Anyone interested in finding out more can visit www. derbycountycollection.org.uk