The issuance of matchday admission tickets is something of a rarity for clubs outside the top four divisions of English football. For the likes of Horsham the simple practice of exchanging, say, a cloakroom ticket for the appropriate entry fee is deemed a sufficient and uncomplicated way of recording attendance figures. There are, though, the occasional matches where crowd numbers need to be controlled through advance ticket sales and, when that happens, collectors are keen to snap up these items of record not, in most cases, for any long term investment gain but simply to retain a small piece of their club’s history.
The first known incident of tickets being produced for a Horsham match was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the visit of Swindon Town in 1966. With the buzz of England’s famous World Cup triumph still in the air, the popularity of the national game had rarely been higher so when, just a few months later, Horsham reached the first round ‘proper’ of the FA Cup for only the second time in their history it seemed the whole town wanted to see the match. With a capacity of eight thousand set on the advice of the local police force, tickets were printed and sold via a number of outlets in the town as well as the club itself and a few of these, barely three inch square, pieces of card are still in circulation today, kept by those fans who want a reminder of when they were among a record Queen Street crowd.
It was almost three decades before tickets exchanged hands at another home match, this time for the visit of Crawley Town in another FA Cup tie – as were the well-attended matches against Maidenhead United and Swansea City in 2007. Sadly, large crowds are few and far between for clubs in the lower reaches of the footballing pyramid although, in recent years, we have been fortunate to have hosted the reincarnation of former Football League clubs Aldershot Town and AFC Wimbledon, both with a large following, while Team Bath also issued a record of our fourth qualifying round meeting in 2002.
In the past a small number of clubs, usually those whose ground is the focalpoint of the town’s sports centre, have been required to issue a temporary membership ticket upon entry while others have chosen to produce their own personalised admission slip.
A collection of Horsham tickets, issued both home and away, can be found here