Thursday 4th August 2016

WHEN Graeme Robertson took over as Sons View editor, things were different.

Pictures were a rare treat rather than a right. Everything had to be done a week in advance due to print deadlines. When it was done, it was hand written and posted in.

And advertising wasn’t just a way of making money for the programme – it was the only way.

Now it is one of the best programmes in the Ladbrokes SPFL Championship (details of what’s in it this season will follow later in Sons 24), with Graeme heading a team of volunteers to produce an enjoyable matchday read.

The Edinburgh man, a lifelong Sons supporter, made his debut as editor for Alex Wright’s testimonial against Manchester United in 1991.

The best part of 500 issues later, the programme occasionally adds a few grey hairs. But it’s been a pleasure for programme enthusiast Graeme, and he can at least remind himself that in bygone days, the process was more difficult.

Graeme said: “The toughest time was probably in the late 1990s, when the club was in its later years at Boghead.

“From having a glossy programme, which did a steady job, constraints meant we had to rely on a photocopier, lots of hours spent typing, and once again no photographs.

“In those days the club was around the bottom of the old Third Division and things took their toll on everybody, including those involved with the programme.

“But we managed to pick things up again in time for the departure from Boghead, and produced one of my favourite issues for the last-ever game there.

“We also produced full-colour, larger-size editions for the first game at the new stadium, and for the official opening against Rangers.

“Then, in 2002, everything changed. The Sons Supporters Trust stepped in to help fund the project, we had more photographs supplied, called in printers and a new era for the programme began.”

Graeme, who collects Dumbarton and Scotland programmes, is once again in charge this season as the matchday publication goes from strength to strength.

He’s never been paid a penny for his efforts, with Monday evenings often a write-off these days to get editions finished.

But he added: “There isn’t an edition in the last 25 years I wouldn’t have wanted to work on. Not even during the days in the bowels of the Third Division.

“I took it over in 1991 as a way of helping the club deliver a product which I have enjoyed collecting for most of my life.

“It has been a pleasure to watch it evolve into the all-singing, all-dancing publication it is now. The relationship between our media team and the dressing room is a strong one, which only adds to the quality of what we can produce.

“Last season we were fourth in the Championship in the awards judged by Programme Monthly. One of the clubs who finished ahead of us is no longer in the league this season.

“We’ll be doing our best to finish third, at least, but we’ll see what the new boys – Dundee United, Dunfermline Athletic and Ayr United – can throw at us.”

Join the debate @dumbartonfc and #sons24

Andy Galloway

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