If your club is lucky enough to have a resident historian or archivist do take a moment this holiday season to thank them for their work. It's because of their passion managing a mountain of facts, figures and critically photos that club histories are possible.
Take 'Bath The Enigma' the history of Bath Rugby Club. It's a massive 400 pages of painstakingly put together information spanning over 150 years of the club's history.
In Bath's case Harry Barstow is the lifelong fan putting the facts together. The history was a real labour of love and he donates all the royalties from the book to Bath Club charities. It's proved to be very much appreciated by the local community.
"I know I am biased but it is generally felt that Harry's book is full of information and peppered with interesting anecdotes" Radley Wheeler - Mayor of Frome
For Sunderland, Keith Gregson has been an archivist for several decades at Sunderland RFC and spent many years creating 'One Among Many - The Story of Sunderland Rugby Football Club RFC (1873 - date) in Its Historical Context'. Keith was a historian at a comprehensive for thirty years and has included a lot of local information in his club history "In sporting history, I am a passionate believer in producing local histories set in a wider context which will help us understand the broader development of sport."
One of the most rewarding things the historians have fed back is the family reactions from finding relatives in the pictures like the one above from Sunderland RFC's team from 1886/87. Archivists try and name as many of the players as possible and are meticulous in creating chronologies of results and key events.
None more so than Patrick Casey and Richard Hale who came together to write 'For College, Club & Country - A History of Clifton Rugby Football Club'. The cover of this book is taken from a postcard of 2 boys kicking a rugby ball over posts at Clifton College. It is postmarked Bristol 22nd April 1904.
Clifton is one of the oldest clubs in the UK and this was the third major history - first 50 years of, then 100 years of, then adding in even more information. "We have concentrated on the its origins - the Founders, the Internationals, the Oxford and Cambridge Blues, the names on the War Memorial and the players and events that have changed the club post-1972, as well as elaborating on what had already been written." Patrick Casey.
So next time you pick up a club history, please raise a glass to the historians and archivists and the thousands of hours that go into keeping the history of our great clubs alive for generations to come.