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Journalist’s ‘treasure trove of football history’ fetches £25,000 at auction

A former regional daily journalist’s collection of sporting memorabilia has sold at auction for a combined total of more than £25,000.

The collection featuring 25 boxes of memorabilia was owned by Gerald Mortimer, who was Derby County Football Club correspondent for the Derby Telegraph from 1970 to 2002.

Top lots included a letter signed by Derby County players in 1973 asking for the reinstatement of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor as managers, which sold for £4,000 from an estimate of £600-£800.

Gerald, who continued to write for the Telegraph until 2013 before his death the following year, had been so close to Clough that he had actually been asked to type out the manager’s resignation letter to the club’s board.


Derby County purchased some of the lots on offer – including a directors’ minutes book from 1888, pictured, and a supper card from the club’s golden jubilee celebration in 1934, which was signed by eight players including legendary turn-of-the-century England international player Steve Bloomer.

The former sold for £4,000 after going to auction with a guide price of £1,000-£,2000, while the latter went for £400 after being given a guide price of £100-£150.

County’s supporter liaison officer Grace Vivian, who bid successfully for the items, told the Telegraph: “I’m delighted. Both these items are a vital part of our club’s history and Derby County wanted them back.

“The minutes book has been missing for more than a century. The items will be put on display at the ground for fans to see and enjoy.”

Another lot, a 1976 match programme from County’s match against Greek club AEK Athens, sold for £1,800 from a £300-£400 estimate.

The programme was rare because many copies of it are said to have blown away after being placed on seats on a windy day.

The auction was hosted by Hansons, in Etwall, Derbyshire.

Alistair Lofley, sports valuer at Hansons, said: “These were incredible results for some incredible memorabilia.

“I was astonished when I started to look through Mr Mortimer’s archives. There were so many rare items. It was an absolute treasure trove of football history.”