Colchester United’s first ever league match at Layer Road, will go up for auction next month.

About 11,000 fans packed the U’s former ground on September 4, 1937, to see the newly professional outfit draw 3-3 with Ipswich Town in their second Southern League clash.

The programme cost two old pence, equivalent to 1p today.

The professional club had formed in July and played a series of friendlies at Layer Road, as well as a league match at Yeovil, before the opening home league match.

Later that season amateur team Colchester Town, which had played at Layer Road, folded and many of its players joined the U’s reserves.

Despite pessimism from some at the outset, the U’s finished sixth in the league and became an established professional club. Chris Elmy, auctioneer at Lockdales, in Ipswich, said the find was particularly rare because there were very few programmes dating back before the Second World War.

He added: “During the war, there was a paper shortage and many of the football programmes issued up to that point were recycled.”

Mr Elmy said the programme was listed for £50, but could fetch a lot more over the weekend of September 13 and 14.

It is one of a large private collection of football programmes being sold.