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$20 for a program

It had been around one shilling for nearly 20 years until the advent of decimal coinage in 1971 when it doubled to 10p. As recently as 1981 it was less than a £1 and in 1987 it was only £2. However, the increases came thick and fast during the last decade and a half, from £3 in 1990, £4 in 1991, £5 in 1994 to £8.50 in 2006.

It is a far cry from Wembley's opening day in 1923. That 3d (penny) piece of paper is now sufficiently collectable that it can reach four figures at auction.

The opening paragraph refers to prices for the match-day program of the FA Cup Final, which will be played on Saturday. This year's program costs £10. Most of those buying it won't be collectors, that seems certain.

The FA is a non-profit, governing agency for English Football. They are "making nice" by claiming that £1 of the sales price will be donated to a charity, The British Heart Foundation. I presume that the FA understands the state of the market for Cup Final programs (and cups of coffee, at £2.50). It all suggests to me -- especially with the charity tie-in -- that people at the game in the modern era are basically throwing money away, and that the FA's prices are the vacuum cleaner that sucks in the cash. Is throwing money away at the big game integral to the celebration?