THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

18 March ~ It was with images of a playground ritual fresh in my mind that I made my way to the newsagent one lunchtime recently. The words "Got. Got. Need. Got. Got. Need," rang in my ears. The joy of swapping the utterly psychotic-looking Trifon Ivanov for dapper Jorge Campos during USA 94, replaced by the exchange of Toni Polster for José Luis Chilavert, four years later. Imagine my horror then when I ripped open the packaging of the Panini World Cup 2010 sticker album to find what amounted to little more than a colourful ring binder.

Gone are the halcyon days when the book contained a double-page team spread with rectangular guides to show you where to put the stickers, gone are the stickers of the stadiums, the same goes for a list of the group fixtures and woe betide the ignorant wretch who doesn't know the players' date of births or clubs.

More disgraceful than this is the fact that there aren't even cards for every team – no North Korea, no Mexico, no South Korea, no New Zealand, no Algeria, no Chile. And notice too I used the word card because now there aren't even any stickers. Instead I was faced with this Top Trumps-style monstrosity called Adrenalyn XL, obviously dreamed up by a team of Nathan Barleys over skinny lattes in a Starbucks somewhere. In France 98 there was a reason, to do with image rights, that certain teams were only photographed in their tracksuits. But this? This is just nonsense.

To me there is something beautiful about the sticker. The care and attention that goes into lovingly getting the sticker perfectly into the rectangle, which is no mean feat. The feeling you get when swapping a journeyman Cameroonian for Roberto Baggio. And probably the crème de la crème, the wonder of getting that first glimpse at a "shiny". But no. Not in the world of Adrenalyn XL. A despicable world where the "Star Player" is king. "Fan's Favourite"? Another phrase beginning with F springs to mind.

I for one, and I know I'm not alone, will be mourning the passing of the humble sticker this summer. Because I certainly won't be joining in with the "soccer" fans who think this is acceptable behaviour. Adam Bushby

Comments (11)
Comment by Admin2 2010-03-18 12:04:12

UPDATE. Panini have been in touch to reassure us that a regular World Cup 2010 sticker album will be out in the UK very soon.

Comment by LaVecchiaSmoggie 2010-03-18 12:37:30

As much as I was an avid Premier League sticket collector (each completed in its own binder), international tournaments would be a cause for panic. A three month window to waste as much of your mum's money as possible on stickers everytime you visited Smiths, desperately trying to get to the '50 from completion' milestone so you could 'send off'.

It was certainly a challenge and would often prove tragic, as the tournament would pass by, leaving one forever yearning for Bulent Korkmaz so Turkey could 'win' the Euro 96 'sticker league'.

Comment by denishurley 2010-03-18 14:31:47

Orbis World Cup 90 was the daddy of sticker albums

Comment by manandvans 2010-03-18 14:43:51

"A three month window to waste as much of your mum's money as possible on stickers everytime you visited Smiths, desperately trying to get to the '50 from completion' milestone so you could 'send off'."

'Sending off' was a form of cheating to me. Acceptable only as a last resort and any completion should have a Roger Maris type asterisk next to it.

Comment by markcurtains 2010-03-18 23:56:02

Orbis World Cup 90 was an absolute behemoth of a collection, I ruined mine when I bought a box of ring reinforcers from Smith's. Had to transfer half the pages to another binder as it became too thick. I never completed the stickers bit so Panini Football 87 remains my one and only complete collection.

Comment by RayDeChaussee 2010-03-19 08:03:53

"UPDATE. Panini have been in touch to reassure us that a regular World Cup 2010 sticker album will be out in the UK very soon."

That's as maybe but AdrenalynXL is a step in the wrong direction. Where will it all end?



Comment by The Exploding Vole 2010-03-19 14:26:43

When did they become a grilled sandwich?

Comment by soccereye 2010-03-21 16:04:47

Dear WSC.,
What short memories. Wolves of the 1950's had wingers that could switch & play on either wing when two footedness was the order of the day - Hancocks & Mullen then Wagstaff & Hinton.
There has been no better crosser of a ball than Alan Hinton even to this day. Cloughie knew what he was doing when he signed him for Derby County.
A major tactic in the 1982 World Cup for Italia was Bruno Conti to play him on the "wrong side" of the pitch to exploit the weakness of many defenders weaker foot.

Comment by soccereye 2010-03-21 16:09:35

One of the best promo items were were slide chart made by Megeaprint of London. Every major company from Coca-Cola to Paddy Power to MasterCard use them to promote both the World Cup & their product you can carry them in your pocket.

Comment by George: Hofmeister bear 2010-03-22 00:15:49

All hail the Orbis 'World Cup 90' collection! I purchased all the parts and completed the ring binder but neglected the sticker side of things due pocket money constraints. I lent it to a schoolfriend in the mid-90's and never saw it again - in fairness it was in a bad state by then. I wonder what happened to it?

Comment by matthewsouls 2010-03-23 21:42:29

I know for a fact that this is one of the best nostalgic pieces of writing I've read in years. I'm getting nostalgic just thinking back to the last time I read such a nostalgic piece.

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