Episode 1. The first instalment. The beginning of this gruelling but fulfilling enjoyment of spending all our money on little packs of stickers to collect and complete the Russia 2018 book. Fucking 80p for a pack now is ludicrous, by the way.

The excitement started from the minute of waking up on 22nd March. Not only was it sticker day, but the sun was shining and, in typical student fashion, we were heading out that night *insert David Brent GIF here*. A superb day for all included.

The Sticker Showdown got off to a flyer, albeit not for me. Robson gathered the World Cup trophy shiny in pack 1, whereas the best I got from the six packs was Andres Iniesta. And yes, I’m quite fond of Don Andres but, I imagine, by the end of the process, I will have swapped him for a random Saudi Arabian or South Korean player multiple of times. A host of players came our way, ones we knew and ones we didn’t but that did not matter; the fun we had was at large.

Of course, no team completions within the first week but some large movements in what can only be described as a long, upwards climb from here. Robson is currently leading due to me being weird and keeping an unopened pack for nostalgic purposes, but to be honest, I’m gonna buy a 7th this week to make up for it ‘cos I can.

Follow us on Instagram here to keep up to date with #StickerShowdown and join in the fun.



IT IS FUCKING HERE. A date has been revealed for the greatest thing ever invented: the Panini sticker book. Change the saying from ‘sliced bread’ to ‘Panini sticker collecting’ cos that is how good this is.




The school playground was a cruel environment where an ethos of survival of the fittest reigned – if you didn’t want to take part, then look the other way. Before we knew about the words capitalism or economics, we practiced their principles. Our currency wasn’t on the FOREX though, it was little bits of paper, much like other currencies, that weren’t tied to a nation-state, but given value that, to those on the outside could seem arbitrary. To those trading them, the value was directly tied to current events as well as prestige and exclusivity.

Panini stickers ruled the playground for years. Piles of dog-eared footballers would make the trip to school with us every day, held together by desperate elastic bands that were turning white at their most overstretched points. Once the book was filled, if we even bothered, we could show off and swap what we had. Phrases that were perfectly suitable, but nonetheless primitive jargon, entered our lexicon. Doublers and shinies, or stickers you had two or more off and ones that shone, were the making of a young person’s position in the school’s pecking order.

Since their inauguration in 1978, the Panini sticker album has been a phenomenon that transcends generational trends. Popular mainly among young boys, due to both their more widespread infatuation with football and proclivity to collect things – the stickers became an institution, a rite-of-passage that was eclipsed only by playing football itself.

Modena – the home of vinegar, Ferrari, Lamborghini, opera singer Pavarotti and Panini stickers. It all began at a newspaper kiosk run by brothers Benito and Giuseppe. Although they didn’t begin with football stickers, they were immediately successful. The debut year of business, 1961, saw 15 million packets of stickers sell. The North of Italy has always been the industrial capital and this ease-of-access to space and machinery helped their operation expand considerably. The following year the duo’s two other brothers, Franco and Umberto, joined their new family – that’s when it began to take off. A few years later they had the idea to move into football stickers. They didn’t look back.

If you venture up into your grandparent’s loft, they’re bound to have a dusty box with one of these early albums from your dad or uncle, stored somewhere between old match-day programme’s and a box of Subbuteo. They are part of football’s Holy Trinity of Cult Collectibles, and importantly, beyond the object itself, they carry nostalgia-inducing stories that are both personal to you, but with universal elements – the folk-tales of childhood, well worthy of future sociological study.

As would be expected, there are enthusiasts, and with that, the acknowledgement of particular years in the collection’s history.  In particular 1983, the first year that players were photographed in full kits. Considering the re-emergence of the retro sportswear fetish, the opportunity to admire whole kits from back when ‘shorts were short’, made this a vintage year for Panini. Remarkably though, thanks to a couple of player’s mischief, it was also the last year of the experimental format. Swansea City’s attackers Bob Latchford and Alan Curtis posed for the pictures in socks and slippers respectively. Fans were happy. The board wasn’t.

Such idiosyncrasies are what people yearn for now. As our contemporary embodiment of Panini stickers is the FIFA Ultimate Team pack, their contemporary uniformity can’t even touch our pre-tech excitement. The computer game franchise cleverly use a heart-stopping reveal sequence when showing the players you’ve got and videos online show the excitement (or rage) when people get the players they want (or don’t), but I would offer my opinion that nothing was more exciting than saving up your pocket money to buy as many packs as you could, before tearing them open on your bedroom floor. The trick was to be careful enough not to rip any cards whilst repeating the ones you wanted to get – a list of which existed in your head at all times.

Got it, got it, got it, need that one. It sounded out like a mantra spoken aloud by young footballing shamans when flicking through your mate’s stack, exercising the laws of supply and demand in the playground market. You’d announce when you were getting some more packs after school that day only to return the following day like a celebrity, with friends asking what ones you ended up getting to see if you could help them – not that they had to ask, you knew who they needed too. Some stickers tended to be popular while others were a little rarer, driving up their value.







If you believe that Panini evenly produced and distributed each sticker, then it’s fair to say that geographical differences were the deciding factor in certain cards scarcity. Growing up in Glasgow would make it a lot easier to find Hibs and Hearts players to trade – any Celtic or Rangers doubler would be used as decoration for schoolbooks and beyond. Some of these mysteriously near non-existent stickers had a gloriously ephemeral quality – the footballing shiny Charizard. If my memory serves me it was Gazza at Rangers, Henrik Larsson at Celtic and the shiny version of all of the club’s crests – they were peelable gold, a truly invaluable hand of cards.

Without the internet, this was the way we got to know squads and statistics, most of which we could name off by heart fairly early on into the season. Any stadium’s capacity or club’s year of formation was tattooed onto our brains – it was the gateway drug to a lifetime of footballing addiction. It isn’t fair to bash everything that came before now. Everyone’s childhood is a treasure-trove of memories. Endless days and nights kicking a ball around the park, the legendary free-kick you scored or the time you took it past four of your mates before chipping the keeper in the unforgiving rain. We all have our own memories like these, but that’s the beauty in Panini stickers, they’re a memory that we all have in common – and one that we always will.


By Edd Norval.


eBay is bloody brilliant and for fans of the game like us, delving into the wonders on the site gives us a shit tonne of excitement in our lives. Why? Because of the vast amount of random collectable stuff that no-one needs but everyone wants.

Hats. They’re a weird and wonderful fashion accessory. Some look cool on people. Some don’t; take Mario Balotelli’s mad glove hat thingy for example. If worn in the right way, with a decent outfit, hats can make or break a person’s look. However, we’re not here to give fashion tips to you guys but to showcase something boss from eBay.

A double episode (you lucky bastards) this week, bringing you two styles of hat allowing you to choose depending on what you prefer. Here we have two hats, both Japan/Korea 2002 World Cup specials but one is a bucket hat and one is a cap. Two fucking good hats with two different styles.

First, the bucket hat is a Coca-Cola merchandise piece in collaboration with the 2002 World Cup. A definite must if you enjoy rockin’ bucket hats or if you just like to collect shite like I do. A delightful red base with the two logos on and a big ‘2002’ down the side. Black rim. Wonderful.






Second, the cap. A tan number with a simple design. Logo spanked right in the centre on the front, showing people exactly what you love which is football. ‘World Cup’ on the back. Why wouldn’t you pay the international shipping? You’re very lucky living in the US with this one, free shipping?! Aye, please.





Buy em here: Cap. Bucket.


eBay is bloody brilliant and for fans of the game like us, delving into the wonders on the site gives us a shit tonne of excitement in our lives. Why? Because of the vast amount of random collectable stuff that no-one needs but everyone wants.

Board games are a wonderful thing. They bring families closer and more together during Christmas time and game nights. Or that was a load of lies and they cause mass arguments and, if it’s Monopoly, we spend the next few days finding little houses around the place following an outrage moment where the board was flipped across the room.

However, this isn’t a piece focusing on the playing of the board game but more of the board game itself. I bring to you, in this edition of ‘The Collectables’, a special edition 2006 World Cup Monopoly board. Each property featured is a country participating in the World Cu, with the ‘Chance’ cards being ‘Referee’ cards and ‘Community Chests’ becoming ‘Manager’ cards. Player figures become football related, with the one everyone wants to be being a golden boot. The houses are stands and the hotels are stadiums. A delightful acquisition for any hardcore football nerd who also loves a bit of Monopoly on the side.

There are many different versions of Monopoly relating to football, whether that be club versions or one focusing on world football stars but the coolest versions of the game come from the World Cup, 2006 and 1998 tournaments being the best of the bunch.

Buy your versions here.


*special thanks to Harry Smith for the photos*


eBay is bloody brilliant and for fans of the game like us, delving into the wonders on the site gives us a shit tonne of excitement in our lives. Why? Because of the vast amount of random collectable stuff that no-one needs but everyone wants.

Everyone dreams of lifting the World Cup but 99% of us won’t do it. But what if I told you that you could do it? Well, here we are, me telling you there is a possibility of lifting a World Cup trophy. All you have to do is fork out £39.95, wait a few days and then you can live out your fantasy of lifting the Holy Grail without none of that “working hard to follow your dreams” shite.

This edition of The Collectables brings you a full-size World Cup trophy replica, an investment I urge you to follow. I’ve got one myself and it filled a gap in my life I didn’t know existed.

Check out the listing here.


eBay is bloody brilliant and for fans of the game like us, delving into the wonders on the site gives us a shit tonne of excitement in our lives. Why? Because of the vast amount of random collectable stuff that no-one needs but everyone wants.

ProStars. A major aspect of any football fan’s life from 1995 to c2008 and still are. Any collector of football shite or the REAL football fans still adore these little figures and this is why we have brought you this eBay listing.

From Ronaldinho to Lazio Gazza to Diego Maradona, this listing gives us a cool (albeit brief) selection of players to choose from and at a very reasonable price as well. If you don’t go and buy every single one of these, we will(well, maybe not Blackburn version of Lorenzo Amoruso).

Check the listing here.


eBay is bloody brilliant and for fans of the game like us, delving into the wonders on the site gives us a shit tonne of excitement in our lives. Why? Because of the vast amount of random collectable stuff that no-one needs but everyone wants.

This edition of ‘The Collectables’ series brings us an all-time fan favourite, the Panini stickers. A magnificent sidedish of the major tournaments that get us a bit more involved with the action.

The World Cup in 2006 was a very interesting one. Miroslav Klose finished top scorer of the tournament (of course he bloody did) but this was the lowest total to win the Golden Boot since 1962 and no other player scored more than three goals. Despite the group stages seeing only five goalless draws, the goals dried up in the knockout rounds. Pretty shite, huh? Then you’ve got the whole England vs Portugal controversy and to be honest, I’m still a bit upset to talk about how they got Wayne Rooney sent off and then we went on to miss about a billion penalties to lose. Moving on…the tournament received the most yellow and red cards the World Cup has seen, breaking the record of the 1998 tournament and there was one significant card that became an iconic one; Zinedine Zidane in the final. Of course, you all remember that but we’re not here to delve into why the Frenchman decided to plant a nut into Marco Materazzi’s chest and what would have happened if he didn’t, we’re here to talk about something that matters: fucking Panini stickers.

I bring you a delightful addition to your collectable set, it is not a complete set of the Germany 2006 World Cup collection but a sealed box of 100 packets. Something I’d most definitely leave unopened and untouched if it was me purchasing this myself. The box pretty cool design, especially with one of my top World Cup balls being only slightly shown. A nice little collectable to put on your shelf or keep away until you have children or grandchildren and you can pull it out and show them what stickers are instead of the mobile app version they’ll be using. Sounding all “back in my day” and AMF here for fuck sake, apologies.

At a nice figure of £27.57, you can purchase this and lighten up your life a little bit. Pick up this collectable on eBay here.


eBay is bloody brilliant and for fans of the game like us, delving into the wonders on the site gives us a shit tonne of excitement in our lives. Why? Because of the vast amount of random collectable stuff that no-one needs but everyone wants.

Welcome to Episode I of ‘The Collectables’; a series that saves you trawling through eBay for that week to find something to add to your random shite of football memorabilia and collectables. Fuck the shirts for this series, this is about the Subbuteo, the Corinthian ProStars, the World Cup-themed Coca-Cola/Budweiser bottles, the tournament caps, the Panini stickers and everything else that we love for no other reason than because it’s cool as fuck and football related.

In this first edition of this series, I bring you something I cannot bloody afford but something I would love to own. Coca-Cola is a brand I heavily relate to the World Cup,  especially when every tournament their adverts are plastered everywhere around the world. They’re a pretty cool brand when it comes to the world’s biggest spectacle due to their merchandise offering some incredible collectable items that you should all consider having in your life. Below is this collection of limited edition bottles, each assigned to a different country from the 2006 World Cup in Germany. France, Australia, Angola, Brazil and Japan have all been paid tribute to with these collector’s items.

Each bottle is labelled with ‘We Speak Football’ in the countries language. One world, one game.

Add this to your life now before I somehow do.

LATEST PICK-UP: Panini South Africa 2010 World Cup Collection

The first instalment of ‘Latest Pick-Up’ comes with an explosion of personal nostalgia alongside a huge bang with an (almost) complete collection of the Panini stickers from the 2010 World Cup.

This tournament occurred during my high school years meaning most of my time was spent away from studying and focused on the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Steven Gerrard, Sergio Busquets, Rafael Marquez and of course Siphiwe Tshabalala take to the pitches of South Africa. A tournament full of emotions with England being mediocre as always, Spain winning the biggest tournament in the world through an extra time goal from Andres Iniesta and the annoyance of just how frequent people decided to blow into those fucking Vuvuzelas. Away from the pitch, the purists were collecting Panini stickers but for me, I’ve arrived late to the party. As always, I started the collection for the tournament but failed to keep it up throughout hence why I have decided to return to it and finally complete it.

Alongside the world coming together to watch what happened on the pitch, we collected the stickers and listened to K’Naan’s ‘Wavin’ Flag’ (in association with Coca-Cola of course) whilst kicking a ball around at our local pitch and then went home and played the video game (which you can read about here). It’s how we live through the World Cup.

After weeks searching through the depths of the wonderful E-Bay, I finally came across a seller offering 500 stickers, four unopened packets and an album for a reasonable price so of course, I jumped at the chance.

Maybe one day I’ll eventually stick them all into the album but until then, the pile will sit on my desk as I bask in its glory.