“Got, got, got, NEEEEEED!”
Football stickers were the currency of the playground when I was a kid, they might still be now, I don’t know, or maybe Bluetoothed happy slapping videos are the things swapped nowadays. Anyway, nothing ingrains a team’s players onto a schoolboy’s consciousness than the mugshot on a sticker you’ve just bought or swapped, I can recall the 1986 St. Mirren defence and West Brom’s odd no-smoking logo sponsor patch because of Panini stickers, and no doubt kids in Diss, Bognor and Devizes know who Kamil Zayatte is because of the 2009 stickers.
They’re not made by Panini anymore though, the rights to Premier League cards and stickers is currently owned by New York’s Topps Company Inc. who’s line of gum backed player portraits is given the name Total Football 2009 and first appeared in newsagents on January 15th. A packet of six stickers costs 40p and there are 480 to collect, of which 24 were City related.
The four pages devoted just to City had spaces for 21 stickers, 18 player mugshots, one team photo and two shinies, the club crest and a ‘star player,’ an accolade given to Geovanni. The standard player cards had points for each player rating them on technical abilities, the keeper is judged on clean sheets, saving and performance while defenders and midfielders are graded on tackling and passing as well as performance. For strikers, they were assessed on dribbling and shooting in addition to performance. These ratings allow you to play a sort of Top Trumps with the stickers, odd really, as Topps ‘other Premier League product Match Attax is primarily a card game based on Top Trumps.
As well as the 21 City page stickers, there are 3 other Tigers related adhesive cards that feature later in the album. The home and away kits of each team have their own sticker, and City players appear in the Quiz and Milestones sections at the middle of the album. Deano is the answer to the question ‘Which Hull City player will celebrate will celebrate his 40th birthday this season?’ and Ian Ashbee’s unique distinction of being the first player to captain a side in all four professional divisions is noted in Milestones.
No doubt dads throughout Hull who’d feel a bit silly buying stickers as an adult have forced their kids to collect them for the first season of the Tigers in the top flight.
So, anyone got a spare Peter Halmosi? I’ll give you a Premier League trophy shiny and Titus Bramble for it!