When I heard about ‘Stuck on you – The rise and fall of Panini Stickers’ book by Greg Lansdowne I knew that it was a book that I would like to read. Having now read the book I can definitely say that it was worth getting.
As a child I really enjoyed collecting football stickers. My first sticker album was Panini’s Football 86, followed later that year by Panini’s World Cup Special, Mexico 86. At that time I was really starting to get into football and collecting stickers helped me to learn all the names of the players of the teams in the English First Division and Scottish Premier League. I also really enjoyed spending time during my lunch breaks swapping stickers with my friends on the school playground. At the time, Panini Stickers sponsored the Family Stand at Old Trafford and I was able to visit the Swap Shop they had in there to get some missing stickers for my collection. I carried on collecting stickers up to the 1990 Italia 90 World Cup Album, but 1986 with those 2 albums was always the high point of collecting stickers for me. Football stickers were also the 1st items of football memorabilia that I collected and is probably the main reason why I went on to become such a big collector of Manchester United memorabilia.
The book gives a real insight and history of football stickers in the UK. Not only for Panini, but also Merlin Stickers and others like FKS and short lived sticker albums like the ones produced by The Daily Mirror on the 1980s for a couple of years. The book also covers football Trading Cards, including Pro Set Cards which I collected, and completed, in the 1990-91 Season. Greg did a lot of research for this book and interviewed a lot of people involved in the production and marketing of the stickers, giving a real behind the scenes insight into the football sticker and trading card industry.
Ever since 1986 when I failed to find a Diego Maradona Mexico 86 sticker and also struggled to get stickers in my Football 86 Album for the Manchester United and Liverpool pages, by far the most popular and well supported teams in my school, I had always had questions about Panini stickers. My biggest suspicion was that they deliberately printed less of certain stickers, forcing us to buy more stickers to complete our albums. This question and others were answered for me in Greg’s book.
The timing of the book was good, coming after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which saw a big increase in sales of stickers again, especially amongst grown up collectors with Panini’s 2014 World Cup album. Many of these grown up collectors would have collected Panini and Merlin stickers as children in the 1980s and 1990s, so were being brought back to this hobby. For anyone who has collected football stickers as a child and also as an adult, this book will be an enjoyable read.