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All smiles in San Martin

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Tim Vickery | 07:41 UK time, Monday, 27 April 2009

Much to my regret, I'm just too young for the 1970 World Cup. I was only five and I'm not sure we had a TV at the time - but I do remember the sticker album like it was yesterday.

A neighbour a couple of years older was collecting, and he gave me some of his swaps. The first one I received was a Peruvian, Ramon Mifflin if memory serves me right, staring seriously at the camera in that striking white shirt with the red sash.

I had no album to stick it in, but that image always stuck in my mind. For someone who didn't make it out of England until he was 23 - my dad reached 84 without getting further than Dublin - that picture from Peru symbolised everything that was exotic and fascinating about international football.

A year later when the 1971/2 season kicked off I started my own collection of First Division stickers. Apparently it did wonders for my reading, though I dread to think what words I picked up. This was before the globalised days of Panini, when you got a quaint little biography about the players, and it was a world full of 'veteran custodians' and 'crafty schemers who made their bow against Charlton Athletic in 1959'.

Somehow the mundane and the domestic never gripped me as much as the World Cup album. I waited impatiently for 1974 to come round so a new one would come out, and was then heartbroken to see that Peru weren't involved.

But I did have a chance to collect them in 1978, was too busy being an adolescent to collect them in 82, and since then there has been no need.

Peru don't qualify for World Cups any more, time and high living have taken their toll on Ramon Mifflin, but I'm in Lima watching some matches and doing a piece on the state of the game here for World Soccer magazine.

I've been here twice before, both times for international tournaments but this time the focus is on domestic football. I might have known that I'd find something here to stop me in my tracks and it's a club called San Martin.

San Martin striker Martin Arzuaga

On Saturday I was at their match away to Sporting Cristal. This is a Lima derby in Cristal's rather pokey little stadium on the banks of the Rimac river and San Martin had come across town in force! I was sitting directly opposite their supporters and was able to count them during a break in play - all 33 of them, plus a mascot.

San Martin won an excellent 4-3 victory and their coach described it as a Peruvian Chelsea v Liverpool. Their Colombian striker Martin Arzuaga scored a hat-trick but the man of the match was the mascot. Dressed up as a tooth, he kept up his animated little dances for the full 90 minutes and in mid-afternoon heat he must have sweated more than the players.

I understood the mascot because I'd been along to San Martin's home game the previous Tuesday night. I write 'home' but the club have no fixed stadium and live a nomadic existence using a number of local grounds. For this particular match, a Copa Libertadores tie against Nacional of Uruguay, they had hired out the stadium of Alianza Lima.

It is customary for supporters in South America to hang up banners announcing the name of their home neighbourhood, usually the city's working class districts, and San Martin did have a couple of banners - but with a different message. The 'Furia Santa' banner was displayed by a group of dentistry students, while the 'Oriente Santa' group was formed by students of administration and human resources.

San Martin is a club set up by a local university in 2004. And its tiny fan base - to be fair there were many more than 33 supporters present on Tuesday - is largely restricted to students at the university.

So their mascot is a molar and it is their rivals have the toothache because, extraordinarily, these five-year-old educational upstarts won the Peruvian championship in both the last two years. Unthinkably, they have now qualified for the knock out stage of the Libertadores at the expense of Argentina's River Plate.

How is this possible? Well, with none of the pressures of a big club, San Martin have acquired a reputation for the serious and organized way they go about their business - sticking with a coach, Victor Hugo Rivera, keeping a group of players together and reaping the benefits.

The financial aspects are puzzling. A local journalist I know, perhaps made cynical by years of covering Peruvian football, suggests that the whole thing is a means by which the university can pay less tax.

Whatever the explanation, the San Martin phenomenon is exotic and surprising - something I should probably have expected from the land of Ramon Mifflin.

Comments on this piece in the space provided. Other questions on South American football to vickerycolumnotmail.com, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week's postbag:

Q) Do away fans travel to see their team play in the Copa Libertadores the
same way that fans of European clubs do in the Champions League and UEFA
Cup?
Bjhercha

A) It's just not possible. Distances are vast, mass salaries are low and air travel is expensive (Rio to Lima cost me almost 400 quid). So there's much less travelling support. For this reason the competition doesn't end in a one off final on a neutral ground as in Europe, but with a home and away final over two legs.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Tim,

    Has the domestic game been badly affected by the dispute between the government and Peruvian football federation or is the issue now resolved.

    I remember reading around December time that FIFA were forced to get involved to settle the matter.

    Matt
    http://internacionaluk.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 2.

    Tim,

    As you can imagine it's almost unbelievable to think the University team could beat a team like River Plate no matter the conditions.

    Do they have genuinely good players and do you think they could be a victim of their own success once Brazilian and even European teams come in for their players?

    http://www.worldfootballcolumns.com

  • Comment number 3.

    I think this could be my favorite Tim Vickey blog I've read since I started reading a year or so ago!

    Tim, I love the idea that a career that has taken you to a life in Brazil as respected sports journalist was all set in motion by a sticker of Ramon Mifflin! I wonder, is this the story you tell when people when asked how you ended up where you are!?
    The story had got me reminiscing of World Cup 94, which was the World Cup that started my interest in International, and particularly South American football, although it was the more obvious names of Valderrama, Romario that piqued my interest.
    As for sticker albums, I remember my first Premier League sticker album, the most revered text book in my school at the time, and I also remember the infuriatingly large number of swaps of Dale Gordon's legs I had! But I can't help but to feel sadness when I remember that the sticker that I searched high and low for, was not an Eric Cantona or a John Barnes but a lousy Sky Sports silver sticker.
    Maybe the demand for Sky Sports silver stickers in kids 17 years ago has had a subconscious effect on my generation leading to Sky Sports' position of power in the modern game today! Oh the shame!!

  • Comment number 4.

    I think this could be my favorite Tim Vickey blog I've read since I started reading a year or so ago!

    Tim, I love the idea that a career that has taken you to a life in Brazil as respected sports journalist was all set in motion by a sticker of Ramon Mifflin!I wonder, is this the story you tell when people when asked how you ended up where you are!?

    The story had got me reminiscing of World Cup 94, which was the World Cup that started my interest in International, and particularly South American football, although it was the more obvious names of Valderrama, Romario that piqued my interest.

    As for sticker albums, I remember my first Premier League sticker album, the most revered text book in my school at the time, and I also remember the infuriatingly large number of swaps of Dale Gordon's legs I had!But I can't help but to feel sadness when I remember that the sticker that I searched high and low for, was not an Eric Cantona or a John Barnes but a lousy Sky Sports silver sticker.

    Maybe the demand for Sky Sports silver stickers in kids 17 years ago has had a subconscious effect on my generation leading to Sky Sports' position ofpower in the modern game today!Oh the shame!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Tim, tell me more! How does the club get funding and what standard is the Peruvian league. I am curious as to how a club set up by a Uni can, in 5 years be a top domestic club and compete in the major continental competition? It does seem a bit odd that they have players capable of beating River, but no stadium?

    This sounds a fascinating little club. Are there any other teams like this in Peru (or anywhere in S.America), or is this a one off?

    I love the idea that a small team can come from no-where and make it to the top so quickly.

  • Comment number 6.

    Tim,

    Great Blog, although an avid follower of you blogs for some time now; this latest installment has struck a particular chord with me. I, like so many of my generation, recollect USA '94 as being my first exposure to World and more specifically South American International football.

    The vibrant colours and sounds generated by the amazingly animated supporters of these South American nations was something that i had never witnessed from any European club or nation. Even the team kits appeared almost techni-coloured in contrast to the traditional, mundane and frankly boring uniforms of their European counterparts.

    The South American teams, through their entertaining brand of football, fantastic spectators and individual eccentricities (Valderama the most visual of examples) showed me and my generation that football was more than just jumpers for goalposts, more than kicking a heavy wet football round a park in torrential rain, and a lot more than getting shouted at by a very angry PE Teacher. Football is a chance for everyone to put aside their differences, to compete fairly and ultimately to have a great time, playing the best sport in the world.

    Tim, on a seperate note. More and more recently we read reports from all over Europe of racial abuse from "fans" towards players. The most recent example being the Juventus vs Inter Milan match. With so many European nations seemingly incapable of preventing this kind of abuse, do South American nations and/or clubs have to deal with any similar incidences? And if so, what kind of measures do they put in place in order to combat it?

    Thanks Tim and once again, great blog.

  • Comment number 7.

    great blog tim,

    about the stadium....is there not rules that state a club need their own stadium or a consistent one at least in the libertadores, because it seems quite shocking that these circumstances would not even be apparant in the blue square premier!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Ha ha, I am Peruvian, and yes San Martin is an amazing example of how money can create teams from nothing. San Martin has the support of one the largest private Universities of Peru, education is a good business, and having a soccer team a good way to merchandise such business. Money and stability (and a bit of luck) is all what is it need to succeed sometimes.

  • Comment number 9.

    On the subject of Peruvians, I have always had a soft spot for Nolberto Solano, just yesterday in the pub I raised the question of just how good he was and how much better he could have been at a club like Arsenal.

  • Comment number 10.

    The only thing I remember about Sporting Cristal was a player by the name of Natipong Sritong-In. I like to drop him into conversation whenever trying to impress my South American buddies. They always tend to look more puzzled then impressed. Perhaps I am misremembering?

  • Comment number 11.

    USA 94.. I don't think I have ever been more excited during a football match as I was when Maradona scored that goal against Greece (??) and then of course 'that celebration'

    Of course I was then gutted when he was sent home..

    Great piece by the way

  • Comment number 12.

    Tim,

    I've been reading your blogs for just over a year now and agree with almost all other posters on here that yours are the best the Beeb has to offer (with a special mention to Gavin Strachan's evolving skills).

    This blog struck a chord with me for the reason that it was the world cup and associated collections that got me hooked on the beautiful game as well. Being born in 1981 I was unfortunately just too young for Diego's sublime performance at the 1986 World Cup but was just right to be captivated by Italia 90....

    My beloved Man U (not a glory hog by the way, I followed my dad's footsteps to Old Trafford) had just won the FA Cup, my first taste of glory as a fan and my interest in the WOrld Cup was fuelled by a quite incredible collection for the tournament - it came in the form of the old 'Quest' collections in a lever arch file with a different section to be collected each week. If i remember right you got the history of a previous tournament, the bio of a World Cup legend, and a detailed analysis of a great World Cup goal in each edition - as well as the all important stickers.

    This collection had me and my brother hooked and led to an increased enjoyment of the World Cup itself, with my first ever experience of World Cup, and international for that matter, football coming in that incredible opening game between Camaroon and Argentina, red cards, goals, Claudio Canigia being kicked literally out of his boots, Roger Miller etc - what an awakening to this 8 year old kid about what lay beyond the First Division?!

    It's comforting to know that so many others had their true enlightenment on the sport come from similar sources.

    Great blog as always Tim, keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 13.

    South American football has less 'glamour and prestige' compared to its European counterpart but I would say the atmosphere and intensity can not be matched anywhere in Europe. I can imagine the amount of sledging and 'trash talk' each side would hurl at the other, considering countries as far north as Mexico (which do get invited in the Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana) share Spanish as their common language - with the exception of Brasil.
    Would you say this is something that can be hard to replicate in the European competition?
    HOw about the radio and television commentary? Nothing beats the way they relate goals being scored!!!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Tim,

    I've been reading your blog for some time now. I'm glad there's someone out there to let me know what's going on in the South American game.

    Keep up the good work.

    http://www.90minutesofburridge.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 15.

    Like many of the other comments on here Tim your piece regarding the sticker album has struck a chord with me. My first memory of football was when I six during the 1982 World Cup and had the panini sticker album, there were three teams that really stood out for me which were Honduras, El Salvador and Peru! Such exotic names, players in distance lands and as mentioned with Peru the white shirt with the red stripe was so striking it was ingrained in my memory and gave me the passion for all things South/Central American. In fact it influenced me so much that I fulfilled a dream of mine by going to the Copa America in Peru several years ago and travelled the continent. I've yet to go to Central America to but it is definitely on my agenda....I wonder if in the land of high technology and games consoles that kids of today will be affected in the same way that a lowly sticker album did us?!

  • Comment number 16.

    World Cup 90 was my start! Spent weeks collecting all the stickers (including one of Liam Brady who then didn't get in the Irish squad). My first taste of exoticism was the Argentinian flag. I just loved the colours. Ended up swapping it with my older brother (under duress) for about ten stickers of players I had never heard of. I'm not sure I've ever really recovered. Spent all last year in South America possibly trying to regain what I had lost!

  • Comment number 17.

    Cheers for the blog Tim. Perhaps for us young whippersnappers (am 20) our knowledge of football players has been taken over from collecting sticker albums and comes now through video games. This probably gives my generation a better knowledge of players (huge call!) thanks to games like FIFA pro evo and Championship Manager, where you can play with probably most of the professional football teams in the world. FIFA 98 was my first video game, and can remember being completely enthralled by Gabriel Batistuta (albeit in his very pixelated representation!) and is probably why I have such a great interest in Argentine football. Keep up the great work Tim.

  • Comment number 18.

    My love of football started in the same way, although I am younger, so my sticker was of Steve Potts. It isn't quite as exotic.

  • Comment number 19.

    Cracking blog yet again Mr Vickery.
    Am I the only one now thinking "Got, got, got, got, NEED, got, got..."
    I never did get the fabled Raddy Antic sticker to complete the 1983/84 season book.
    It's still in the loft I think if anyone can help me out?

  • Comment number 20.

    WC 94' stickers here, I just loved stickers when I was young, had all the "Campeonato Brasileiro" albums from 94 to 2000 and then WC 2006(when I was actually 17!)

    I never had a european championship sticker album though, they are starting to get popular here in Brazil, with the Champions League sticker album getting more ads than the Brasileiros.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Tim,

    Always read your Blog now, and with a special interest in this one as my wife is Peruvian.

    13, the commentators are great, and with an interesting reason in some cases as I found in Ecuador. I hadn't realised that in many south american citys it seems if the national team are playing in the city they cannot broadcast the game live in the city, although they can in the rest of the country. I remember arriving in Quito and first noght found somewhere to eat and have a beer, great I though, Ecuador v Columbia great game to watch on the TV in the bar surrounded by locals, only to spend 90 minutes watching the commentators, subs warming up and the crown... everything apart from the game... cracking atmosphere though.

    17, interesting point, big fan of Fooball Manager, always start as Oldham my English club and exploit the Peruvian league as you can sign a load of top quality players for free transfers on Jan 1st! Awesome and definitely increased my knowledge, knew about Raymond Manco before he went to PSV etc...

    Finally, what are your views Tim on the public perception of the national team in Peru. My wife blames much of their failing in recent times on the European based players as they are seen to only go to Peru to "visit their families, party and relax" from the demands of european football. This seems to be a common feeling, I watched the last Copa America in a bar and couldn't believe the abuse directed at Pizarro who was captain at that stage.

  • Comment number 22.

    Even though it is very difficult for fans to travel for the Copa Libertadores they still put in a good effort. When River Plate came to Guadalajara they brought a decent following (although they are known as 'Millionarios'). Also Everton from Chile did bring a decent sized following unfortunately they had to leave half way through the first half to catch plane/coach. But that could be a good thing as they lost 6-2.

  • Comment number 23.

    17-Agree with u, from lookin at my young bro (14) and his agemates, video games makes them familiar with players. However, as another 20-yr old, football wasn't so everything, I was interested in reading. I would sit in the house and read anything I could land my hands on. So, before my 10th birthday, I could mention all countries and their capital cities! But then came the '98 WC. The only moments I remember cleary? Becks' red card and Croatia winning the bronze. Oh, and the Ricky Martin song too! After the WC, kids started collecting stickers. I wasn't interested, till when my elder bro (21 now) started collecting them. I jumped on the bandwagon and started collecting my own, and stuck them on a used book some Polish professor left behind. I went one step better-I would stick a player, then under it, I would write the club he played for, I would read papers, watch more football, or ask dad for that info. So, although I wasn't a good player, I always knew which player played where, while the guys were mostly familiar with Zizou, Ronaldo etc. I remember a sticker wrongly printed that Dwight Yorke was English-I would point that he's from T & T, nobody believed me (power of the stickers of course!) Stickers, thus introduced me to the beautiful game. Till now, my friends rely on me for data, e.g players' ages, coz stickers have made me what I am, a football fanatic. Back to the topic, as a uni student, San Martin have blown me away, Tim, u have to write more on this club, this ain't enough!

  • Comment number 24.

    Tim, you do a great job on here.

    Who's better, Messi or Kaka?

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Tim, I was also at the match against Nacional last Tuesday in Lima... sitting not too far away from the famous tooth, who managed to nash away all game long - amazing stamina. After watching the teams warm up, I must say I didn't give SMP much chance - the Uruguayans looked far more professional and athletic. Do you know who was the no. 6 for SMP? He looked seriously laboured in midfield. But they pushed the ball around pretty effectively, and certainly deserved the equaliser when it came. Great news that they're through to the knock-out stage...I'll do my best to be there for the next Lima game at least, and add some voice to the molar massive.

  • Comment number 26.

    Great blog tim

    its just a shame that robbo's tosh always gets top billing over you, whereas u and gavin strachan are quite clearly the best the beeb has

    agree with an earlier post saying that u need to tell us more about San Martin

    Also FM is spectacular, the amount of research they must have to go through to get every little detail(ie heights etc, i mean wtf!!) and my enduring memory of a WC is of 2002, just the amount of colour that swamped my tv, twas brilliant

  • Comment number 27.

    great blog, tim, as per usual, tell me, you are a man that knows South American futbol, how come boca's martin palermo couldn't score a goal in spain and he's the club's biggest scorer ever in Argentine soccer?

  • Comment number 28.

    Post 5...small teams that have done great things...Cucuta in South America...Chievo in Italy (where are they now?) and currently Hoffenheim in Germany (with sacks of money). Wimbledon winning the FA Cup will always be the most romantic.

    Suggest you read "The Miracle of Castel di Sangro" ..

    On the theme of university clubs making it to the top..Team Bath is a very topical example here in England....what a shame they are not being allowed to progress up the football pyramid any further.

    Another shining light are Tuks (University of Pretoria students) who will play against Moroka Swallows in the South Africa Cup final.

    Other University clubs in their first leagues: Pumas UNAM (Mexico), U.Catolica & U. Chile, Universitario (Peru & Bolivia), U.Craiova (Romania) ... UCD in Ireland also comes to mind..although in 2nd league....

    Tim ....or anyone else...can you think of others?








  • Comment number 29.

    Great blog, a fascnitating story.

    I get the feeling there is loads more that could be written on this. It would be a shame if the BBC have imposed a word limit on these pieces. I'm off to wikidedia in the meantime, and youtube to find that mascot!

  • Comment number 30.

    Mr. Vickery,

    Thank you for visiting the beautiful city of Lima, Peru. I love the way you refer to one of the journalists there as cynical. The press in Lima can be described as useless hacks (a good majority of them anyway).

    It shames me to say this but the Peruvian player today has no morale, is very envious and does not have (or does not want) the correct attitude in order to strive in today's commanding and demanding futbol world.

    For years, the Peruvian public has suffered with the exception of several cases of near-success, specifically in 1998 when the national team just lost out on goal difference to go to the World Cup in France and Sporting Cristal's path to the Copa Libertadores final.

    The World Cup qualifiers have been heartache after heartache after that, as has been our clubs' participations in Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana (with the exception of Cienciano's international title several years ago).

    There is a sense of relief with San Martin and Universitario's displays in this year's campaign and hopefully soon with their continued success into later rounds will we see an overhaul of the Peruvian futbol system.

    Because a beautiful country like Peru, with tradition in the sport, does not deserve the current phase they're going through.....

  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Tim,

    Another interesting and excellent article. San Martin, their creation from Sport Coopsol and their historical background make an interesting read. It will be good to see if they can maintain their high standard of football in future competitions.
    San Martin reminds me of Lami Futebol Clube's rebranding as Porto Alegre around the same time, and I think it will only be a matter of time before they are challenging for mahor honours and playing in the Libertadores and Sudamericana like their Peruvian counterparts.

    All the best,
    MOPthirteen
    www.manonplatform13.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 32.

    28. I've read The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro and thoroughly enjoyed it, and know about Hoffenheim and Cheivo (serie B now I think). The small clubs making it big are one of the main things I love about football, but I have little knowledge of S.American teams doing the same. In Europe this has happened occasionally, but I was curious as to whether this is something that occurs a lot historically in S.America or Peru, or is this a one off?

    How sustainable is the San Martin model?

  • Comment number 33.

    Cassadegas, I'm not at all surprised that your Peruvian mates didn't know who on Earth Natipong Sritong-In is. For Natipong ain't Peruvian but a Thai. He was part of that great team the Thais had in the 90s which also included a certain Kiatisuk Senamaung who if I recall correctly also had a stint at I believed it was Sheffield United.

  • Comment number 34.

    32 - hey crazypaving17. As mentioned the only recent one that comes to mind is Cucuta, who having been in the Colombian 2nd league until 2005, then got promoted, won the league, and went to the Copa Libertadores 2007 semis losing to Boca.

  • Comment number 35.

    34. Brilliant, this is what makes S.America so much more appealing than Europe at times, little teams make it big, sadly then their star players get sold on and they return.

    Then again, not a lot different to when clubs in Europe overacheive (Monaco in the Champions League for example) and their best players get sold all over Europe.

  • Comment number 36.

    Football Manager (previously Championship Manager) games have provided me with so many names of guys I was to hear about in the not to distant future. I remember in the 2000 edition when I was just ten (God I started early), there was a chap at Malmo who did a good job for me, thankyou Mr Ibrahimovic. Alongside him I had Ronaldinho signed from Gremio and Riquelme who with his creativity rating of 20/20, all players I was overjoyed to hear about over the next couple of years.

  • Comment number 37.

    What you have to realise is that football in South America is now solely geared to producing players to sell to Europe.

    It is only in recent years that the Premier League has had genuine stars from South America. Players like Gilberto Silva, Lucas, Mascherano are what the Premier League demand. Players who first and foremost are physically strong.

    Look at any league in the world and you will find Brazilians from Ireland to Tanzania to Indonesia. Similarly there are Argentinians in all five continents.

    The reality of the situation in South America is that 99% of clubs are owned by agents/businessman whose sole motive is profit. Profit by selling players abroad. There is no sentiment either - they don't care if the player goes to play in Mars if the money is good for them.

    At a deeper level, you will find that in the youth divisions of many teams, a lot of the players "pay" to be at the club. The special talents that will sell themselves, will get an easy ride. There will also be sons and friends of the owners who will get to play for free. The rest, a lot of whom will be poorly educated and just about have a roof over their heads, are paying for the privelege of being there. they are paying for the opportunity to be in the shop window to move abroad. Once they make that first move, they often see very little of that money. They often end up alone in a foreign land, with no one to help them on day to day basis.

    Why don't their family help them you might ask? Because in many cases, the family have borrowed money to pay for them to play in a club through their youth. When the big move aborad happens, suddenly the knock on the door comes asking for the loan to be returned with interest. No-one is going to leave their family to deal with that situation alone.

    So what you find is that most clubs in South America have very few players aged 20-30 for this reason. Moreover, it will be almost impossible for a small club to brake into the stranglehold both politically and financially.

  • Comment number 38.

    Top comments MrParaguay, funny u had to mention my country Tanzania! (sure, our national team and one of our clubs has Brazilian coaches!) Interesting to hear about uni teams all around the world. Pardon me for asking, but do Oxford & Cambridge FC originate from their respective universities?

  • Comment number 39.

    On our BBC R5 World Football Phone In facebook page one of the ff mentioned the heard you on Talksport and you sounded unwell hope its nothing serious bearing in mind what's going on.On a serious note I see CONCACAF U17 championship's a qualfier for U17 World Cup in Mexico has been cancelled.All Mexico City games are being played behind closed doors. Chivas were sujected to stringent medical tests at the airport in Chile. They were at Santiago for their Copa Liberatores game against Everton[a sign of Brits influence even an Argentinian Arsenal won Suderamerica last year] and when they leave Everton are having the away dressing room thoroughly fumergated.
    Nearer to home our Mexican striker Carlos Velez had to be Quarantined as he had friends over fom Mexico City.Hope he can play in our Champions League match,hope everyone affected makes a speedy recovery,

  • Comment number 40.

    Does anyone remember the free McDonalds chips you used to get on the back of the some of the stickers c. 1993-1994? They used to be worth a lot!

    http://www.worldfootballcolumns.com

  • Comment number 41.

    Love the fact that their mascot is a molar. As a dentist I used to play for our side in the intramural league while at university... can't imagine the Oral Intruders XI causing any global upsets but glad San Martin are making a name for themselves.

    Already looking forward to the WC2010 sticker album. Last time around me and some mates had a competition to see who could fill the album quickest. There's nothing like walking into your local newsagent and asking for the whole box of stickers, instead of the meagre one pack that as a kid you had to save pocket money for a week or two.

    I'd like to know Tim, who are you tipping for the Libertadores this year? Also, do you see any of the current South American crop heading over to the EPL this summer and if so, who?

  • Comment number 42.

    Liked the sticker book theme running through the blog.

    I was born in '82 and the first World Cup I remember was 1990 but the first year I started collecting the stickers was for USA '94 - the Bulgarian team of Stoichkov, Letchkov and Kostadinov all spring to mind from that book. From the South American perspective I was astonished Bolivia had qualified and, if truth be told, I hated when I got any of their players - with the exception of Marco Etcheverry - because I thought they were rubbish.

  • Comment number 43.

    You night owls want to,catch a live Copa Liberatores game.Check out Setanta Sports 2 at 1.55 am Colo-Cola vs Palmeiras.This is Group 1 match Chilean side already beaten Palmeiras 3-1.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm the same age as you so those memories of 1970 were very poignant, I loved seeing clips of Peru's great attackers, dodgy defence and of course a player called Percy (Rojas, now a top journalist).

    Of course USMP have got a powerful squad now - Butron, Salas, Garcia, Fernandez are all in the current Peru squad - so maybe that University really is pulling a tax scam!!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Tim, a question where will Chivas Guadalajara and San Luis FC play there home games with this Swine Flu on going.Bogota has been mentioned but they are not keen,and look no team from Colombia must be 20+ years since that last happened in Copa Liberatores.

    Look forward to WFPI on later

  • Comment number 46.

    Guys - if you want to read more football related articles, visit www.goal.com - it covers football from all around the globe.

  • Comment number 47.

    Rosinha85 not all of are guys,yes it is a good website as is The World Game. Which Tim writes for on a regularly,it's based in Australia but covers EPL,J league,Europe Africa,Australia and North and South America.

 

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