The adults who get misty-eyed over Panini World Cup stickers

Brazil 2014 stickers

The run-up to a World Cup is a time when children start collecting football stickers and cards. But there are also adults who get worryingly misty-eyed, including Ian Shoesmith.

I rip the packets of stickers open with all the excitement and anticipation of the 10-year-old boy that I used to be, and inhale their long-forgotten but oh-so-familiar odour of glue mixed with sticky tape and paper.

Instantly, I'm back in 1986 and my penultimate year at primary school, when the most important thing in my life was how an England squad featuring Gary Lineker, Peter Shilton and John Barnes would fare at the World Cup.

I am a 38-year-old father with a mortgage and a four-year-old son, Danny.

But my childhood passion - the thrill of racing to the paper shop, handing over all of my pocket money, desperate to be greeted by the mulleted head of a Soviet-bloc defender - is dismissed, out-of-hand, by my son. But I will persist in collecting them - for when he changes his mind. I'm most definitely not collecting them for myself. Definitely not.

Ian Shoesmith and son Ian Shoesmith and (unconvinced) son

There are lots of grown-ups in the same boat. Adam Carroll-Smith is one of them. The 29-year-old comedy writer from Southsea in Hampshire came across a 1996 sticker album and was desperate to complete his collection.

Rather than merely finding the six missing stickers, however, he tracked down the likes of Lars Bohinen, Stuart Ripley and Philippe Albert in person before recording the whole experience in a book. "It was before my now five-month-old daughter was born - it was a goodbye to that pre-child, feckless time of my life," he says. "Stickers are very evocative of our childhood and have a kind of naivety about them. It's that thing about buying them and seeing a flash of [1990s Derby County striker] Paulo Wanchope when you rip open the packet."

It's easier to hide adult nostalgia when you have a child who is genuinely interested in the stickers. Mark Jensen, editor of the Newcastle United fanzine, is 48 and has a 10-year-old son. "For about four years he would do them all the time - the cards as well as the stickers," he says. "They were even banned at his school because of all of the arguments they caused. Some kids turned out to be far shrewder investors than others and rip other kids off by swapping the shiny stickers for normal ones and stuff like that."

1981-82 album

These bans - relating to either Panini or Topps stickers, or other trading cards - are increasingly common in schools.

Jensen notes that adult family members were often surprisingly keen to buy the stickers themselves, and they remember the ecstasies and agonies of their childhood collecting. "I do remember when I was a kid that there was a conspiracy story that some stickers were impossible to collect - there must be zillions of almost-completed albums out there," he says. "Nowadays I've heard of 'virtual stickers' but they are the antithesis to collecting in my view - you need the physical experience of opening the packet, all of your mates crowding round you to see what you've got."

A sticker widow writes...

"My husband Leigh is 33 years old and is head of PE at a secondary school. He keeps making me divert to a supermarket every day to stock up for him. Yes, I do think it's a bit sad.

"Every time the sticker books come out, he tries to recruit his sixth-form students so he has more people to swap with. And he's not averse to swapping with kids at school to boost his numbers.

"He says he's never completed an album. Apparently the closest was Italia 90, so we have to start early this year as he can 'feel it's his year'.

"The other day I accidentally scrunched some of the stickers up and his face was a picture. Apparently they were 'ruined'. They were not."

Laura Churchward, Northampton

Carol Mavor, a professor in visual arts at Manchester University, writes about the nostalgia of childhood. "Stickers are very tactile and old-fashioned," she says. "The humanity of touch is also very powerful. That's why people love wooden toys, for example, because they have a unique feel, smell and are real."

Anything up to 15% of children's toys are actually bought by adults for themselves, estimates Richard Gottlieb, publisher of and a "play industry consultant".

Adults don't want to let go of their childhood completely, says Mavor. "It seems, without being overly morbid, to be so far away from death, work and the other obligations of adulthood. As adults, we think of ourselves as different people from our childhood selves - the whole world was open to us and it was a free and more creative life."

It's down to sentimental attachment, says Felix Economakis, a chartered psychologist. "Little objects from childhood are imbued with meaning because they remind us of people who may no longer be with us - it's an association with the past through rose-tinted spectacles."

Panini stickers from 1996 showing Gordon Strachan and Steve Archibald Some stickers are rarer than others

When I think of football stickers, the first person I think of is my late grandad, helping me complete an album while my nana was making chip butties in the kitchen.

There may be a gender difference, Economakis explains. "Men are more into lists, while women tend to collect something with sentimental value. For men, partly it's about status, and collecting for the sake of it."

Match Attax cards with David Beckham in centre

He also believes that collecting is "quite a solitary activity".

But is it? For me, part of the fun of collecting football stickers was always about swapping duplicate stickers with my mates. Indeed, the chant of "Got! Got! NEED!" while flipping through your handful of stickers has even become a hashtag in the Twitter playground.

Completing the album...

"Albums have a bit of card in the middle of them, on which you write down the impossible-to-find last few stickers you need to finish the collection.

"You are meant to send it off with your payment and await the stickers in the post. This is blatantly cheating. I never resorted to this and I don't know any of my friends who did that. It's just not the done thing."

Adam Carroll-Smith, recovering sticker addict

And although the hairstyles and wages of modern-day footballers are barely recognisable from the stars of yesteryear, the fundamentals of collecting remain.

There's the dreaded multiple duplicate - the player whose face seemingly greets you every time you open a fresh packet of stickers.

For me it was former Scotland defender Maurice Malpas. I'm sure he's a lovely bloke - he's certainly a living legend among Dundee United fans - but his memory brings me out in a cold sweat.

Carroll-Smith slowly spells out each syllable of a former Manchester United and Wales utility man. "Clayton Blackmore," he shudders. "I absolutely loathed him. He just seemed to follow me around like a stalker. To this day, whenever I go to Wales I half expect to see him standing there."

Panini albums of years past

So when you come across some obscure Costa Rican squad player for the 20th time this summer, remember that you are not alone.

Fellow addicts are there to help - at a price. They're desperate to trade their mug shot of Iran's goalkeeper, after all.

Here is a selection of readers' dreaded multiple duplicates.

John Wark haunted me in 1993. He seemed to be in every pack. I have a feeling the Honduran shiny and Yaya Toure are going to be this year's equivalent. I'm lucky I have a 2 year old son now so I can justify buying them. I think the shop assistants know they're really for me. He would only stick them in the wrong place so it's only in his interests that I do it!

John Gillard, Leeds, UK

I still have visions of Kevin Reeves (Football 78) and Adrian Heath (Football 79) turning up repeatedly, not just for me but for all my friends too so there was no chance of swapsies. The players were both later sold for upwards of £750,000, but I couldn't give them away.

Rhys Lewis, Epsom

Whenever I see Danny Wilson on TV I always think back to the late 80s when everybody at school used to have several swaps of him. I don't recall another player appearing so frequently.

Jonathan Herring, Edinburgh, UK

My first Panini album was Football '83, bought for me by my Dad when I was aged 6. The sticker that kept turning up again and again was Bob Latchford of Swansea City. We got Latchford so many times that, to this day (I'm now 38 and my Dad is 67), we refer to the current collection's offender as 'Latchford'. (Panini World Cup 2014's Latchford is Carlos Pena of Mexico, who I have found 7 times and counting). It's become a prize we have to award to the most irritating sticker in the collection.

Jamie Brown, London, UK

I collected the stickers religiously around 1983-1985 when I was 10-12 years old. In 1984 I completed the album so quickly that I started filling a second album and nearly completed that one too! Must've spent virtually all my pocket money on them. Had hundreds of doubles and Gary Waddock of QPR was a sticker that was particularly hard to come by if I remember correctly.

Sandy Gray, Oldmeldrum, Scotland

Darren Huckerby, during his time at Newcastle Utd, was the one who always appeared in every pack for me. As a Newcastle fan though, at least it was one of the Toon I guess...

Greg Surtees, Maidstone, England

David Seaman when he played for QPR! It was the 1990 sticker album. I thought since he played for a 'wee' team that I wouldn't hear about him again....I also remember Luton Town from that book...Top division team once upon a time.

Ross Cunningham, Aberdeen, Scotland

For me it was Fulham defender Rufus Brevett. He was so common I'm pretty sure I ended up with him twice in one pack! Then, to top it off, he turned up as manager of Arlesey Town when they came to play Corby. Even now he's retired from the sticker world I still can't get away from him!

Kelly Cornwell, Corby, Northamptonshire

I've recently refound my love for collecting football stickers, but after collecting this season's Premier League sticker album, have been haunted by the repeated appearance of Rickie Lambert. As a lifelong Portsmouth fan I'm sure this is just Topps or Panini playing tricks on me on purpose.

Ben Hardinge, Bristol

Not so much stickers but footy cards. When I was in primary school (early-mid 70s) we collected the thick cards which came with a piece of bubble gum. The bubble gum was actually harder than the cards themselves! Anyway one year there was a surfeit of John Beck's for some reason. I think I must have had about 9 or 10 of them. I had so many that in games of flick against the wall I was losing on purpose just to be rid of them. I now have a 3 year old son and a 7 year old daughter (neither of which are interested in the stickers) so I just gaze misty eyed at the packets of stickers by the tills...maybe one day (sniff!!)

Mike Craig, Plymouth, Devon

I always remember collecting the 94/95 sticker album and every packet I opened I would always see the face of John Moncur. I still remember the haircut he had (it wasn't great!)

Dean, London

I'm absolutely sick to death of Cristiano Ronaldo in this summers 2014 Panini World Cup sticker book. I've had that smug face smiling up at me at least 10 times so far. I did get a footie mad mate involved by snagging him a free album and giving him all my swaps. I know what a completist he is and so far it's paid off with at least 150 stickers coming my way via his doubles pile. I'm down to the last 143 needed now. I've also completed the online version. Must say, I'm very tempted to order the remaining ones although I'm only allowed to order 50 per person. But that's what friends and relatives addresses are for surely!

Matt Crossman, St Neots, Cambridgeshire

I remember buying these packets of cherry flavoured sweets which contained an England sticker inside for the World Cup in 1982. You had to be careful not to rip the head off as you opened the packet. Tony Woodcock kept turning up. I must have eaten hundreds of the things!!

Pete Dunsford, Valencia, Spain

During Euro 96, my nan got me an entire box from Kwik Save by mistake. The sign said get one pack free with a box of PG Tips, but the staff hadn't opened the box yet, so she innocently took the box to the till where the equally old lady swiped them through none the wiser. My insane adulation was brought down to earth on opening them all to learn that they must box them in batches, and I ended up with, amongst other duplicates, 24 Sol Campbells. Heartbroken!

Lee Foley, Glasgow, Scotland

I'm 53 and I've just finished cataloguing all my unused stickers from previous collections. I've got some good managers from 1979: Bob Paisley, Tony Book, John Bond, Tommy Docherty, Terry Neill and Bobby Robson from his Ipswich Town days.

Keith Horner, Sutton, UK

As a Liverpool supporter it was so frustrating seeing Bob Latchford or Martin Dobson of Everton seemingly in every single pack of stickers or cards I bought!!!

Paul G_C, Liverpool, England

Tomas Helveg of Norwich City in 2005. This year so far I have 200 stickers but I have 4 versions of Mile Jedinak!

David Ferguson, Basingstoke, UK

Around six of us at work all have the album. We have even been buying whole boxes of stickers on eBay so we can save a few pounds and more importantly have around 20 packs each to open in one go! Now that we are close to album completion it gets a lot trickier - I open up 17 packs the other day - that's a total of 85 stickers, and only needed 2 of them! Luckily we have lots of 'swapsies' between us so get up to quite a lot of trading with each other. Daniele De Rossi of Italy and Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast seems to appear time and time again.

Andy Fernandez, Maidenhead

I just remember the exchange rate we had at our junior school ... all were 1 for 1 except : Badge - worth 2, Liverpool player - worth 3, Liverpool badge - worth 4, Kenny Dalglish - worth 7. I used to get 20 packets on a Saturday morning, which was my £2 pocket money ... and I once got 3 Kenny's in one day!! I was THE most popular kid in school on that Monday.

Pete Dunsford, Maidenhead

I remember having around 20 David McCreery swaps for Panini 85. The least known player in the league seemed to have twice as many stickers printed than anyone else!

Ian Shilly, Birkenhead, England

Luther Blissett!!! I had about 40 "Luthers" in 82/83. Still got them somewhere I think!!

Phil Gosling, Stockport, England

Me and my two sons (16, 13) have been collecting Panini World Cup Stickers together since 1998. I was a collector when I lived in Epsom back in the 70s, with the 74 World Cup, being my first Panini sticker book. This year Michael Essien, Sticker #534 is by far creating the most dupes. We must have a dozen already.

Don Jennings, Arlington, MA (USA)

Clive Whitehead of West Brom - were it not for Panini '85 I would probably never have heard of him but now he comes to mind whenever I think of football stickers. The last one I needed (I agree, you NEVER send off for the last fifty, that is cheating). A friend knew I needed it and I told him he could have all my swaps if he ever got it. He got it from someone else for one sticker and got about 300 from me - a good lesson in economics!

Dan, Houston, Texas

Way back in the early 1990s Henning Berg was in every pack. I had so many Henning Bergs that I decorated the tin I kept my swaps in with Henning Bergs, sometimes two or three deep. And for Italia 90 we (by then I was sharing collecting duties with my wife) couldn't get hold of Franco Baresi by any means. In the end we actually contacted Panini directly (I know, I know, but it was driving us to tears of frustration) and then months later a packet dropped through the letterbox and my wife started screaming "Baresi's here, Baresi's here", a phrase we still use whenever anything longed for turns up!

Mick O'Hare, Northwood, UK

Sergio Ramos in 2006 World Cup. Must have had hundreds of him!

James, York

Alf-Inge Haland, Panini 96/97. His little mop of blonde fluffy hair and red Notts Forest top still haunt me. Tens of 2D Alf's I had.

Rebecca Murphy-King, Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan

I remember the peak of my addiction in the mid 1980s and Simon Stainrod of QPR appearing in every packet. At university, a group of us decided to compete to complete the Euro 1996 version. I remember getting a double of Big Duncan Ferguson, who was widely tipped to be picked for Scotland. However, due to his long-standing disagreements with the SFA declined to play. Now, being an Everton fan, Big Dunc was a massive hero of mine and so, when I met him signing shirts in Liverpoool on the day of Italy vs Russia at Anfield, I gave him the sticker as a thanks for signing my (horrendous) Everton away strip - he seemed utterly bemused by the gift!

Peter Clarke, North Yorkshire

My 18 month old daughter is absolutely addicted, she can't leave the house without demanding we go and buy a few panini packs. Or at least, that's what I assume she is trying to tell me as she can't quite string a sentence together yet. She does realise, however, that Pablo Zabaleta is appearing far too often as he appears randomly stuck in many of her colouring-in books...

Ben, Stanstead Abbotts

I was a decent goalkeeper when I was 16 and we had a pre season friendly v Wolves. For some reason I was dropped for the game in favour of the under 15 keeper. That keeper went on to sign for Wolves and had a 20plus year career with various teams. Ever since I have wondered "what might have been" (I am now 48!) In the mid nineties he was on Arsenal's books and in 2005 I was staying in A Youth Hostel in the Lake District recounting my much told football story about how I could have been a professional when my 4 year old son came back from the games cupboard with A pile of Match attack cards. Guess who was on top of the pile grinning in his Arsenal goalie shirt!!! (yes my old mate)

Jonathan Hoult, Stourbridge, England

In the late 50s we all used to collect cards from bubble gum packets. Brian Clough and Derek Kevan seemed to be in every other pack. Never did get a complete set but chewed my way through a mountain of revolting bubble gum.

Chris Cobb, Nottingham, Notts

Stuart Nethercott used to be in pretty much every pack in the 1994 Premier League edition. There was so many spares that his face ended up being plastered all over the school lockers. There must have been hundreds of them!

John Day, Essex

I had literally hundreds of copies of Gary Locke of Hearts (now their manager) back in 95.

Andy Leighton, @draleighton

Every packet I opened in 85 had Luton Town's Paul Eliott.

John Canning, @johngcanning

Giles Grimandy the French international defender who played for arsenal in the 90s!!

Craig McCaffrey, Barrow in Furness

A friend of mine in the early 90s swore that he opened a packet of PRO SET cards and every single one was Port Vale goalkeeper Mark Grew. He'd saved up his pocket money all week and all he had were 9 swaps. If I remember rightly, I think we used them and my 4 Robert Rosario swaps to help pass our fire building badge at cubs that week.

Will Jordan,

When I think back to my school days, educational memories come a distant second to the memories of Panini sticker negotiations. Of the cards that haunted me in repetitive fashion... Alan Curbishley and Steve Gritt of Charlton Ath, oh and John Gregory of QPR. All my pocket money was spent on cards. Although in addition, having an older brother who worked in a paper shop was also an advantage, as when a paper boy would not show for his round, I would be offered payment in packs of cards at short notice to do it...of course I always agreed..

Mark Brown, Tyne and Wear

In 1987, Kevin Poole of Aston Villa was Panini poison. He was stuck on just about every lampost in the area because kids couldn't swap him. I got so many duplicates of him that I just stuck one sticker on top of the other. To this day the album won't shut properly because the Kevin Poole collection sits about an inch higher than everyone else.

Martin Bissett, Rossendale, England

A Brian Labone repeatedly proved my downfall but not as a sticker as a coin. He was the one that Esso decided to issue in vast quantities, in 1970, while my beloved Bobby Moore was a rarer find. My Dad was forced by me to drive on needless trips so he had to fill up his his Mark II Cortina with petrol to get another coin, but inevitably it was dear old Evertonian Brian who popped out the little blue wrapper much to my dismay..

Dave Bridges, Brighton, England

George Berry in his Wolves period. Every single packet. George Berry again and again, from 1979 to eternity (1982 or thereabouts).

David Horner , England

Mexico 86 - Cha Bum Kun just wouldn't leave me alone. The South Korean legend just kept popping up. I couldn't give him away.

Matt Stevens, Oxford, UK

In 1997 I couldn't open a packet without finding Spurs stalwart Gary Mabbutt inside. Despite him scoring the winning goal for my beloved Sky Blues in the 1987 FA Cup final, I swapped him relentlessly, almost to spite his ubiquity. Such were my efforts, I inadvertently missed him from my album.

James, Manchester

I still have flashbacks of 1995 when, seemingly every time I opened a fresh pack of stickers, I was met with West Ham's Steve Potts gurning back at me. His son, Daniel, has just broken into the current West Ham team and it is bringing those memories flooding back!

Marc Davis, Nottingham

I can't find my old albums, but did find my album from Euro 2012 and all its duplicates. Fair to say I was very tired of looking at Nicklas Bendtner by the end of that tournament, as well as Portugese pair Raul Meireles and Miguel Veloso...

Rob Appleton, Bath, England

It was either the 1980 or 1981 sticker album that I seemed to get Gerry Gow (in his Bristol City days) in every other pack. It got to the point that I had so many of him that even after I completed the set that I used the rest of my swaps to collect even more of Gerry Gow.

Graham Woodhouse, Bootle

Between 1985-90 I had all the albums. Despite spending all my money and negotiating thousands of swaps, not one album was completed in full. I can't remember the year but one player that came up in almost every pack was John Anderson from Newcastle Utd. At the time I was at school with a John Anderson, the schoolboy ended up with stickers of his footballing namesake on everything he owned. Sorry John.

Mark Lysons, Telford

Football '79. Cyrille Regis, milions of them....

Simon Rushmere, Orpington, Kent

I am collecting this years Panini World Cup sticker album and am currently having to give away many Paul Pogba's (France) and Fanis Gekas (Greece) as I just cannot seem to get rid of them. When I first started collecting the album (my first in at least 10 years) my friends looked at me like I was an abnormal 21 year old university student. However, they have now seen the light and have began collecting the stickers themselves. As well as getting a hand full of the academy staff and players at work to also start collecting. However even with this increased number of people to swap with I still cannot seem to shake the Pogba/Gekas curse.

James Close, Birmingham

Somewhere under my bed there's a small army of Paul Rideouts. Every time I opened a new packet, there'd he'd be, fixing me with that unblinking stare. 95/96 was a tough year. And I'm a Liverpool fan!

Richard Spalding, Doncaster, England

Javier Mascherano was the serial swap in 2010. I must have had eight of him at one point. This year it's Hugo Lloris. My next door neighbour's son who was around eight at the time was my main swaps partner although he always managed to negotiate a two for one deal with me being soft with him. I've learned my lesson this year...

Lee Oman, Bradford, England

I have collected Panini Football Stckers for as long as i care to remember. Three names stick in my head through all that time... John Bumstead and Nigel Spackman of Chelsea, had numerous swaps of both of them. Later on in life for the France 98 album a Mexican Striker called German Villa - great name, not so good goal-getter.

Graham Handyside, Wimborne, Dorset

I will never forget as an 7/8 year old finding the elusive last sticker to complete my 1992/1993 Premier League sticker album, it was Nicky Summerbee for Swindon Town and i can still see his smiling face to this day!

Ray Brickley, Eastbourne

I'm currently collecting the Brazil 2014 stickers and am down to the last 80. It seems I can't go a day without getting a Boubacar Barry sticker. I think as a result I'm going to end up supporting Ivory Coast at the World Cup. Come on Bouby!

Sean Rodwell, Rochester

Football 87, I'm sure that no one else was able to finish their books as I had all of the Tony Dorigo stickers that Pannini made (or at least it seemed like it) . Also, I had a lot of the sticker of English ref George Courtney sending someone off in the World Cup 86 review, no swapsies on that!

Richard Hewitt, Swindon, England

My first 2 packets of stickers ever both had Ron Atkinson, when he was manager at West Brom. If I remember rightly, he was wearing a purple suit.

Lee McCauley, Wellington, NZ

At my school it was "Got! Got! Want!" Don't know what it was about Bob Latchford, but during his time at Everton he really was in every other pack.

Robert Jason, Winchester

Len Badger Sheffield United - 1968. How do I remember him this long? Half a dozen of him, and all I wanted were Southampton players.

Michael Dommett, Alton, UK

Frank McGarvey and Jimmy Bone were the bane of my collecting life. A double sticker for St Mirren in the late 70s and early 80s. Seemed to be in every other packet, while the Arsenal badge eluded me every year....

Steve Miller, Kings Hill, Kent

I remember my Dad pulling a trick on me, a wide-eyed 7-year-old, as I eagerly opened a packet of football stickers. I was hoping for a shiny Dennis Bergkamp or Ryan Giggs and ended up with 6 of Liam Daish!

Jonny Christmas, Manchester, England

Chuck Nwajiobi. 1987. Luton Town. I cannot forget you. Your face greeted me from almost every packet. I understand you're a pharmacist now. Whereabouts? I want to meet you. I've got lots of stickers to give you.

Callum Roas, London

When I was growing up in Cardiff in the 70s, we used to visit my auntie, who ran a newsagents, every Saturday afternoon. I was football mad at the time and I remember her giving me and my brother me the official Panini World Cup 1970 sticker book and two packs of stickers. It motivated us to visit her every Saturday afternoon, and we would look forward to getting two more packs of stickers for the collection. The crisis came about a year later when, with the book nearing completion, my aunt was forced to admit she had no stickers left. It then dawned on me that, this being 1977, there was no reason why Panini would still be issuing stickers for a tournament that took place 7 years before.. The stickers she had given us had just been gathering dust under the counter in the intervening years....... Anyway, I still think fondly of our own Mr Multiple, Paul Van Himst,...whom we could not exchange with anyone....

Bill James, Cambridge, England

I started collecting in 1985 and i remember getting Aston Villa's Paul Rideout about 10/15 times over. It wasn't only me though. A few of my friends had the same problem. It got to the stage where we'd actually bet our rarer stickers on whether or not we'd find another Paul Rideout when we opened new packets.

Andrew Allen, Londonderry

Steve Cherundolo during the 2006 World Cup! I had so many of him that I would make "teams" using my stickers just out of him! I I had no idea who he was before but has since carved a scar in my brain.

Josh Baker, Bicester, England

Back in the mid 90s, there was a Niall Quinn pandemic, around the time he was playing for Manchester City. Nowadays he's a pundit on TV and every time his face appears my brother and I still have a chuckle. I'm now 24 and collecting this years World Cup stickers along with my work colleagues, this years Niall Quinn is Honduras' Carlo Costly.

Jack Judge, Welwyn Garden City

Late 1970s Topps bubble gum cards (real, tactile card, not stickers); the player we all had....Everton goalkeeper, Dai Davies. We even created a playground song, based on the tune of 'Ma Baker' by Boney M: "Dai, dai, dai dai...Dai Davies, he's easy to get..." I still sing it now!

Gideon Eames, Bordon, UK

Got an entire packet of Bob Hattons and his moustaches in 1975 - what are the chances!

Mark Da Silva, Chalfont St Peter

Ken Wagstaff of Wolves. I always think of him when this subject comes up. Pre-sticker days of course. We used to say "got, got, not got" back then. Still got all the cards somewhere. Most with the corners rounded from flicking them against a wall and some complete with a pink stain on the back from the ubiquitous chewing gum.

Wilf Worsley, Stockport, England

World cup 74. Two players constantly in my packs. Ernest Jean Joseph from Haiti and Mukumbo. My friends and I soon sussed that if you pressed the back of the packets down hard then you could read who the 6th player was in the pack. Hence we used to sit on the floor of our local newsagents and go through the packs one by one, looking for those elusive last players we needed to complete the set.

Gary, Farnham, Surrey

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