I didn’t collect Panini World Cup 2010. I regret it now. I got to the party early, no-one arrived, so I went home. In my absence, the world showed up, had a great time and talked about it for weeks afterwards, every word lingering painfully within earshot. I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
As an adult, I’ve collected every Panini sticker album for a main tournament from Euro 2000 onwards except one - World Cup 2010. Why I ever felt it was a fruitless exercise two years ago I don’t know. The main thing is, I’m back. Not only that; many of the people I respect and admire in the football blogging community are joining me for the ride.
This leads us to a strong element of the new album - the design. It permeates every page of the book, and that's largely due to the delightful way Brandia Central have branded this summer's tournament for UEFA. The floral device is very easy on the eye and allows for plenty of colour to be used without being too overpowering.
And what about those stickers? Well they're beautifully designed as ever too. The usual high quality photographs feature throughout, and this year we have a few new ideas to liven things up. Each team includes three 'In Action' stickers showing full length images of three chosen players within a snazzy purple border. There are stickers showing the slogan 'Creating History Together' in the languages of each competing nation, stickers showing the mascots holding the team flags, a sticker for the UEFA Respect campaign - even a sticker for the official match ball.
All very well, but I didn't get any shiny foil badges or team picture stickers, so the following day I did the decent thing and bought myself another half a dozen packets. At 50p each I realised that the option of flamboyantly buying a whole box was going to be out of the question (for now at least), but at least this new batch of stickers brought me the Portugal flag, Andrey Arshavin and Samir Nasri, plus a whole host of other well known football players gracing this summer's tournament.
And so it begins. A whole new collection is underway, only this time I have many friends to share the Panini love with. Already on board are Terry Duffelen (Football Fairground/Bundesliga Lounge), Chris Nee (The Stiles Council/Twofootedtackle), Andrew Gibney (French Football Weekly) and in the very near future, The Football Attic's very own Rich Johnson.
Between us, we'll be sticking our stickers like there's no tomorrow and sharing our experiences on Twitter (me included), so if you'd like to tell us how you're collection's going, send us a tweet! Better still, if you've got any doubles you'd like to tell the world about, make sure you use the hashtag #paninidoubles because you never know - someone might need it for their own collection...