Sunday 9 December 2012

Matthew Wassell's Top 5... Pogs

We're pleased to welcome back Matthew Wassell to The Football Attic with another Top 5 list - this time on a popular collectable game from a couple of decades ago...

For a craze that lasted roughly one summer in the middle of the 1990’s, I still have a soft spot for the game of Pogs.  To be truthful though, these days I am more entertained by looking through my varied collection of multicoloured cardboard and plastic discs rather than actually playing the game itself (which wasn’t all that exciting back then, come to think of it).  As this is a blog about football curios, I thought I’d look out five Premier League and La Liga pogs to photograph and share.

(Whilst looking through the collection, I came across a few disturbing non-football pogs such as one displaying a photo of a baby’s body with a tiger’s head.  This didn’t make it into the Top 5 you’ll be glad to read…)

1. Jurgen Klinsmann (Tottenham Hotspur)

A Premier League 95 pog, this one, and number 238 in the series at that. I have to admit that I have no idea as to how many there were to collect, but I have quite a few players from this collection (was there ever a Premier League 96 collection I wonder?) and seem to remember them being quite popular at the time, so probably more than 238. I would suggest.

This particular pog has lasted 17 years and is in mint condition; in fact I doubt that I ever risked him in a competitive game.

2. Juan Jose Canas (Real Betis)

This is number 67 in a series called Betismania! Great name! I have no recollection of actually buying this pog (like most of them really) but I imagine that it came in some form of pog multipack/cereal packet/random win in a game at school or some other such daily event.

For the uninitiated (including me) Canas, over a 12 year period, played 228 La Liga games for Betis and scored 10 goals from midfield. The question remains though, did he play pogs? Probably not.

3. Ivan-Luis Zamorano (Real Madrid)

Number 59 from the AS collection. First things first: I never knew his name was Ivan-Luis! Was he ever called that by any commentator? I don’t remember that, but what I do recall was his brilliant partnership with Michael Laudrup in the 94-95 season when he bagged 27 goals.

A fine striker and one of FIFA’s Top 100 living players as voted by Pele, no less. The pog is in good condition and I would imagine that with Zamorano at the height of his fame, I wouldn’t have dared risk this one either (a pattern is emerging here, I fancy).

4. Vinnie Jones (Wimbledon)

Pre-Hollywood Jones, no less, but looking just as hard.  Need I say more? Better not to be on the safe side!

5. John Jensen (Arsenal)

Famous for two reasons:  the first for having scored the first goal in the 1992 European Championship Final versus Germany (which Denmark went on to win 2-0) and the second for scoring just one goal in 97 matches for Arsenal in the seasons that followed. In fact when this pog was produced, Jensen had already managed his solitary strike versus QPR and there weren’t many more to come in his career (only three for Brondby in another 130 matches in Denmark).

Interestingly, although I’m a Denmark fan, this pog looks quite well worn which probably means that I won him in a game at some point as I wouldn’t have risked a legend such him in the school playground!

It’s interesting looking back across the years from 2012 to the 1990’s in that we now know how their careers pan out, how many more goals they would score, how many red cards or injuries they would gather and ultimately the pathways that their lives would take. Yet back then, when buying our Pogs or stickers, all we had to go on was a printed smiling face (or not in the case of Vinny Jones) and a hope in our hearts to collect as many as possible!

Many thanks once again to Matthew and don't forget - if you'd like to compile a Top 5 list of your own, please send it through to us at admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com. We'll be happy to publish your work on our website!


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