Sunday, 1 April 2012

Future Nostalgia: Panini Euro 2012

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.

I bought my album last Friday, sealed as it was with three free packets of stickers inside its clear wrapper. It felt good. Really good. When I was a child, new Panini albums – those tied in with each domestic season in the UK - would typically be given away free with Shoot! magazine. Now they fight for shelf space in their own right with all manner of other magazine fodder in WHSmith's. Just as well the Euro 2012 album stands out with its vivid purple front cover.

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.

The next thing to notice is the layout of the team pages. No longer is each vacant sticker space accompanied by an abbreviated player profile below it. Most of that stuff's now on the sticker itself, remarkably. The player's name, club, date of birth, height and weight are all now below the player's face, thereby leaving each team page as a series of empty rectangles (save for a column displaying the appearances and goals for each squad member). A brave move by Panini, but one which works rather well.

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.

But how did I fair out of all this?  Which stickers featured among those in the packets I opened first?  Well the first sticker I saw in my first packet couldn't have been more enigmatic, for it featured Italy's own Mario Balotelli. I got Liverpool's Daniel Agger, Spanish superstar David Villa and Manchester United's very own Ashley Young.

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...


  1. Love it lads, brilliant. Started my collection too, look forward to keeping up on progress, will let you know of my swapsies! Says a lot that my blog previewing this collection is my most read of the month, clearly a huge demand for it!

  2. Indeed there is! Loved your article on stickers, by the way - keep up the good work! :)

  3. They did not publish the players' birthplaces this time, I always liked that in previous sets

  4. Quite so - good point, Anonymous...