7 Reasons That The Panini World Cup 2010 Sticker Album Is Frustrating
The World Cup starts today, and so does my 2010 World Cup Panini sticker album, and it’s fair to say that I’m rather excited by both events. Somehow though, the Panini album isn’t quite as much fun as I remember them being in my childhood.
1. Cost. Traditionally, Panini sticker albums are very expensive to complete, but I’ve found ten packets of stickers on Amazon for £4.52, and I only need 638 stickers to complete the pack. So potentially, I could complete my collection for as little as £60 (approximately). But that won’t happen, obviously. I’ll probably end up spending a fortune trying to find An Chol-Hyok or Haminu Dramani. As John Cleese said, “I can take the despair, it’s the hope I can’t stand.”
2. Duplicates. Nine Peter Crouches. I know I’m going to end up with nine Peter Crouches. Obviously, when buying packs of stickers I’ll check that there are no feet protruding from the bottom of them, but I just know that – despite my precautions – I’ll end up with nine of him. And what the hell can I swap eight Peter Crouches for?
3. Social Media. Swapping stickers isn’t the challenge that it used to be. It would be a matter of ease to use the Twitter hashtag #panini to find other people to swap with; there’s also a Facebook group to swap World Cup stickers in. Where’s the difficulty there? Obviously it’s preferable to having grown-men turn up at their local school playgrounds looking for swapsies but still, it does take some of the challenge out of it.
4. It’s Out Of Date. Panini obviously had to put the albums together before the final World Cup squads were announced. My first six stickers (free with the album) were; Steven Pienaar, Javier Mascherano, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, yet only 67% of those players are going to be at the World Cup. And Drogba’s fitness is still a bit of a question-mark. In the Panini England squad, there’s no Jamie Carragher or Joe Cole, but Theo Walcott and David Beckham are there. Sadly, Bobby Moore isn’t.
5. Cheating. You can now order the missing stickers that you need to complete your album from Panini online. That’s outrageous. It would feel like cheating. When did they start doing that? The potential of failing to complete the album is one of the most important parts of the sticker-album experience: It makes the investment in stickers a gamble. And it’s important to teach children to gamble because…um…okay, perhaps it isn’t. But it is important to teach them that sometimes life is hard, and that desire and effort alone often aren’t enough to succeed. We need to beat the hope out of them while they’re still young. Never mind mollycoddling them with the certainty of a complete album. Bastards!
6. Referees. There aren’t any referees in the album. But I’m supporting Howard Webb this World Cup; I think he can go all the way to the final. I’ve never complained about the lack of a picture of a former policeman from Rotherham before – possibly no one has – but why aren’t there any refs? Surely if there’s room for players that aren’t playing, there should be room for officials?
7. The Customary Descent Into Panini Madness. My birthday occurs during the World Cup. What do you think I’ve asked for? Clothes? Furniture? A bicycle? Beer? No, eschewing all sorts of cool and interesting presents, I’ve asked for stickers. Lots of stickers. Because I want to complete my Panini album (without resorting to cheating) more than I want anything in the world. In fact, I’d probably get more satisfaction from completing it than I would from an England World Cup victory. It’s only day one, and already my Panini album has caused me to lose all sense of proportion. Where will it end?