Panini Football Stickers: The Official Celebration by Greg Lansdowne – Review

Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration by Greg Lansdowne - Review logo

By Steve Crabtree

For those of you who, like me, look back with fond memories of any sort of British nostalgia, Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration is a delight. If you followed football before it became a TV show, this is a nice reminder of a time when the sport we all fell in love with was great.

I used to collect Panini Football Stickers from 1984 until around 1991. A decent seven-year stint where I didn’t quite manage to fill any of my albums, but came close in 1987. I only needed Steve Walford of West Ham United, and the sticker of the Coventry City programme to complete that year’s collection. Why I didn’t send off for those stickers I’ll never know. I always hoped that in my friend’s massive piles of swaps they’d turn up one day, but sadly, they never did.

Nevertheless, collecting football stickers was exciting. It was a fulfilling hobby that I shared with my classmates and the lads on my street. In fact, I shared it with anybody who loved football. There were even a few adults I used to chat stickers with and browse through their doubles. So, when I knew this book was coming out, it looked right up my street.

Panini Football Stickers book copy

“We all loved getting a shiny”

Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration is awash with amazing pictures and images of footballers and their teams over a 60 year period. You find yourself looking for your favourite players, and hark back to some of the players you remember getting 10-15 times a season in your packs of stickers. You smile, and often laugh as you turn each page.

It mainly profiles each British sticker album year by year. And each album write-up highlights some great facts about the differences and individualities of each one. But there’s plenty of other essential reading in other sticker-esque areas too.

There’s a brilliant section that tells you all you need to know about ‘shinies’ and how they changed over the years. We all loved getting a shiny in our packs of stickers, didn’t we? And it breaks off for European Championship collections, and World Cups too. The section on the Mexico 86 World Cup was the most interesting for me. I can’t put my finger on why. Perhaps it seemed an ‘exotic’ album at the time to an eight year old sticker addict, and it brought that nostalgic feeling right back home.

And then there’s reminiscing about all the album covers. Ray Wilkins ’81. Brian Talbot in ’86. Just looking a look at those makes you wish you still had all your collections up in the loft somewhere.

I know I’m probably gushing about my own memories here. But that’s exactly what Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration does. It’s nicely written, and if there’s ever a definition of ‘cult-reading’, this is it.

Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration Front Cover 2

“A magnificent, must-have book”

Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration is jam packed with details of collections which send you down memory lane. It covers interest, intrigue and humour too, reminding you that kits lasted for two seasons, and used to be cool. And that haircuts certainly weren’t cool. In fact, several interesting hairstyles pop up throughout the pages. And there’s a nice double page spread paying tribute to the Barry Venisons, Johnny Metgods and Alan Bileys of the sticker world.

The book is compiled and written by Greg Lansdowne. A quick look at his Twitter account confirms he’s a nostalgic football nut too and he’s written other books similar to Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration. With this one he’s trawled through the Panini archives. And he’s factored many of his own memories into the incredible 240 page, hardbacked sticker bible too. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, do it now. His passion for Panini football stickers is clear, and he’s written a brilliant book.

It’s a read that I initially put on my Christmas list. But temptation got the better of me, and I decided to buy it on its release day instead. I’ve spent time flicking through various sections of the book, but I finally got to read it in full, cover-to-cover over the last week or so. And it’s then where you really feel its magic. It’s a magnificent must-have for your football book collection. And, in the interests of ending this book review in a totally obvious way, if you haven’t got Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration book yet, it’s something you need.

‘Panini Football Stickers: The Official Celebration – A Nostalgic Journey Through the World of Panini’ by Greg Lansdowne is publsihed by Bloomsbury, £14.99 hardback


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