Panini launch 'Road to 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia' sticker collection

Fri, Jun 30 2017


Growing up in the 1980s, the weekly pilgrimage to a League of Ireland ground wasn’t the only vital football related journey of the week. The once-a-week early morning trip to the local shop to secure a copy of Shoot! Magazine was almost as critical.


My local store always ordered five copies despite the demand far exceeding their supply. Many mornings, a few hardy souls, sitting on their BMX or Raleigh bikes, would wait outside the closed shop, money in hand, waiting for the shopkeeper to arrive and open the heavily wrapped delivery of mags on the doorstep.


Shoot! was a staple for keeping in touch with football. The free posters lined the walls of my bedroom, the articles were devoured and filed away, and the centre pages were filled with the results, scorers, and stats from the weekend’s cross-channel fixtures – a stato’s dream.


Before the total and complete saturation of live football on television, the early Saturday morning viewing of Saint and Greavsie on ITV and Football Focus on BBC Grandstand, with the possibility of a live game now and then if you were lucky, before the must see Match of the Day on Saturday night was largely it. If you missed a highlights show or a main news bulletin or the newspaper reports on Sunday or Monday, then getting results could prove a challenge, especially when you have a bizarre interest in 3rd Division scorelines. In a household without Aertel or Ceefax, Shoot! was key!


The other hugely important event in for kids growing up following football in the eighties was the Panini Sticker book.


Every year there would be a league sticker book but during those even year summers, there would be a European or World Cup special catalogue.


The excitement of receiving a new packet of stickers and finding one you didn’t have was a tremendous moment. The pile of swaps was ordered by team, or alphabetically, or by number depending on your mood. The pile would be filtered through and analysed over and over. It was a 1980s offline version of a football wiki of players. Schoolyard barter sessions for missing players could be tense as you tried not to show your excitement which would up the cost by a multitude of extra swaps into the deal.  


Times have changed dramatically since then but one thing hasn’t – the popularity of Panini sticker books lives on.


Panini, an Italian company named after the two brothers (Giuseppe and Benito) that founded it, began selling stickers in 1961. The company has continued to grow and their sticker collections continue to be a hit with children and adults alike. It is not an uncommon occurance for grown adults to go and with their swaps and exchange them over a pint and a chat in a local pub swap session (in 2014 I popped along to witness one such event). In the Internet age, the continued success of sticker books is quite a marvel.


So whether you are an adult with a nostalgic urge to relive your childhood hobby or you want your children to experience it for themselves, the good news is the “Road to 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia” sticker collection has been launched by Panini this month.


Featuring top players from around the world and the best national teams, this collection will prepare fans for the biggest event in world football and the emotion and excitement it will bring with it.


Collectors can kick start their collection with a starter pack, which includes an album plus 26 stickers. There are 528 stickers to collect in total including those well-known faces from England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. You can pick up an album and the stickers from retail outlets throughout the country. 


Just like the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, a separate sticker set will be issued closer to the actual event, once the participating teams are decided.


So will you be getting an album for yourself or your kids? Did you collect stickers as a child or do you think it’s all madness? We’d love to hear your stories and opinions by commenting in the section below! Keep an eye out on ExtraTime.ie for future Panini promotions! 


The 2018 FIFA World Cup is scheduled for June 14 to July 15, 2018 and Extratime.ie will keep you up to date on all the events building up and during the competition.