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If you collected Subbuteo in the 1970s and the 1980s, the chances are you had a Panini sticker album, and a huge pile of swaps. There you'd be, with a festering pile of dog eared football stickers in your pocket, usually with an elastic band round them, together with a hand written list of numbers of the stickers you required to complete your collection.

As my Dad said once "If you want a football book that much, why don't you buy one, it would be much cheaper!" He obviously missed the point. It wasn't just the satisfaction of having a nice album to show for your efforts, it was the anticipation of popping along to the paper shop and buying packs of stickers. Tearing open the edge, inhaling the new sticker smell, and then being disappointed, as you realise you've already got Tony Woodcock three times, and although it's nice to receive the Aston Villa badge, you've already got it in swaps, and nobody wants it.

Still, the following day, you'd go back to the shop and hand over your money again, just for the thrill of tearing open the little packets, hoping for those stickers you still needed to complete your set.

The first set I collected was Football 77. I still remember now that I needed Liverpool's Ray Kennedy to finish the 500+ sticker album. I hunted high and low for his little picture. I returned to my desk after dinner, to find some miserable git had stuck two copies of the Scouser on the inside, complete with felt pen glasses and beard. And I sobbed. I carefully peeled the stickers off, and took them home, but I couldn't put them in the book. I eventually did get a copy of the sticker, and I finished the book.

It seems a company called Merlin make the most popular range of English stickers now, with Panini making stickers ranging from "Barbie" dolls to WWE wrestling sets to "The Simpsons". Think of a subject, and the chances are there is a sticker set for it.