‘GOT, got, need’.

It is a phrase that anyone who collects football sticker books will recognise. For the uninitiated, it is code for football sticker swap deals.

The phrase has resurfaced in the last few years thanks to a resurgence in the sales of football sticker books and the amount of people collecting.

Participating in the collection of football sticker albums has by and large been a taboo topic for adults for a very long time but that has changed. Big time.

Ronaldo is likely to be one of the stars of the tournament
Cristiano Ronaldo will be a sought after sticker in the Euro 2016 album

Effectively it was kids who had the monopoly over football sticker collections.

They could walk into a local shop without any hesitation and spend their pocket money on as many sticker packs as they could afford.

Adults, of course, were perfectly capable of doing the exact same but it isn’t the same.

So many different things come into and adults mind when buying football sticker books.

What if someone sees me? The sneering look of the shopkeeper when you try to explain that the stickers are for your kids, nephews or for someone else. They never believe you, ever.

Where has this resurgence come from? According to the Daily Telegraph everything changed with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Sales in Panini stickers rocketed and it wasn’t down to kids all of a sudden having more money. It was adults trying to fill a void that had never really been filled.

The National Football Museum in Manchester got in on the act in 2014 before the World Cup when they asked visitors to donate their swaps from their albums.

With the help of digital artist Dan Farrimond, a mosaic containing 3,000 stickers was created of Bobby Moore with the World Cup in 1966.

The once onerous task of visiting the local shopkeeper to fill your book is no longer an issue. There are now a plethora of online swap shops that fulfil the need to complete your collection.

Websites like SwapStick, footballcardsdirect.com and laststicker.com are among the many websites that offer the chance of completion.

A quick search on eBay or Amazon could also help you find the elusive stickers you require.

Panini also now have an app where collectors can scan their stickers to help compile a check list of those already collected, order stickers and check for missing stickers from past albums. The days of an unfinished album are now a thing of the past.

Social media has also played its part in the football sticker book revolution and Panini also leads the way on Twitter.

Using #gotgotneed Panini’s UK and Ireland account has become a hub for collectors to share their experiences and photos.

As the tweet below indicates, in some cases the twitter account acts as a meeting point for people who want to swap.

Panini are not the only player in the football sticker album in the UK and Ireland though. Merlin Collections won the Premier League contract in 1994 and enjoyed immediate success.

They were taken over by Topps Direct the following year and to this day still manufacture the official Premier League sticker book.

As good as the current ones are, the daddy of all football sticker books was the Orbis World Cup 1990 Complete Edition.

The Orbis Italia ’90 collection was not just a sticker book, it was an encyclopedia. 20 different editions came out before the World Cup began.

Subscribers were treated to an in-depth breakdown of all 24 teams taking part, the superstar players, a look back at great World Cup games and a synopsis of all the tournaments dating back to Uruguay 1930.

What of this year’s sticker book? Well, for starters it doesn’t offer as much detail as the Orbis Italia ’90 but has its merits.

The album contains a brilliant synopsis of all the previous European Championship Finals dating from 1960–2012 as well as an interesting fact file on the final page.

There is also a section where you can create a sticker using a picture that you have uploaded but let’s be honest, the only stickers that really matter are the 680 that you can collect.

The National Football Museum is in on the act once again and are hosting Panini swap meets in the lead up Euro 2016.

The sessions take place every Sunday between 1-2pm in the main atrium of the museum and is the perfect place to meet fellow swappers and utter the time old phrase of ‘got, got, need’.

By John Keogh

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