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Stuck On You By Greg Lansdowne

Release date: 09th March, 2015
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: Ł12.99
Our Price: Ł9.09
You Save: Ł3.9 (30%)
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It’s almost three years since Pitch Publishing successfully reminded those of us who recall football in all of its pre-1992 glory that despite an almost Stalinist-style obliteration of the game's earlier history within sections of the media, there were still millions of supporters happy to spend hours flicking through an over-sized book featuring footballers with dodgy haircuts.

Got, Not Got, (the title was first heard by most of us in the school playground as we checked our mates’ collection of the latest football cards) was a remarkable book, part trip down memory lane, part social history. Pitch Publishing has gone on to successfully mine a rich seam of footballing nostalgia and the company’s latest offering, Stuck On You, raises the bar a little higher, this time latching on to a collective willingness to reminisce about Panini stickers.

Youngsters have collected football cards since the late nineteenth century when John Baines of Bradford invented them around 1885. They were probably even more popular then than the modern-day Panini versions, particularly as they sold in packets of six costing a halfpenny. Today, Baines’ cards sell for up to £80 each.

Lansdowne could be accused of downplaying the enormous popularity of cigarette cards and those found in packets of (thinly sliced) chewing gum between 1920-70, but it would be churlish to complain. After all, his story concentrates on the inexorable rise of the Panini brothers who started their ubiquitous company in Italy in 1954, though it wasn’t until seven years later that they published their first football cards.

In an attempt to test the market, Panini gave away a free football to youngsters collecting at least 100 cards, but within weeks, they realised they had a winner on their hands. The company sold 15 million cards in the first year, a figure that doubled the following year. It was the decision to accompany their cards with an album into which collectors could stick them that catapulted Panini to the pinnacle of the football card-collecting world.

Stuck On You offers another opportunity to wallow in footballing nostalgia and while it’s more focused than Got, Not Got, this book will be understandably devoured by anyone who has ever swapped football cards in the playground, or, as the jacket cover says, “waited months, if not years, hankering after the St Mirren badge”.

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