11 struggles of an adult owning a football sticker book

Collecting football stickers as a child can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of following the sport. Well, the good news is as an adult it’s just as good, if not better. But due to it being almost socially-unacceptable for anyone with the slightest sign of stubble and a driving license to do so, the holy grail of completing this year’s World Cup Panini sticker book becomes a whole lot tougher…and here’s why:

1. The purchase

You like to think of yourself as a mature and respected individual, yet suddenly you are faced with having to pass over a sticker book (recommended for ages 4+) to a cashier. Do you A) claim you are buying it for your nephew B) make a joke about never being too old for stickers or C) just don’t say anything and the awkward situation will pass? The answer is no matter what you do the other side of the counter is thinking ‘seriously, how old is this guy’.

2. Inflation!

Remember when stickers were 25p per packet, well think again oldy! 50p per packet nowadays which is 100% inflation, making every swap you open worth 8.33p. That’s the same price as 83% of a Fredo. Which are not 10p either anymore. I give up.

3. Stickers become currency

Most of your stickers pre-15 years old were funded out of a parent’s pocket, now suddenly you are accountable for each packet bought. Not only does this add up, but suddenly sticker packets become a convertible currency. Buying a beer for £5, suddenly conjures thoughts of “I could have got 10 packs of stickers for that”.

4. Mathematics

Life was much simpler when the peak of your mathematical abilities was the 12-times table (13 was a killer). Now you most likely have at least an E in GCSE mathematics, you may be able to work out how much you will have to spend to complete a sticker book. According to one estimate, you would need to buy 824 packs of stickers to fill this year’s album at a total cost of….£412! Explain that one to the Mrs when you don’t take her out for dinner over the World Cup period.

5. Swaps cartel

No longer can you stroll through a playground with the luxury of selecting which child to swap your doubles with. In fact if you do attempt this, you will most likely end up in jail. Instead you now have to identify the ever-shrinking small group of friends you have which are also collecting stickers and trade swaps with them. Which brings up the next point…

6. Swaps rendezvous points


As an adult, where is it socially acceptable to trade your swaps stickers? Pub? House? Football match? Taking your book to any of these places is a bit strange and stickers and alcohol is a dangerous mix.

7. Going public

Risk vs reward…do you open up to owning the book on the basis that others may flock to you with promises of that England shiny you need. Risk vs reward…you decide.

8. Dealing

Is it okay to trade a sticker for a beer? This collector says yes.

9. Patience

Not many things will sway your attention away from the ultimate goal of completing a sticker book as a kid. But the older you grow, the more things you have going on around you. The more responsibilities you have. The more bills you need to pay….face it you’ve forgotten about the book just reading about this list of depressing realities.

10. Neymar is how old?

That’s right the star of the forthcoming World Cup is just 22, born in 1992, probably when you had your first sticker book. Realising this may put you off the idea of collecting these stickers all together.

11. The end goal

So you’ve overcome struggles 1 through 10 and reached the promise land of completing the sticker book…now what?

I suggest some form of public announcement followed by a ceremony featuring a crown and the song from the Champions League intro while being carried into a palace by the winning World Cup team and presented with said crown by David Beckham.

Best of luck!

#gotgotneed

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