Thursday September 27th. A pretty bog standard day for most of us, but not so for many of Britain’s football mad schoolboys.
The reason? Today was the day that Topps launched their 2012/13 season ‘Match Attax’ into newsagents and shops around the nation.
If you are unsure exactly what they are – and I was in that camp until recently – Match Attax is the current incarnation of the football card trading phenomenon.
Kids (or adults too, I guess) can purchase an album and then spend the next 9 months buying little packets of cards in a desperate attempt to fill the album before the end of the football season next May.
Until then, the schoolyards will be full of junior collectors, clutching fistfuls of duplicate cards, seeking to trade them for someone they don’t already have.
Match Attax certainly has a strong playground currency at the moment and I dare say many future city traders will be cutting their teeth trading football cards long before they are let loose with our money.
But Match Attax haven’t always been the top dogs. Panini were the ones for a while and well before that there were ‘Soccer Stars’. I know, because I used to collect them as a young boy.
In fact, when tidying out a cupboard a while ago, I came across two of my old Soccer Stars albums, looking a bit dog-eared, but otherwise in pretty good condition. One, to my amazement was complete and the other to my horror was missing one measly card.
Flicking through the albums brought back childhood memories of buying packets at my local newsagent, tearing them open to reveal a selection of giant headed players, working out who I didn’t already have and then gluing them into my album before bundling up the extras into a pile of ‘swaps’ for next day at school.
And although football generally was a more innocent, less corrupted sport back then, I can still recall rumours of conspiracy theories as we would discuss whether the publishers deliberately under-printed quantities of certain players thereby ensuring their scarcity and creating ‘Charlie and the Chocolate factory’ type levels of demand. Surely they wouldn’t do that, would they?
Having witnessed my own boys’ excitement at the arrival of the new Match Attax series, I’m pleased to see that although so many things are different for school kids today, some things never change…the love of collecting things, the urge to swap stuff and of course the desperate desire to ‘get the set’.
Which reminds me, if anyone has a spare Martin Peters card from the Mexico World cup set, please do get in touch. I’ll be forever grateful.