If you are a football fan, it is almost certain that at one point in your life that you have collected something football-related.
It might be collecting football stickers or cards as a youngster with other school friends trading them in the playground. You might also begin to start building a stash of programmes or ticket stubs from matches that you have been to. If you start reading a magazine and enjoy reading it, after a few months you may have built up a pile of issues.
World Cup coins come out in the months prior to the tournament starting and Panini bring out a World Cup sticker collection too. Luckily the World Cup comes around every four years so you can save the collecting bug for then!
In the programme collecting world, the opportunities are endless. I began collecting programmes after my Dad used to return from games with a programme for me to read. I then added to my collection after being given a large box of programmes by a family member and then another large collection from one of my Dad’s work colleagues.
I noticed a few adverts in football magazines from programme dealers who offered bargain bundles to draw collectors in. Before I knew it, I was collecting FA Cup Final programmes going back to a certain year. Then I tried completing complete seasons of Arsenal home games and major Cup Finals that Arsenal had played in.
Another theme that I had read a collector had started was collecting a home programme from each of the 92 Football League club. They then took this back to a certain season, causing their collection to balloon in size, with storage very quickly becoming an issue!
My collection had no set theme, I would just hoard large amount of programmes. I learnt the hard way that you need to have a theme to your collection as there are infinite programmes out there!
There comes a tipping point when a collection turns from the odd dozen of something to furiously chasing around for back issues of magazines or the elusive couple of programmes to complete a collection.
I recently fell into the trap of Rothman’s Yearbooks and over the course of last year, I bought all fifty that have been published since it came to bookstores back in 1970.
With my wallet recovering from buying in all of the back copies of the Rothmans Yearbook, I then discovered the News of the World Football Annual! This football annual is in its 133rd year and before I knew it, I was buying back copies of this from eBay and Amazon! I quickly sold this collection on because I knew that the older, more scare editions would cost the same as a new car!
Although the Rothman’s books look good on the shelves that my Dad helped me to put up for them to be stored on, they seldom get read. Space will be at a premium in years to come with my daughter’s growing older. I think that my back catalogue of musty football annuals might have to be sacrificed!
This article almost feels like a confessional piece and I have one more admission to make. I began to hoard back issues of ’Shoot’, a weekly magazine that I read as a young boy! There’s certainly a bit of misty-eyed nostalgia as I leaf back through the magazines. Everyone always claims that football was better when they were younger and for me, the mid 1990’s was the era that I started to begin my football obsession.
As with all collections, a certain buzz begins to form as you chase down the last few items to complete the collection. When I was a child collecting football strickers, my Dad once resorted to buying five packets of stickers in the hope of finishing my 1994 Premier League Collection. Sadly, this binge purchase didn’t pay off and we admitted defeat. We carefully filled out the form in the middle of the sticker album where you could write the number of the stickers that you needed to complete your collection. The stickers arrived in the post a few weeks later and I was the proud owner of a completed 1994 Premier League Sticker Album!
If you have the time, patience and money to spend on collecting football memorabilia, it can be a really enjoyable hobby. Just go easy though and don’t let it get you out of pocket!