Backstory (Read this bit first!)

The World Cup is here, and I’m quite excited. Despite the avalanche of nonsense that goes with it – crap songs, crap adverts, endless corporate whoring, the irredeemable cartoon villainy of FIFA, Robbie Savage – I’m still giddy with anticipation, as I have been every four years for as long as I can remember. Like most other football followers, the tournaments of my youth are emblazoned on my mind’s eye. For me, now a thirty year old lapsed child, Italia ’90 feels like a glorious, hazy overture – a wonderful introduction to a game I would swiftly come to adore – of sodden, sweltering, bemulleted men diving, wailing and spitting their way to immortality. USA ’94 meanwhile, which I obviously remember far more vividly, feels like a garish explosion of kaleidoscopic kits, wilting, screaming Irishmen and voluminous, billowing goalnets, all viewed through a blazing shimmer of heat.

One other thing that stands out from 1994 is that it was the first tournament when I had an accompanying Panini sticker album. I’ll confess now that despite my best efforts, I failed to complete it, with maybe a half dozen elusive stickers presenting a gaping chasm between me and some serious playground kudos. I simply ran out of cash, with my £2 per week pocket money eventually stretched beyond breaking point by packet after packet of useless “gots” when all I really wanted were five or six “needs”.

Anyway, it’s now twenty years later, and I’m having another stab at it. I held off for a while, but having seen a few friends engaged in a frenzied session of swapsies, I’ve now surrendered. The only problem is, money is a little tight, and I can’t in good conscience really commit to an outlay of likely a couple of hundred pounds just to fill a sticker book. I am a cheapskate.

My solution is to obtain an empty Panini World Cup sticker album (wonderfully, you can pick one up for free from a branch of the Co-Op), and then simply draw in the stickers myself. I say “myself”, but in reality I will be aided and abetted by my strangely tolerant and disconcertingly enthusiastic other half Sian. She at least has an A-Level in Art, whereas my artistic prowess extends to being able to draw a quite good Homer Simpson and absolutely nothing else.

Pic2Pic6Pic7Pic13Pic1Pic12

The World Cup starts today. Today. The Panini Official Licensed Sticker Album for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has 639 stickers. I’ve seen a few estimates stating that to fill the album without swapsies would cost in the region of, on average, £450. We are attempting to do it for exactly £0, with pens from Sian’s craft drawers (don’t ask) and stickers “borrowed” from a work stationery cupboard. 639 stickers to draw and colour. So far, we’ve done nine (Sian’s David Villa is an early highlight, my Cristiano Ronaldo a risible disgrace), meaning a nice round 630 still to go. If we are to finish by the day of the World Cup Final on Sunday 13th July , thirty-one days from now, we need to churn out about twenty stickers per day. That may prove to be a little ambitious… but please do check back and follow our progress.

Alex (& Sian!) – Panini Cheapskates

20 thoughts on “Backstory (Read this bit first!)

  1. It’s a genius idea, but if your mum (or any mum said to a son) ‘Why don’t you just draw in the ones you’re missing’ she would be on the receiving end of the biggest tantrum of the summer and derided for a ‘stupid idea’.

  2. I love this blog – it makes me laugh every day. But how do you know what the stickers are meant to look like in the first place unless you have the ‘real’ one to copy? Because I have a son, and because we managed to complete the 2012 album, I am stuck on the treadmill of buying the little yellow packs every time I go near a shop. I wonder if he would notice a few hand drawn faces in amongst the bland, mass produced ones… Only two years to the next European cup – will you be taking part?

    • We just google the stickers for each player we want to draw, and do our best to copy it from the screen! We’re still yet to buy an actual sticker, hehe. The European Championships? Yikes, we’ll have to wait and see!

  3. Great idea, just saw it on the newspaper in Mexico. Love your stickers! I’m still missing 21 to fill mine, can you help me with missing ones? hahaha Good luck!

  4. Quite wonderful … I presume you’re in the millions of hits on this page now, and growing – you could make a living out of this :-) You have my email below or above or wherever it turns up when you view this – if not it’s alan@jsoccer.com – so much for privacy! I would really love to use some (or all – if you ever get around to it) of the Japan “stickers” in the next issue of JSoccer Magazine along with lots of credits for the site or whatever else you wanted crediting!) with perhaps a taster on http://www.jsoccer.com – would you be up for that? Thanks, and keep up the good work :-)

  5. […] I've been watching this all unfold on Alex's Facebook page and it's been quite an interesting thing to see, especially if you're in the social media and blogging business. So, what's Panini Cheapskates all about? Alex collected World Cup Panini stickers when he was a kid in 1994, but didn't manage to finish the album. It costs money, you see? So move forward to 2014, it's still expensive, so why not draw them? What a great idea, with hilarious results. You can read it in more detail here. […]

  6. Dear Alex and Sian,

    I hope this message finds you well, and not too stressed, I realise you’re rushing to complete the drawings in time for the Messi-fest!

    A quick question then (posted here as I cannot find an e-mail address) – I’m currently writing an article on a “World Cup Migrant XI”, a selection made up of players born in one country to parents from another, etc. Could I use images of the stickers for the players selected? Credit will be given of course. The article will be published on http://www.mondepasrond.net, an artistic webzine on borders and human rights.

    Heartfelt thanks in advance, and all the best!

    Antoine Cassar
    editor of “Le monde n’est pas rond”
    mondepasrond at gmail dot com

  7. Scrolled through the entire blog and found five stickers, but have some missing – any chance you could send me them? Will check Twitter account also.

    - Patrice Evra
    - Jonathan De Guzmán
    - Paul Pogba
    - Miralem Pjanić
    - David Silva
    - Adnan Januzaj (probably doesn’t exist as he joined the squad very late)
    - Carlos Queiroz

    Heartfelt thanks again! This project is better than the real thing!
    Antoine

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