I’ve always been more of a cards man myself, and I never really understood why so many of my friends liked football stickers sets instead.
The thing that really confused me was the fact that they all seemed to want to actually stick them down in their crumpled-up binder. Which went against everything I knew about collecting. Especially seeing how you couldn’t exactly trade anymore, unless you were into a book-for-book deal.
Which Football Stickers Sets should I buy?
Well, it’s a question that usually ends up with a nostalgic answer.
But if it’s about value, then you have to think about the type of players available in that selection and the types of stories you’re able to either manufacture or recite about them.
For example – how many rookie stickers they contain (see an article we wrote here if you’re not sure what a ‘rookie’ is – and this one), how many impending retirees they feature. If that particular season or tournament had some significance, and other things that would make you want to say: ‘I have it’.
So, in this article as part of the Hobby FC Sticker Collection, we’re going to feature 3 specific football stickers sets that seem to be capturing the collectors’ eye. Beginning with…
Merlin Premier League (2007)
For myself personally, this was when I really got into the collecting part of football. But we’re also looking at an era which was crucial the impending years of The Premier League.
I mentioned in the introduction about the storytelling angle of collecting football memorabilia, and this is a set which invokes a lot of that from different clubs from this period.
Chelsea were in a transitional post-Mourinho period, with a lot of ‘cult heroes‘ coming and going during that time – but still hold a special place in Blues hearts. The same can be said for Liverpool and Arsenal, meanwhile Manchester United were building another era-defining dynasty under Sir Alex.
To this day, fans still debate which side was the best between the ‘99 and ‘08 side, and there are arguments to be made and appreciated in either camp. But for this Merlin set, all they had to worry about were their delightfully simple sticker designs for the league’s biggest names.
A rarity for football stickers sets as a whole, this particular collection also featured printed autographs on them. Which can be a bit of an eye-sore for certain players, but fine for most.
I myself was able to very recently procure 4 items from the Merlin Premier League 2007 set. An Antonio Valencia (Wigan), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Robin van Persie (Arsenal) and Andriy Shevchenko (Chelsea). All PSA 9’s and all for a combined total of less than £60.
There were many other bidders, but I timed it well – or so the seller begrudgingly admitted to me!
Panini FIFA World Cup (2006)
Again, this entry is a little bit personal, but the provenance is there to support its inclusion.
World Cups are always a source of great global interest in the game, and football stickers sets as a whole can trace their lineage back to earlier tournaments for their inauguration.
But this particular one had a whole heap of meaning to them, and from many different angles.
Firstly, we have the stories and the memories from it. Italy were crowned champions – a pretty big thing after that whole Calciopoli debacle. Argentina created perhaps the greatest team goal in international history in the knockouts. The Battle of Nuremberg takes up a proud place in football’s archive of infamy – as does the controversial Ronaldo ‘wink’ vs England.
And who can forget the Zinedine Zidane head-butt in the final against Marco Materazzi. The Qatari World Cup organisers even made a statue to memorialise it in case we did!
Names such as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Totti, Zidane and Beckham are the household names that everybody loves, and there were a few rookies to look out for too.
In particular, that pimple-faced Portuguese teenager named Cristiano Ronaldo who ‘got Rooney sent off’. And a mercurial Argentinian winger named ‘Lionel Andres Messi’. Unsurprisingly, the unusual naming format and rookie mix makes his the most valuable part of this collection.
As far as football stickers sets go from World Cups, few can rival the 2006 edition in Germany for having as many single collectibles as this one. Then again, the most recent one is a shout!
Panini FIFA World Cup Qatar (2022)
The preamble to this tournament was impossible to ignore. Yet the football stickers sets curated by Panini couldn’t have been able to predict the outcome if it tried a thousand times.
Firstly, we have what was an outstanding run to the semi-finals from relative minnows Morocco. Who captured the world’s attention and heart as they fought bravely against an overwhelming French side; powered by Kylian Mbappe, who was determined to repeat the Russian tales of 2018.
Standing in his way came an Argentinian team hell-bent on preventing that from happening, whilst also proliferating the profile of their hero, Lionel Messi. No ‘Andres’ on the sticker this time.
Featuring a simple background with a couple of limited edition colours floating about, collectors from around the world would probably like to merge the 2006 and 2022 stickers together.
So that they can have the first ‘bursting onto the scene‘ moment where Argentina weren’t at their best, to the ‘perfect end to the legacy‘ when he finally lifted that famous gold trophy.
It was the first time they’d done so since 1986. Where the equally-revered Diego Maradona had a hand in that particular victory. But for now, Lionel Messi was and remains to be the man on everybody’s lips – and for good reason – but until that fateful day comes where he retires and leaves the game for good, his sticker is still of fair value, and worth grading and maintaining ’til then.
Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t get the end that his story deserved and if this does end up being his last hoorah on the international stage, then he’s almost just as collectible as his competitive rival.
All in all, these football stickers sets can represent good value for money.
Like any collection, there will be players who have fallen through the depths of obscurity and won’t really maintain any tangible value in today’s market.
But for those players who can invoke those memories and get collectors excited, there is value to be seen out of them provided you can get them for the right price, and maybe even collect the finished articles at a solid grade. Which, for the last two choices, shouldn’t even be that hard!
Which of these collections would you collect? Let us know on Twitter here.