Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Hit me with your rhythm stick-er..."

No, I certainly don't remember this faintly-frightening bearded bloke from the days of my great Panini football sticker obsession, 1984-85.

That was the year I proudly managed to fill (eventually) the whole book, after weeks and weeks of tearing open 12p packets-of-six and doing the daily rigmarole of got-got-got-need-got-need and swap-swap-swap.

Okay, okay, so the final three only arrived in the post, after I'd succumbed to temptation and irritably posted off for the elusive trio. But by that stage, I'd spent so much pocket money, time, effort and enthusiasm with only ever-growing piles of useless swaps to show, that I felt I'd earned the easy way out.

Aside from a hefty ring-bound folder of Orbis World Cup '90 squads, stickers and supplements (including a feature on Steve Nicol written, albeit alas not by-lined, by 12-year-old me), the sticker obsession never really, er, stuck for much longer than that '85 job lot. But this website brought back a few happy memories, like Proust's nibble and scent of tea-soaked madeleine perhaps, only with a slightly bitter tip-of-the-tongue taste of half-dried glue instead...

I was desperate for Tottenham to be the first team I completed, but unfortunately Glenn - who else? - Hoddle remained elusive enough that Reuben Agboola finally finished off Southampton first instead. (Taunting urban legend in the playground suggested that a boy in the year above opened one packet to find five Hoddles out of six...)

Until browsing this site, I'd completely forgotten such odd-looking, pre-Premiership names and faces as...

Though I do dimly recall being surprised at the time, by the occasional, otherwise-unassuming face - even sturdy old Stevie P - sporting a little glint of ear-ring. Oh, such pre-bling innocence...

And ah, what a Tottenham team that could have been. Indeed, occasionally was. Soon to add Newcastle United's Chris Waddle to the likes of Hoddle, Ardiles, Allen, Clemence and, er, Chiedozie.

Of course, 1985 was when Liverpool's hooligan fans managed to get English teams thrown out of European competition for five years. Quite why anyone would want to extol those days of terrace 'bovver', I haven't the faintest, but Danny Dyer's excruciating efforts on film and TV screen, for a start, suggest there is a market for that kind of thing.

Myself, I'd have preferred to see that Hoddle, Waddle et al team take on Europe's finest, but it wasn't to be...

Still, at least Spurs are now back where they sort-of-hopefully belong, in Europe - and a pleasure it was on Thursday night, to see the Lilywhites all-in-white taking on and (just about) beating Slavia Prague.

Yes, it's been a very stuttering start to the season, with the players apparently still hungover (or still stomach-churned) from that sickening failure to clinch Champions League qualification on the last day of last season.

But even with Carrick gone, and the old injury jinx clicking and cracking painfully back into place, this hasn't suddenly become a bad side overnight, and such four top-quality strikers will surely soon start scoring.. And scoring. And scoring even more. Honest.

Well, what little's left of it, anyway...
I’m hoping to go to Istanbul and/or Leverkusen, although I’m not quite sure quite how many airline seats are still left, and how much affordability actually as well…
But while I look back at those Eighties sticker collections and long for the seeming innocence of those days, the simplicities and the sturdiness and the...

Ah, actually - I ponder what more might have been added to my life had I never become a football fan. Had I been one of those (frankly-untrustworthy-to-these-contaminated-eyes, but still) football-neglecting folks, never once caught up in a precis of top-division tactics, or giving over vast transfer-deadline-days to every glimmer of a rumour, the whole soap-operatic silliness of the game… What burly banks of knowledge could I now count upon, in the arts, history, politics, even (gulp) sciences?
What parts of my brain have been cloistered out of contention?
And... actually...
Would I really want it any (other) way?

Don't answer that.

3 comments:

Toxic said...

I look at that 84 Aberdeen team sticker with all those trophies infront of them and it makes me sad.

Aidan said...

Who IS that pallid young manager of their's...?

Console yourself with finding the Dundee United player captioned David Dodds, but surely, really George Roper...

Toxic said...

Ah the days of standing at the dung heap singing...

"Davie Dodds the elephant man"

Whne he played for and against us.