For a sports fan growing up in the UK in the late 70’s and early 80’s Panini Football stickers were pretty much an essential part of our young collecting lives.
Obviously I’m talking about our Football, ‘The Beautiful Game’, the sport our American cousins have taken to calling Soccer so as not to confuse matters with events that occur on or around the Gridiron!!
Panini continued to make sports stickers long after my interest in them diminished and as a company they pretty much fell off my radar. Until recent years that is, when I picked up on the fact that Panini America had gained exclusive rights to produce licensed NBA cards for the global collecting market!
Panini America?!?! Where the hell did they come from?? I remember thinking at the time that Panini should be just about those small footie stickers of my youth! Since when did Basketball cards enter the equation?
Since that time Panini has grown in strength and stature, steadily expanding its sports card portfolio and broadening it’s brand in the Hobby! And it was with a certain amount of fondness that I’ve just read this article in D Magazine which looks at the Panini America of today as well as paying lip-service (and re-introducing me) to the Panini that I remember from my childhood, the one that played such an important role in my early collecting experiences!
I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for those football stickers of my youth, I doubt I’d have anywhere near the collecting bug that I have today!
Hold on though!! On second thoughts – Damn you Panini!! You’ve got a lot to answer for!!!
Go and have a read! And try not to be too disturbed by the look on Tracy Hackler’s face in that picture!! He looks like he’s enjoying himself far too much 🙂