The following year after I sold my soul to Ipswich Town FC a strange thing happened. I decided to buy a copy of Shoot Magazine. I was not normally a Shoot reader. I’d recently been let down by my newsagent over a missing pair of x-ray glasses that were “supposed” to be there in my copy of Look-In magazine. But alas no ammout of arguing would get me my free x-ray specs.
Sad that I would not be able to look through people and see their bones (because we all know these specs would have worked) I decided to abstain from La, La, La, La, La, Look-In until they offered up another freebie. Perusing the shelf my eyes came across Shoot. Now normally the best freebie in Shoot was a league ladder, but this time it was something better. The 1979 Panini Football sticker book, with a pack of five free stickers.
So began a year long quest to collect the whole book! A year of bugging my mother for extra pocket money. “Oh go on, its only 6p!” A year of swapsies with my friends who were also suckered in. It was like crack cocaine to the ten year old me, and you didn’t even get a stick of gum in the packet! Every now and then the magic of getting a gold team card happened. Or the joy of getting one of the Ipswich Town Boys.
Little did I know that Brain Talbot would sod off to Arsenal! Back to back FA Cup wins for him. As the year went on, the book started to look a little worse for ware, my constant flicking through the pages to see who I needed, the chuckle each time I saw the Hearts player named Charlie Brown. It was going well, but the 1980 book would be out soon.
Now Santa may be magic to some of you, but I don’t think there is anything better than your Mum and Dad going off to visit an elderly relative living in Tollesbury, Essex. I didn’t go for some reason, I can’t remember why but I’m sure it bugged the crap out of my older sister who had to look after me, so it was worth it. When I say about the greatness of my parents going to see old Aunt Reinee it wasn’t so much the going that I was happy about. It was their triumphant return. There was nothing special about the drive, the back roads through Sudbury are as boring now as they were in early 1980, It was what they had with them. Two full boxes of the drug I was addicted to. Hundreds of stickers, HUNDREDS! I spead the packets over the living room and admired my stash! Then set to the task of going through them, this had to complete my book. for the next day or so it was, “Got it, Got it, Got it, NEED IT!, Got it” repeat.
Months of collecting, unwrapping and peeling stickers as carefully as a ten year old can into a book was coming to an end. But my task was not complete. Even with the extra packs my parents had bought for me there was a major problem. And he played for Tottenham Hotspurs.
Colin Lee, the one sticker that stopped me completing my book. I put the picture of him up there so you can see what he looked like. I have to because no matter how hard I tried I could never get the damn sticker. No matter how many cards I put in the newsagents window. Colin Lee evaded me. Bastard.
I have since sworn Colin Lee as a mortal enemy. It really doesn’t mean much, but it’ll make me feel happier about it.