Got, Got, Greed?

A cartoony football card of a brazilian footballer, next to a football with hexagonal national flags painted all over it.
Written by Martin Brock,

Two summers ago, my colleague Helen wrote a blog post about members of the team collecting football stickers for the 2016 European Championships

Sadly, the sense of joy from 2016 of tearing open sticker packets has been replaced in the office by a sense of disgust, due to a huge hike in the cost per packet. In 2016, a pack cost 50p, but by 2018, the cost has rocketed up to 80p, leading to a boycott of the album. We are not alone, for the title of this article relates to a Twitter hashtag. A previous hashtag of #GotGotNeed, used by those searching for swaps, has spawned an evil twin #GotGotGreed to vent about this 60% price rise. According to the Plymouth Herald, this change is all down to image rights for the England team, charged by the English FA

Whatever the reason, the implications for the sharp rise in price does have possibly more serious implications than just provoking the ire of those who should know better. Helen’s piece revealed that from research conducted by Gusto, collecting was found to a key activity for boys, especially around the ages of 6-10 years old, because it feeds their desire for challenge, a sense of accomplishment and to belong to a social group. At 80p for a pack of 5 stickers, and with nearly 700 to collect, this sense of accomplishment and social cohesion may be a financial step too far. As a child in 1986, Panini’s album for the World Cup in Mexico had 427 stickers and at 12p a packet of 6, I was able to buy 4 per week with my 50p pocket money (with 2p over for 4 Mojo sweets!) Based on current findings, today’s children will struggle to fill their sticker book without help from the deep pockets of a kind adult.

We asked our Mums’ panel about pocket money for children to understand what children are getting these days. Responses were interesting without really providing any consensus. Some parents preferred to put money away regularly in a savings account as they feel that their children currently have no sense of the value of money, whereas others reward their children for good behaviour or pocket money is provisional on helping with chores around the house such as making their bed or clearing away dirty plates after they have finished eating. What is for certain though is that no one reported giving their child large enough sums of money that they could afford to buy large numbers of World Cup stickers each week, should they theoretically choose to do so.

I’ll leave the last word to French philosopher (and amateur goalkeeper) Albert Camus, who once said:

“Everything I know about morality and the obligations of men, I owe it to football.”

Hopefully the FA and Panini will take the moral high ground for future albums, reducing the cost per packet of stickers, so that the youngsters of today can gain the same enjoyment from collecting as those of us who are slightly longer in the tooth.

Martin Brock

Martin Brock

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