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    Premier League 2017 Sticker Collection Review

    So its that time of year again! Christmas brings with it Pigs in Blankets, Presents and obviously Topps Merlin Premier League Sticker Book! The book came out today and for the last few years my friends group and I have been collecting the stickers for that sense of nostalgia. The first book I can remember having was the 2003-2004 book. A right classic featuring these two.
    So in eager anticipation I rushed to the shop on its release day to see what was in store for this years edition of the sticker book. I brought it home and unpacked my stickers and meticulously put them in numerical order. Then came the tricky part... sticking them in, luckily, I made only one mistake that was reversible. Good thing too as the player in question was Petr Cech. So, the first noticeable difference from last years book is the cover; it had a different layout. Gone are the days of including a sticker from every team to make the cover more inclusive. The new design looks more like the days of old where only the top players made it onto the cover. Doing some research the last time that had happened was 10 years ago in the 2007 sticker album.


    As you can see this new cover looks a lot sleeker and neater with the white text and the fact that Sergio Aguero is looking right at you. The flat text is also a lot better than the side Pop Art Feel too. The choice of players on the front is a lot better than last years edition, and is again reminiscent of the sticker book glory days before Match Attax became the more popular choice, showing that the use of stickers is possibly on the rise. Using the classic Merlins brand again is also fantastic and I personally feel that keeping it on is a great choice. The only change that could be suggested for the cover is to put a Leicester player on the front to commemorate their last fantastic season, though Vardy had already been used for the card game.
    This year is the first year that the Premier League Chairman has not written a piece in the front page however this can be seen as a good thing, a change into the new world with footballer Harry Kane instead writing the introductory piece. This made the book seem more personal as he gives an insight into his thoughts on the season ahead and previous season talking of his 'disappointment' at not winning the title. The style is the same as the premier league chairmans writing so it looks as though Harry Kane had done his homework. Also leaving an autograph at the bottom makes a nice touch. Going into the rest of the book the teams pages are a lot different from last season. The stats seem to change yearly but this year the book has become a lot simpler in its design including just a starting Eleven, Badge, Squad Photo and Star Player Sticker. 
    Including just the starting eleven can be a good idea though as it gives a good indication on the teams for the rest of the year. The PL seasons bar is an interesting edition for this year as it separates the journeymen like John Terry from the Greenhorns like Rashford and shows if these players really have made a mark in Premier League History or not. For instance with Yohan Cabaye he has played 5 PL seasons, 112 games in total and scored 22. The bars filled in red show the seasons he has played for Palace and the amber, the seasons for Newcastle. 
    It would be nice to have seen the club the player used to play for before Palace (if one didn't know) however I can see fully why Topps have made it like this to honour the 25 seasons and that's respectable. The one thing that Topps could do differently with the stickers themselves is too include the nationality of the players on it. Collectors had always found it interesting and It's not understood why they had got rid of this feature though personally I would like to see it reintroduced, partially because it used to help me with my Geography homework when I was young knowing that Finlands flag was White with a Blue Scandinavian cross and also belonged to Sami Hyypia. 
    One really nice introduction to the layout is showing players exact Positions, for instance showing Raheem Sterlings place in Right Midfield on the mini pitch to the left of the goals. 

    Sometimes we all get confused on which side which player plays on and now one can refer to the book to settle such debates. I know I will. The one curious and fun piece that the Topps team puts into the book is putting Milner as a midfielder but showing his position on the pitch as a left back. Its a fun and true depiction of the footballers season.
    Putting only the numbers and position provides a game in itself for seeing which players are to be included. Another addition to admire for it helps with fans to get to grips with squad numbers and do proper research and if they still don't know getting the player in a pack is even more of a milestone- especially the more unknown players. Like sure, everyone gets excited when they pack De Bruyne, but everyone knows his number is 17. Though few will know Southampton's number 23.. (It's Hojberg, by the way.)

    Including the all time Premier League stats is great and a notable mainstay now it appears.
    A slight disappointment this year is that one does not get to put the club kit stickers in. However this is common practise on the continent as they don't do that in the Bundesliga sticker albums. It also helps as when I watch a game I have my sticker book by my side and to already have the kits is an advantage in knowing what team will wear what. Though just through Nostalgias sake it would have been nice to see that stay.

    Speaking of Nostalgia Topps have completely changed their infamous mid-section. Last year and the year before it had included Kits and Action shots. Those became tedious and a little outdated however this years section sees these ousted for a look back at the last 25 years. This is what a lot of fans were looking forward to before the book had come out. The nice thing about this is that it includes pictures from the old sticker books including Gary Speed which is a class touch.
    The sections in this include Most Appearances, Top Goalscorers and Most Assists. It is a nice feature to see all these great players again and to be able to stick in the likes of Robbie Fowler, Thierry Henry and Teddy Sheringham is an absolute dream. A possible addition that would have been nice would have been to have a snapshot of Greatest Goals in the premier League which I am sure would have included these beauties;


    Those with a picture of the strike would have been good however there are more than enough great stats already. Plus I really just wanted to stick in Suarez.

    So I would recommend highly that those of all ages should invest in the book if they want to rekindle their childhood or introduce their children to the world of football. For with it's simplicity it really is for the younger ages. In fact it almost inspires them with the inclusion of a young stars double page, including the likes of Rashford and Iwobi. 
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    Item Reviewed: Premier League 2017 Sticker Collection Review Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alfie Lumb
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