Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Recently-Acquired Panini Sticker Album of the Day #5: Belgian 'Football 75'

OK, so the recent thrill of encountering & then acquiring the aforementioned Belgian ‘Football 88Panini album collection was pretty special, but imagine, if you will, the stratospheric excitement generated by the discovery of the existence & availability of, initially on ebay but subsequently tracked down, more affordably, from a seller on the new-to-us Catawiki online auction site, a 1970s Belgian sticker album, but, not only that, the ‘Football 75’ edition, complete, depicting the teams/players from the very season, 1974 – 75, that the mighty & our favourite (from an early ‘Shoot!’ encounter with their ineffably romantic name, as originally recounted here) RWD Molenbeek won their one & only league championship: an opportunity to take ownership of an essential artefact simply too enticing to pass up, you might well agree, & so the purchase, inevitably, giddily, was made, & the arrival eagerly anticipated.

The album, of course, has proved to be filled with the most delightful delights, with each of the First & Second Division clubs represented by their crest, a team group photograph (a large-scale four-sticker composite image in the case of the former), & a squad of twelve players (half-sized stickers in the case of the Division II clubs), a veritable treasure trove of the characters & styles (kits, hair & facial accessories) & such exotic (then, at least) details as sponsors’ names emblazoned across shirts (this was what separated some European clubs/leagues of the time from the plain-fronted domestic & UEFA competitions norm, & made them more attractively special, although all sport them nowadays, of course, with various other logos peppering the shirts too, & such ubiquity renders them humdrum. Anyway, admire, for instance, Club Bruges’ ‘49R Jeans’ logo that we didn’t get to see during their UEFA & European Cup Final appearances against Liverpool in, respectively, 1976 & 1978, & those orange shirts are another never-seen-before look).

The players too look like ordinary blokes, mostly, some a bit more gnarly than others, more so at least than the apparent homogeneity of gym-buffed, airbrushed players of today, &, as such, a visual archive of this sort, in all its continental glory, is something to be treasured. Please enjoy this generous sample of the contents, including, of course, the RWD Molenbeek spread…

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