A football mad dad has finally completed his Panini sticker book with help from his thoughtful daughter – 41 years after he first started it.
John Moore, 52, was only 12 when he started collecting cards in the school playground and very nearly finished the annual.
The Spurs fan had to collect 594 stickers of football players from the English first and second division and Scottish premier division from 1979 – but was 11 short.
John, from Chigwell, Essex had forgotten about the project until he was looking through his old football memorabilia in the loft to show his daughter last month.
When sports journalist Lauren, 22, saw he had a few cards missing, she decided to help him fill the book during lockdown.
It took Lauren a month to track down all the missing cards online and she had to buy other people’s cards who had been stuck down in their own books.
Eventually she got them all together and surprised her dad with the sweet gesture last Saturday (25 April).
John said: “I can’t believe it’s full now. It’s one of those things that because of her input, I’d never sell.
“I was most pleased that Lauren found the team badges – Crystal Palace, Newcastle United and Morton.
“They are a bit different to the regular player cards and they were quite a big thing to be missing.
“I struggled to find them when I was younger and kids wouldn’t swap them with me in school.
“It’s good to flick through and read.”
Lauren tucked the 11 stickers into a note which she handed to her football mad dad.
He then quickly ran to put them in the book and complete his collection after four decades of waiting.
Network engineer John, whose favourite players were Ricardo Villa and Ossie Ardiles, said: “In my day these were the players we looked up to. Now sadly a lot of the managers are no longer with us.
“It is a look back in the past. It was quite difficult to get 41 year old glue off the back of the new stickers bought from other people.
“There was a lot of improvisation of using a glue stick which helped us to get the stickers back in there.
“I’m so pleased now it’s complete.”
John said it was quite rare to see anyone with a completed set, so he feels very lucky.
He added: “When I was at school I remember other boys used to walk around with huge stacks with an elastic band round them.
“At playtime we would be sharing them and maybe you had a bit of a rarity and someone would swap you 10 for that one.
“It was just a load of bartering really.
“Eventually the year passes and then there’s a new set of stickers out to collect.”
John has kept all his sticker books in the attic of his home where he lives with his wife Maureen and two children Lauren and Callum.
He said: “It’s nice that people have still held onto them and they’re in good condition too.
“It’s incredible after this many years they still exist. I’m quite surprised.”
Lauren spent just under £30 on the missing stickers – which originally cost just 1p each.
She said: “I probably spent more on those 11 stickers than the whole book is worth.
“I spent every night after work searching the internet hoping to find all these separate ones.
“Some were easy to find on Ebay but others were a lot harder to find.
“I had to have a bit of a fight over the Crystal Palace team badge, there was a bidding war over that one.
“Other ones I couldn’t find on Ebay I had to do Google searches with the book it was from, the year, the player’s name and I found individual sellers.”
Lauren has thought about helping him fill the rest of his childhood panini annuals.
She said: “He was surprised and didn’t expect me to do it at all but he was having great fun sticking them all in his book like a kid.
“I was going to look at the 1980 book but I think that needs 100 or so stickers – so it might not be as easy as the one I have just done.”
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho admits he “misses our world” with normal life turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Portuguese is living away from his family with members of his Spurs coaching staff and on Wednesday helped to deliver fresh produce from the kitchen garden at the club’s training ground to the stadium, which has become a food distribution hub.
“I miss football, but I prefer to say I miss our world, like I think we all do,” he told Sky Sports.
“Football is just part of my world. But we have to be patient, this is a fight that we all have to fight.”