1990: How I Became King Of The Swapsies

Italia 90, England's finest hour since 66. But screw that, I was more interested in cornering the swapsie market, poncing fags and getting hold of Carlos Valderrama...
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Italia 90, England's finest hour since 66. But screw that, I was more interested in cornering the swapsie market, poncing fags and getting hold of Carlos Valderrama...

April was when it all began.

The cold spell broke and moods began to brighten as the school defrosted in the fresh spring sunshine. On the first Sunday of that month the red topped newspapers gave away Panini Italia 90 sticker albums with a starter pack of stickers and newsagents erected cardboard Panini display stands on their shop counters.  And so it was that football stickers entered my life.

STICK WITH PANINI was their slogan when the brothers Panini began selling collectable football stickers in the early Sixties. Before long Umberto and Giuseppe had a lucrative business and were lightening parental pockets beyond their native Italy and across half of Europe. The business model is evil genius in its simplicity. Give away the shiny sticker album then punt out the stickers needed to fill it in sealed packets, masking the identity of the five players within. Each sticker numbered so as to be stuck into the corresponding gap in the album. In 2009 they sold over a billion packs of stickers across one hundred countries, and it wasn’t even a World Cup year.

The Panini craze was in full swing within two days and any third year boy who didn’t have an album on Monday made damned  sure they were in the game by Tuesday, tooled up and ready to trade. (443)

Twenty four teams competed in Italia 90 and most got a double page spread, seventeen players per nation, plus squad shot and team badge. The team badges were set against a reflective silver foil background and called foileys. Foileys were highly prized. Most countries got a two page spread, but the minor teams had to suffer the indignation of being crammed onto a single page. In these cases, stickers were laid horizontally as each hosted two players.  These minnows were Cameroon, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, S. Korea and Egypt. Shame really. (443)

There was also an opening section which included a stadia guide and a series of poses by Ciao, the worst mascot in World Cup history, a block man with a football for a head.  Poor show by comparison to Pique the wide smiled, giant moustache and sombrero sporting Mexican from four years previous. (443)

These totaled another thirty seven blank spaces. A total of four hundred and forty eight sticker-less holes to fill. The math´s is complex, but at twenty pence per packet of six stickers and accounting for the ever decreasing percentage strike rate, I calculated that to complete that album was going to cost me a shed load of money. (419)

As any user of substance regular or otherwise will tell you, as a habit grows you must learn how to feed it above and beyond your own meager means. At first, one only buys occasionally, just for fun. Then one finds oneself indulging all the time, spending all available cash and still requiring further supplies. So what to do then? One must borrow, one must steal, or one must trade. (399)

Swapsies were my first, and to date, most successful stab at dealing. Certain stickers had a higher frequency of occurrence than others. You could hardly give away a David Beasant (England) he was that common. And even though Yong Hwan Chung><Jong Soo Chung (South Korea) popped up in almost every other pack, the Chungs were worth at least three Daves. (363)

The business model is evil genius in its simplicity. Give away the shiny sticker album then punt out the stickers needed to fill it in sealed packets, masking the identity of the five players within.

A playground stock market soon evolved with a bidding system so complex that no two deals were ever the same.  Bungs were not uncommon, with half a Bounty Bar or goes on girlfriends often thrown in to soften a negotiation.  The serious collectors would congregate behind the science block at last break to compare stock and open negotiation on new acquisitions. (323)

Got, got, got, got, got, got, got, got, got, got, need, got, got, got, got, got, got, got, got, need, got, got…

Riggs was flicking his way through my latest batch of Swapsies, forming them into two piles on top of Le Tricolor, his French text book.  Claude La Clochard was a tramp whose unfortunate life was chartered through a cartoon in Le Tricolor. ‘Claude’ had consequently become a playground byword for Loser. (304)

Afterwards I would flick through Riggs’ collection in the same dispassionate manner. One must never over enthuse prior to negotiation. Due process would result in four piles of stickers, two towers, the Gots and two much smaller piles, perhaps 2 or 3 stickers, the all important Needs.  (270)

A straight swap, my Roger Milla and Claude Makanaky for your Chris Waddle!

McAnarchy and Windy Miller? Who the frig are Cameroon? Waddle’s a class act mate!

Bugger off Riggsy, Barry Boyce reckons he had him twice in the same pack last week

Did he bollocks

You calling Barry Bash a Billy Bullshit?

I’m calling you a Billy Bullshit. What you sayin’ then Billy boy? What Foileys you got?

Bum yourself are you having a Foiley. Yer need Mo Johnson too dontcha?

Yep. Those two for Waddle

Encore Monseur Claude!

Yeah reckon!

And so it would go on, the merry dance of trade.  (268)

Some of the more special students didn’t really grasp the whole numbered sticker to fill allocated space thing, let alone the trading regulations, and good deals could normally be cut if you knew where they hung out at lunchtime.  Literally sweetening deals with rhubarb and custards, of which I, and (more importantly) they were very fond, my stock was rising fast. (223)

Stock wasn’t my only upwardly mobile asset. The late movie on TV one night shared its name with my favorite chocolate bar, which was what originally caught my attention. How much more interesting than desiccated coconut covered in milk chocolate The Bounty turned out to be.

Bum yourself are you having a Foiley. Yer need Mo Johnson too dontcha?

A hard, seafaring tale, based on the true story of Fletcher Christian’s mutiny to take a ship from Captain Bligh, brilliantly portrayed by Anthony Hopkins.  Christian is faced with a choice between the deadly trip back to Blighty via the Cape of (no) Good Hope, or staying on a sun kissed Tahitian Island with his beautiful, brown skinned, firm breasted native girlfriend. A mutiny it was.

That night I dreamt of myself facing that same dilemma. It wasn’t Tahiti, but Cameroon. I went the same way as Fletcher. I stayed with my beautiful, big breasted Cameroonian babe. I’d spend my days squeezing and sucking her dark nipples which would stiffen and elongate between my lips.

The following morning I awoke to find sticky sheets. My dream came flooding back to me and the sheets got stickier still. So these were the wet dreams I heard discussed in the PE changing rooms! I longed to be taken advantage of again by these darkly erotic nocturnal forces. Unfortunately I would have to wait another fifteen years for that to happen. The sticky dream had proved a happy distraction from my usual sticker related flights of fancy, a most welcome release, though it was only a temporary diversion.

Every spare waking minute was now taken up by stickers. I might be meticulously securing new recruits into the album, using the edge of a ruler to make sure they were positioned with regimental uniformity. No creases or bubbles allowed. Or perhaps I’d be organizing my Swapsies, by number, by nation, in alphabetical order?  The admin could take up hours at a time. Then there was the actual trading. Some negotiations took days before reaching final resolution. (217)

Owmany? chirped Skunk upon arrival behind the block one morning. And with that the current vogue greeting of ‘yo’ was officially superseded as playground language continued its daily evolution. It wasn’t that long ago that ‘wotcha’ had been usurped by ‘awight’ and thus consigned to the linguistic graveyard.  ‘Owmany’ not only served as greeting, but also question and opening gambit for any unfinished business. (210)

There were four of us third years at about the same level, keeping our noses just ahead of the chasing pack. My three key opponents, Paul Sparrow (Spawa, 215), Darren Ridgers (Riggs, 221) and Chris Skinner (Skunk, 199). Brothers in arms of a kind, but none the less, they needed to be taken down. We all seemed to be hitting a wall and had started trading just for the love of the game or to shuffle our large portfolios of swapsies. My strike rate was dropping fast. (208)

Something revolutionary was called for, I needed to up my game, to locate and exploit the bigger picture. There was nothing else for it, I was going to have to go inter year. I had to get to the key players in the untapped Lower School market.  In general, different years at Thomas Peacocke School didn’t mix, that was just the way it was, an unspoken understanding, a code of conduct. (207)

Something else that one just did not do was cross The Bridge at break times. The Bridge was the route to the lower school, it was also where the smokers hung out.  They were older, cooler and harder, it was well known and understood that once you entered their smoky domain they were at liberty to do with you as they willed. This generally meant that your passage would cost you a beano to the head at the very least. (207)

It wasn’t only the physical act of smoking that united The Smokers. It was more a vibe, a shared devil>may>care philosophy.  It was true that the majority had a predilection for Reebok shell suits, but not all.  Their number even included a couple of die-hard Mods with big A’s drawn on the back of their knee length coats and black and white spats on their feet.  Girls or boys could join, as long as you had a face that could switch to ‘and fucking what?’ at any given moment, and had fag in your mouth, you were in. (207)

The Bridge was the route to the lower school, it was also where the smokers hung out.  They were older, cooler and harder, it was well known and understood that once you entered their smoky domain they were at liberty to do with you as they willed.

The throbbing impact of a clenched knuckle, delivered sharply to the top of the skull via a deft flick of a Smokers wrist, a beano, was usually deterrent enough for most sane minded, pain loathing students, me included. But these were unusual times. I would lie in bed at night studying each of my two hundred and two gaps individually and find myself trying to picture the missing faces.  (202)

Vasiliry Rats (USSR)- Unibrow.

Dragan Stojkovic (Yugoslavia) - Pocked face.

Packie Bonner (Northern Ireland) - Large protruding forehead.

I needed to see those faces. I needed those stickers. Tomorrow I needed to cross that bridge.  I lay in bed scheming, plotting and planning. How could I evade the Smokers evil clutches? Well, as soon as double Geography was over the next day, I would have to make the journey, and bugger the consequences.  The myriad of potential outcomes formed themselves into a mental kaleidoscope which eventually confused me into sleep.

If Jim Henson had taken some bad acid he may have conceived of a creature like my Geography teacher Mr. Care. His skin’s boozy pink tone and felty texture resembled that of Miss. Piggy. A bulbous nose hung from his face like old Waldorf´s up in the stalls, dry skin cornflakes peeling themselves away and fluttering to the floor at irregular intervals. His bumbling and uncomfortable demeanor, reminiscent of the Snuffleupagus.

Care was an awkward man.

He never apprehended any students in the act of a misdemeanor because if you didn’t hear his scuffling gait approaching as he dragged his sandals along the floor, your nose would detect his proximity. He had the worst BO I have ever encountered. An acrid, pungent, eye-wateringly unholy scent that leeched into the atmosphere from the toxic yellow stained armpits of his ancient nylon shirts.  Part vinegar, part silage and part putrid ink, the smell made my nose curl.

Only in the classroom did Care truly feel comfortable within the world. Oi! Swivel bottom! Stop playing with yourself at the back! came his loud and monotone delivery. His voice was incredibly dull, and emanated from somewhere at the back of the throat in such a way that it seemed to audibly vibrate.

It disturbed my disinterested ear and distracted me from my psychic sketching of Dragan (Stojkovic). I looked up in time to see a whiteboard cleaner fly past my forehead. Wardy, who was dozing behind his opened textbook beside me, was awoken by its impact on pin-board behind us.

Care smiled, obviously amused by his most recent delivery of a line and weapon he dispatched during the course of most lessons. He had several stock and trade phrases that stayed with me in later life. The classroom was Care’s stage.

You boy, Davies, you frivolous baboon, are you with us?

Yessir , corssir, interesstinsir

Bring me that board rubber back here, you garrulous bandit, next time I’ll mark you.

Yessir

What was I talking about?

Don’t you remember Sir? Was it river bends Sir?

´Meanders’ Davies you blithering idiot! That was last period. We are now learning about Eskimos.

Oh the stink sir, old fish or somink? They smell don’t they sir? Eskimoses.

Good God boy. What are those on your feet? Orthopedic boots?

I’d taken off my school shoes under cover of my desk, and replaced them with Nike Air Max. Care, smirking again at his own comedic mastery, gleefully informed me that  because of this I would be spending first break tomorrow in his company, writing an essay on ‘The importance of following school rules’. The way I figured it, that was fair play, the real school rules stated that if the Smokers saw me wearing slip-ons, I was dead.

When the lunch bell sounded I was out the classroom like a greyhound from a trap. Spurred on by an unexpected nervous energy, I moved down the corridors, through the swing doors and out into the playground.

The sun’s heat warmed my face as I encountered it for the first time since morning break. I ran past the shoddy tennis courts and muddy school field and saw not a soul. ‘This plan might just work’ I dared to suggest to myself, now beside the creek and nearing its meander round to the bridge.  I was sure to slow to a walk before the Smokers were in sight, the unofficial rulebook was very clear on running in view of the Smokers, it also incurred the penalty of death by beano.

The master plan was to get to the bridge early enough that most of the smokers would still be on their way out of lessons. As I rounded the corner I bore witness as to the foolish naivety of this scheme. Of course!  The smokers didn’t go to lessons, they stood smoking all day, guarding this narrow passage like hooded pirates on the lookout for fresh booty and easy pickings. Like some little twat carrying an ice cream tub full of swapsies for instance.

Dean Biffin was the first to spot me. Oi jizbreath! he proffered upon approach, stepping out of the cloud and away from the crowd. Biff played both sides of the fence, he was centre forward for the school team, so was popular, but he was also in with this motley bunch.

He wasn’t a typical Reeboker either, he in fact, had the baggiest trousers in school, an enviable status symbol. He complemented these fantastic strides with black Air Jordan V’s and a white Lacoste polo shirt. Biff was cool and he was a known Smoker. The headmaster had even made a joke about it once in assembly.  Yes said Mr. Foulks, embarking on his closing gambit.

So, the semi-final looms! Mr. Biffin scored the winner for TPS in the nick of time. And no doubt celebrated post match with some JPS and nicotine! Of course, that kind of thing was commonplace in my day, Serge Blanco smoked 40 a day you know, that’s the French for you I suppose. Very good then. Go quietly now.  No smoking on school premises unless you happen to be a teacher or a centre forward. School dismissed

Biff was tall and handsome, in a despite the acne kind of way. Now he was looking directly at me.  I became aware that I was sweating, a sense of self that grew increasingly acute as I heard the words wotcha mate squeak their way from my throat.

What’s in the box numb nuts?

Just stickers an’ that, World Cup stickers. Come on England! Right mate?

My mind was racing as it tried to assess the situation and its various potential outcomes. I was trying to access all my memory files for any Biffin related data, any small thing to tip the odds in my favour. I had some vague memory of seeing him once in a shop. The memory began to clarify, he had been wearing an old Tottenham shirt, one of the white Admiral ones. It had a name printed across the shoulders.

He wasn’t a typical Reeboker either, he in fact, had the baggiest trousers in school, an enviable status symbol.

Paninis I continued. Liniker, Gazza, loads of Spurs players! I was still disappointed by the speed and pitch of my delivery. My voice was usually a little croaky as it made its decent towards manhood, but now I heard myself pip squeaking like  Mike Tyson on helium. Awight crayola cock. Calm down yeah, ya like Spurs do ya?

Flippin' right mate! I lied. Ossie Ardilles! I blurted out, suddenly getting full clarity of that shirt with a mental snapshot of queuing behind him in Budgens supermarket one lunch time.

Yes maggot , Ricky Villa too man, replied Biff,  omitting the word ‘dick’ from ‘maggotdick’ and in doing so, I thought, implying a shared moment of respect. If not respect for me, at least for the two mercurial Argentinian footballers.

It’s enough to give you a stiffy, he mused.  I was impressed by the way he incorporated some kind of penile reference into almost everything he said and was starting to rather enjoy the nervy high of our chat.

Got any fags, maggot boy? I could feel the other Smokers looking now, this was my first test.

At home I said, focusing on keeping my rebellious vocal cords under restraint.

Like comics do ya Maggot?

(OH FUCK!)

Not The Beano I don’t

Thing is Maggot, you don’t cross here for free see, and you ain’t got no fags, so unfortunately…

I looked Biff in the eye, stirred my most macho tones and forced out the only word in my vocabulary that might just save my bacon…

Swapsies?

And there it was.  Once a word has been dispatched by your tongue, it’s out there, it’s real, it´s what you’ve said. If you’re self-editing software got bypassed that’s your problem to deal with. No IT support here.

Swapsies? he repeated.

Yeah, I’ll give you the whole England team, minus Chris Waddle, for 2 fags I responded, with the in for a penny, in for a pound attitude that would become one of my trademarks in later life. Besides, they were all doubles.

You ballsy little prick, I like your style. Waddle’s shite since he left Spurs anyway. What’s your brand?

The other Smokers began wondering over. Part two of my test.

B and H, what about you?

Benny Hedgehogs too Maggot, let’s see the goods then. I used to love Paninis, I completed in 86 yer know, still got Maradona on me fridge. Drew some fuckin' horns on the fucker! Mexico mate, proper flipping World Cup that was.

I unsealed my tub and flicked through the elastic banded chunks of stickers, peeling off players as I went. Some 5th year girls came around the corner as I assembled Biff’s team and most of the Smokers got distracted. Casey Rudgely started shouting over to them.

Oi Suzi, you like jewellery don’t yer? I got a lovely pearl necklass for yer in me pocket.

Nice one Maggot acknowledged Biff as he flicked through his freshly assembled squad of Blighties finest. Christ, Beardsley is ugly, he looks like Quasimodo’s lumpier brother. Hung like a donkey though apparently. Here’s a fag, next time you come here, you bring your own right? Fuego! And as he said what I think was the first Spanish word I ever heard, he casually flicked open and lit his Zippo with one flashing movement against his thigh.

I’d tried fags before, me and Stewart Smallwood had nicked a ten pack out of Silk Cut his mum’s handbag and smoked them in our woodland HQ. It had taken all afternoon to finish the packet and made us both feel pretty ill, but still, I saw myself as a being able to handle my smokes, perhaps it was in the genes?

If there was a deal going down, I’d sniff it out and I’d wangle a piece, I was the Henry Hill of the Panini underworld.

My parents had both been keen smokers but had recently given up again. I knew where my dad stashed his Benson and Hedges, in his shed, underneath his worm farm. Nice try dad, but if it’s in a kid’s habitat, the kid will find it. I knew when he’d been having a crafty smoke too, I’d see him furtively slip back inside through the back door and thoroughly scrub his hands at the sink. I’d watch him mutter to himself, having to wrench the hot taps faucet through a few extra rotations until it squeaked and stopped dripping. The smell of Fisherman’s Friends on his breath, the final damning piece of evidence.

I could sense Biffs approval as I put the tip of the fag to his flame and inhaled, holding in the smoke for a second or two before releasing it through dry, pursed lips with a slight whistle. The others came back over as I took my second and third draws and Biff introduced me. Maggot here loves a smoke mate. He’s alright, the little bell-end.

And so it was that Maggot earned his stripes and right of way over the bridge. I’d nick the odd few Bennies from dad’s wormy stash spot and usually stop and have one with Biff on route to sticking it to the first and second years.  I smelled of cigarettes and I was Biffs mate so my prices were nonnegotiable in the lower school. Like buggering the butler commented Biff as I told him about my cornering of the market, over one such Benson, hard but fair. (76)

I was soon the number one trader in school. I was even taking a slice of other collector’s action, on a kind of consultatory basis. I brought my games bag in every day to accommodate the tubs full of swapsies.  If there was a deal going down, I’d sniff it out and I’d wangle a piece, I was the Henry Hill of the Panini underworld. (23)

Eventually I was down to my final gap, number 92. No one else had it. No one had ever even seen it.

Night after night I spend staring mournfully along the regiment of faces stuck across that imperfect page. Some smiling, others more somber, staring back at me, not like the England team,  all Anglo Saxon until  the sharp dark contrast of Des Walker through John Barnes to Paul Parker. Here was a mixture of features and skin tones with a gentler racial gradient running through it. White through yellow, shades of brown through to black. (1)

And then the fucking gap! The Captain of the team, not present and correct, not reporting for national fucking duty!  I could stare at this hole in my soul no longer, yet neither could I put the damn thing down. I turned the pages, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, completed page after perfectly symmetrical completed page.   As I scanned team after team I absorbed the features of every player, conquered and stuck where he belonged. But the gap still haunted me. United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, where else was there to go? I turned again, the back page, the small print. (1)

My eyes scrolled various languages until they recognized, and began to process, English. As the info reached my brain an audible gasp was outputted from the mouth. Could it be that it was all so simple? Was I really alone in my possession of this powerful new knowledge? Could I really have my final three wishes granted by those dark sticker genies at Panini Towers, and all for the price of a stamped addressed envelope (SAE)? I didn’t need three wishes, only one, number 92. After scrabbling about in my mum’s handbag, two 2nd class stamps were promptly located and stolen and an SAE dispatched the following morning. (1)

There is always a slight twinge of guilt when one looks back and begins to mentally amass the things stolen from parents. The fags, the booze, the stamps, the cash, the car keys, the high hopes, the dreams, the pride, authority and eventually, their homes. The theft of cash, though morally wrong, seemed somehow justified under the circumstances. Dad’s trousers were often to be found crumpled on his bedroom floor, pockets containing so much loose change that it was spilling out onto the carpet. What was a sharp eyed Panini addict supposed to do? (1)

Pajama collar crime was no longer necessary, the end game was finally afoot. Any day now number 92 would arrive. Panini talk at school turned from pleasure to pain as I carried my dark secret from day to long tradeless week. Eight, nine, ten days and still no SAE, every morning’s fruitless check a heart break by installment .

They say time is relative and relatively speaking I could have gone Bonobo staring at that gap for the thirteen long days and nights it took to arrive. Why had my mother bought 2nd class stamps? Why the fuck did they even make 2nd class stamps? (1)

I tried to fill my Panini obsessed nights productively by decorating my bedroom with Gots that no one would ever need. I spelled out JIM on the door entirely from letters formed of Daves. This really pissed my dad off who constantly made reference to how soon I would be leaving home, forcing him to redecorate my ‘stinking pit’. (1)

The theft of cash, though morally wrong, seemed somehow justified under the circumstances. Dad’s trousers were often to be found crumpled on his bedroom floor, pockets containing so much loose change that it was spilling out onto the carpet. What was a sharp eyed Panini addict supposed to do?

92, 92, 92! Who was Carlos Valderama?  Carlos? Valderama? Very hard to formulate a mental image of this one. And Colombia? I’d never even heard of it prior to Panini?

Carlos, Carlos, wherefore art though Carlos? The anticipation was agony. How many times did I try to imagine that face?

Carlos Valderama (Colombia, Captain)>  Short, jet black hair, deep set penetrating eyes, narrow nose

Carlos Valderama (Colombia,  Captain)>  Long greasy hair, sharp chin, round beady  eyes

Carlos Valderama (Colombia, Captain)>  Large lumpy face, eyes bulging like lychees in the sockets, a toothy grin anchored beneath a misshapen parsnip of a nose…

It was the day before Christmas at 9, the fumble before first penetration at 15, the expectation of my first monthly wage packet at 21, the bittersweet taste of anticipations intoxicating torture. (1)

And then at last, one wet Wednesday morning it happened.  I didn’t see it straight away, but once I had picked up a large envelope from Readers Digest, there it was, just sitting on the doormat. My SAE. I held in up to eye level for closer examination, my handwriting, definitely my SAE, my euphoria in waiting, my number 92. (1)

How does one handle a moment of such magnitude, what level of pomp and grandeur befits an opening ceremony of this importance? My mind was awash with scenarios and one liners as I imagined myself casually sauntering across the playground, sealed envelope in hand, Owmany Bennys, You get any post today?

Good morning Jimmy!

Interrupted my mum, entering the kitchen and in doing so awakening in me an intense need for the moment to be a private one.

What’s that you’re hiding, is it a love letter?

I stole myself away to my room and closed the door, lifting the handle as I twisted it and enabling the latch to close firmly. Zeberdee, our flatulent Springer Spaniel, had followed me upstairs and was scratching around outside, whining. The last thing I needed was his stinky arse ruining the ambience. I shouted at him through the door.

Bugger off Zebby!

I placed the envelope on the bed and got the album from my shelf, once the home of a prized collection of old bottles and odd objects, but now cleared and dedicated soley to my Lord Panini. I gently put the album next to the envelope, and finally lay myself on the bed, where I stayed for an indefinite period of time admiring both partners before their perfect moment of symbiotic liason.

I could not indulge myself in this ménage a trios for too long as I could hear my sister’s feet thumping down the corridor and that meant mum would soon be shooing us out the door. I heard her trip over the dog and swear at him.

Bugger off Zebby!

What happened next has not happened again since or previously, I felt an overriding compulsion to use a letter opener. If it was not for this moment and the utter appropriateness of the letter opener for it, I would still consider the letter opener to be a totally pointless invention.

Rummaging through the box now housing my collection of oddities and newspaper wrapped bottles, I retrieved my deer’s foot letter opener. I ran its blunt blade carefully along the top of the SAE having first punctured it at one corner. Turning the envelope 180 degrees, I squeezed the sides and out he fluttered, accompanied by a rectangular piece of paper.

I stared affectionately at the Panini logo printed on the compliments slip for a few seconds, luxuriating in the moment as best I could. How I loved that branding. Years later in an act of shameless nostalgia I brought a teeshirt in France bearing an image of that gallant yet slightly comical knight, charging on foot with his preposterously long lance, PANINI emblazoned along its length. Anyway, I digress, it’s a very cool Don Quixote-esque logo.

And so I turned to number 92.

Carlos Valderama (Colombia, Captain)> light brown skin, freckles, huge curly blonde afro and very impressive moustache.

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