The recent 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United by their close rivals Manchester City put a huge smile on the face of most football supporters (except the Manchester United faithful-naturally). It would have been nice if it had been Norwich, or West Bromwich Albion, or even Fulham handing out the humility lessons. However we are not fussy. It's not bitterness or jealousy that makes us feel this way. Manchester United is, and has been, a great team for many years. It is more the cocky, swaggery arrogance that the manager and some of the players have adopted in recent times. There lies within the joy of an unbiased supporter.
Unfortunately Topps has developed a somewhat similar attitude towards the Match Attax Brand. Build it and they will come. It's Match Attax, they will buy it no matter what. Let's not forget this is a product directed towards children, the Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh generation. But I cannot feel anything except disappointment as an adult and as a swap club organiser at school.
Let me talk about the positives, or more fitting 'the' positive is an insert called Golden Moments.
Yes they are golden cards, but the 40 card insert focuses on the last 20 years of Premier League football. The set looks at some of the iconic moments of Premier League football such as Jurgen Klinsmann's goal celebration from 1994, David Beckham's goal from the half-way line in 1996, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer netting four goals after coming on as a sub in 1999 and the remarkable Blackburn Premier League winners in 1995. This is a great idea for an insert, even in gold. Dissapointingly missing is Eric Cantona's flying kick on a spectator in 1995, Roy Keane's leg breaking tackle in 2001, Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer's same team fight in 2005 and any one of the many Patrick Viera moments- Roy Keane tunnel bust up perhaps. However, for me, the positives stop there.
My main beef is the 'Limited Edition' cards, of which there are 6. These limited cards are not inserted in packs randomly except for one, which is inserted randomly into packs only available from one particular chain of bookshops. The other five limited cards can only be 'collected' through purchasing a football magazine (£2.99), the Match Attax collectors tin (£9.99), the Match Attax collectors box (£7.50), the Match Attax multi-pack (£5.00) and the Match Attax starter pack (£4.99). So a very clever marketing ploy to make you purchase more Match Attax in unique disguises, at a rough cost of £30.00, which would give you the five limited cards and roughly 150 Match Attax cards. There are 360 base cards to collect and a further 65 Man of the Match,100 club and a referee. Is the picture becoming clearer. Some collectors may feel that this is fair and that you purchase all these different products and obtain the limited card, rather than trawling through packs. Fair enough.
My other complaint is that it still much the same as the last years set, and the years before, and the year before that, with just the colour of the backs changed. Topps has the ability to produce design changes elsewhere. Why not here? The starter pack book to keep your cards in is crap as well.
All that said, I will however be collecting the entire set again as part of the swap club I run at school. The lucky winner of our club competition gets to own the completed set and as many of the 'inserts' I can collect.
I think though that this will be my last time doing it. My fifth and final completed set.