EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 286
album: Calciatori 2022-23 (Panini)
stickers: 739 (00, 1-660, P1-P20, PM1-PM9, CM1-CM9, M1-M40)
starter pack: album + 4 packets 3,00€
box: 100 packets (5 stickers) 0,80€ each
blister: 5 packets 3,90€
super pack: 40 stickers 5,00€
hard cover + 5 packets (january/february 2023) 24,90€
The end of the year is the time for discussion of the Finance Law and the budgets of the Municipalities and Regions, an important moment at the center of a thousand debates. In any case, little if compared to the thousand discussions generated by the most awaited sticker album of the year. Of course, our statement is deliberately exaggerated, but up to a certain point. If Churchill stated that «Italians lose football matches as if they were wars and lose wars as if they were football matches», such an extreme concept can also be considered, given the due proportions, in the Panini album of the Calciatori.
Starting from the consideration that it is impossible to make everyone happy, for example among the nostalgics and the proponents of renewal at all costs. Calciatori always maintains its charm, it is an objective fact, even if going forward over the years it is increasingly similar to an album linked to Serie A and partly to Serie B. The rest is little, at least within the album traditional.
Necessary because the world of football has changed, the teams present squads of about 30 players, once half of the stickers were enough to present a club. Now there would be the risk of leaving out too many protagonists of the championship. Every Serie A club must necessarily have at least 30 stickers and even so someone is left out. The solution cannot be otherwise and the cause and effect on the album is a limitation of everything else.
Right? In our opinion, yes, but inevitably. We are sure that many will not agree with us, but we believe that Panini’s choice to limit the total number of stickers on the album is appropriate. Not counting the stickers that will come out later, we find ourselves with “just” 667 stickers in the basic set, the one found in the traditional packets. In the past years we had reached over 800.
The Calciatori album has a duty, perhaps even a moral one, to be a popular product, within the reach of everyone or at least the vast majority of the population. Which, mind you, does not coincide with a poor product concept, the Calciatori album never was.
For avid collectors, for those looking for more products, for everyone else, Panini has invented various products over the years, more or less appreciable. This year the Celebration Album will be added in June next year, too early to understand what it is. Definitely one more collection for those who can’t get enough. Where also, after so many years, the Film stickers of the Championship find space which leave the traditional album, perhaps only for a year, perhaps forever.
Note of merit for the first page, in life details such as memory are important, the exciting tribute to Bruno Bolchi, the first sticker ever printed by Panini, who passed away this year, is a gesture that should be appreciated and applauded. Even more so that it is the number 1 sticker and with this the album opens. Not considering the 00 sticker which is somehow extra to the collection, perhaps also for this reason it is not part of the classic numbering.
The Serie A chapter is largely the most substantial of the entire collection, 545 out of a total of 660 stickers. It’s always nice to find that the teams all have the exact same space and that the total number of stickers is equally divided for each of them. For each club, the total four pages have been confirmed, on the first two pages 22 stickers of the main players in the squad plus the Scudetto. A perhaps too abstract page seen empty but splendidly attractive with stickers attached (stickers are born to be attached! We are of the Old Guard, now and forever).
The attempt to change the sticker with a double image like last year did not last long, the sticker is however distorted compared to the classic one. Remember stickers from other publishers, we personally don’t mind. We are also convinced that it is a constantly evolving process, let’s perhaps expect something different in the 2023-24 season.
The other two pages have a completely different aspect, where the space for the stickers is limited to five but the colours, the captions, the printed photos make it attractive to then be, almost, perfect with the addition of the stickers. Why almost? We would have tightened everything to leave the player scores in this area and not relegated to the bottom of the album. We remain of the idea that everything concerning a team must find space in these pages, even to the detriment of limiting the stickers.
This year we find the special stickers of the top player (“Elite”) and for the most significant new arrival (“New signature”), in addition to the traditional stickers of the coach and the shirt. Squadra Primavera rightly present, but only as a photo. The P-Più amata stickers, confirmed after last year’s success, also present for 2023 and always available with the update set.
At the end of Serie A, the usual columns linked to the news of the championship. As already written, The Film of the Championship is no longer present. The nine PM and CM stickers have been confirmed, with the players and coaches voted for month by month. It is not specified exactly but the first three of both can be found in the traditional packets, the others with Sport Week. Followed by the 40 stickers of the Calcio Mercato. We checked, there doesn’t appear to be any Tim figurine or similar, thanks! Object forcibly useless, we will not miss it.
The novelty of this year is the lack of .. other. Every year Panini has invented several extra pages, last year the national team, the year before also the national singer (a page highly contested by many, not by us, in all honesty). In the 2022-2023 album from Serie A we go directly to Serie B and, if you are too curious to wait, and jump to the end of the collection, you won’t find anything there either. Necessary choice perhaps due to the lack of a winning idea, useful for maintaining the total number of stickers.
Speaking of novelties, the one linked to Serie B is significant. An option already seen in past years, no longer single stickers in blocks of 3 players but four large stickers with a total of 16 players. So we have 2 players less than in previous years. In reality, the number of stickers has decreased but not the players as a whole. Many others find space at the bottom of the page, complete with a small photo.
A detail that we are pleased to point out, on the Spal page, as for all the other teams, at the top we find a “frame” of the photo from the fans’ curves. The image is deliberately not clear, but in the case of Spal and the members of the Curva Ovest Ferrara, it is very easy to recognize the flag with the image of Federico “Aldro” Aldrovandi to whom we have dedicated two of our Solidarity Comic Cards (https://figurineforever.com/en/2022/09/22/fumetto-forever-card-29-aldro-lives/), in collaboration with the Ultras and Amnesty International.
Let’s imagine Panini inserted the photo without probably thinking about it, maybe the graphic designer doesn’t know the story. We do and we are happy if, even if unwanted, it finds space in an album that is printed in millions of copies. Aldro lives.
Serie C at historic lows, but since last year there’s a reason. In fact, the 3 albums connected to the Digital Collection have been confirmed, which we recall are virtual only if one wants to keep them as such, it is possible, when completed, to order them in Panini with the traditional stickers to attach. The figure of 50.00 euros per album is not entirely cheap but not prohibitive either. The big news for 2023 is that the album on the women’s Serie A is finally added. This is an absolute first, let’s hope it’s successful. In this way, the miserable 10 stickers with the women’s teams on the album find new life from this editorial initiative that we greatly appreciate.
Coupon as always present in each packet, this year with a double use. Not only the Digital Collections but also the return of Calcio Regali and therefore the collection of points. A further effort by Panini that is never taken for granted and therefore a pleasant return.
The Calciatori album has another feature, often unique in the panorama of stickers, its story never ends with a review. There are still many aspects that we will discover during the year, it should be renewed or at least communicated, as we will do on our social pages.
The stickers are much lighter to the touch than last year. A detail that will not go unnoticed, even by the most inattentive collectors. We believe it can be traced back to a Panini choice to keep the costs of the packets unchanged from last year, for the same reason the number of stickers is more limited.
Some have already asked us on past occasions why we don’t refer to the exclusive products of the Panini site. We have rarely done it, we are always on the side of retail, on the side of newsstands which are the heart of the country, they are the point of reference for millions of Italians. They are the Italy we like. Let’s add, for the record, that this year Panini has created 20 extra “cover players” stickers, they are not part of the collection (according to them, go explain it to the “completists” among us ..) things will find a way to be sold in other subsequent releases as well. Very likely they are only Parallels that are so fashionable now (image equal to the classic sticker, perhaps in a silver, gold or even limited edition version).
Everyone is clearly free to spend their savings as they see fit.
We all relaunch the invitation that is emphatically written on the cover “unleash your passion” and above all have fun! Perhaps by joining many other collectors at FIGUCON 2023, Sunday 15 January at Estragon Bologna, a fundamental day also for exchanges and hopefully the possibility of completing one’s albums.