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Sticky business: Strangest Palace stickers revealed...

19 May 2019

Last season, the Crystal Palace programme delved into the history (sticker)books to pluck out some of the strangest and most eye-catching of football stickers with a Palace star featured. Below, we've selected the top 10.

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Phil Hoadley - FKS Wonderful World of Soccer 1971

Football in the 1970s was a completely different time. Kids would be encouraged to glue the stickers into the album themselves, and smoking was prevalent in changing rooms across the land. This blasé attitude to tobacco saw centre-back Phil Hoardley captured with a sly cigarette in his hand as posed for this particular picture, probably not knowing it would later be used in a sticker collection.

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Phil Hoadley - FKS Wonderful World of Soccer 1972

However Hoardley, who played for the club for five years between 1967 and 1972, must have known what he was doing when he took part in the club’s photocall, puffing away on a fag before his picture was taken. He must have been under the impression that a spot of cropping would take place for his headshot, but for the second year in a row, the makers of this album had other ideas.

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Willie Wallace – Panini Top Sellers ‘72

Taking a good photo of a footballer isn’t a difficult job. Got them in a pristine home shirt? Check. Asked them to go down on one knee? Sorted. A nice amount of grass in the background? You bet. Get them to look at the camera? Whoops. Willie Wallace was obviously distracted by something in his vicinity here, but surely the photographer took another image than this?!

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Iain Phillip – Top Sellers Football ‘74

It’s amazing how much hair has been squeezed into this sticker. Scottish defender Iain Phillip spent a couple of years at Selhurst Park but not long after this collection had come out, he had returned north of the border. However, his flowing locks would be immortalised with this sticker. Perhaps taking his headshot pre-match with a gale blowing wasn’t the best idea.

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Steve Kember – Panini  1980

In a pre-digital camera age it was always frustrating to get your family photos back from the developers and find that your cherished shot has been photobombed or you’d blinked at just the wrong time. This sticker featuring club legend Steve Kember manages to achieve both, with Gerry Francis unwittingly standing on his shoulder during the club’s annual photocall.

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John Salako - Panini English Football 1992

By the early 1990s, upstarts Merlin were hot on the heels of Panini, and when you look at the quality of the imagery that the established Italian company were using, you can see why. Instead of an action shot of John Salako racing down the wing, they picked one where he was forced to don the dismissed Nigel Martyn’s goalkeeper jersey against AFC Wimbledon in August 1991.

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John Salako and Anna Walker – Merlin Premier League 94

This was the first collection that Merlin produced for the fledgling Premier League, breathing new life into a genre that had been on the decline during the late 1980s. However, they caved to commercial pressures and handed Sky Sports a two-page spread featuring six stickers, one of which featured Salako in garish 90s sportswear alongside his Goals on Sunday co-presenter Anna Walker.

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Palace home shirt – Merlin Premier League 95

Shinys were always the most sought-after sticker in the playground, sometimes commanding a truckload's worth of swaps in return, however we doubt those kind of offers were coming in for this one. A poorly cut-out Palace home shirt - evidently being worn at the time by someone that it didn’t fit – was a disappointing fate for one of the club’s most famous jerseys.

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Owen Garvan – Panini Championship 2011

Fair play to Panini for trying to highlight the talent in the second tier by featuring club’s international players prominently, but their researchers got this one wrong. Overlooking the likes of Claude Davis, Steffen Iversen, Lewis Price, Jermaine Easter and even Edgar Davids, they opted for Owen Garvan, who had won the last of his Republic of Ireland Under-21 caps the year before this album came out.

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Keith Millen – Topps Premier League 2014

Trying to keep information up-to-date is always a nightmare for an editor, so when Ian Holloway left his post as Palace boss early in the 2013/14 campaign, Topps had to scramble. Replacing him with his assistant Keith Millen was an understandable move, but when the album came out in January with Tony Pulis well-established in his new role, it just looked odd.

SEE ALSO: Wallpaper Wednesday: Download stunning Speroni background here!

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