A Wigan travel firm boss has kicked off the World Cup by finally completing his sticker book from the tournament held 32 years ago.
Dylan Harris, who runs Lupine Travel, was so frustrated at not completing the Panini album from Mexico ‘86 that he decided to track down the remaining stickers.
Sticking to the age-old rule of collecting that money should not change hands and that teams can only be completed through swapping duplicates, Dylan went to great lengths to find all the players in the book.
And after several years of searching Dylan got his hands on the final player he needed, French third-choice goalkeeper Albert Rust.
However, he admits to being somewhat bemused by the amount of attention his quest has attracted from journalists looking for quirky football-related stories before the action in Russia begins.
Dylan said: “Every time a World Cup comes around I’d always get out my old Panini sticker albums to look through.
“Every time I would get a little bit more annoyed that I never managed to finish the Mexico 86 one. So a few years back I decided to set myself a challenge and see if I could track the remaining few stickers down.
“It took several more years but I managed to do it. A 32-year itch was finally scratched! I put it on Twitter as a bit of a laugh, but I had no idea that it would go end up going viral.
“I woke up one morning last week to find David Ginola talking about me on the radio which was totally surreal.
“I’ve had French journalists getting in touch as well asking me questions about Albert Rust, the French third goalkeeper who was the last sticker I tracked down.”
Dylan announced his achievement on social media with the light-hearted comment: “Today marks the end of a long, tiring and emotional 32 year journey. I finally completed Mexico 86.”
The remark struck a chord with nostalgic fans of the beautiful game with Dylan being asked to post pages from his old albums to give football enthusiasts a trip down memory lane.
Fellow Panini album enthusiasts may want to start consulting their hoards of spares as Dylan also posted on social media that his dad still has the book from the 1970 World Cup, by coincidence also held in Mexico, which requires 210 stickers to fill it.