Fan Finds He’s Six Stickers Short Of Completing His 1996 Premier League Merlin Album, Tracks Down Every Missing Player And Takes Their Photograph

Chris Wright

19th, November 2013


By Chris Wright


This ‘ere be the tale of Adam Carroll-Smith, a 29-year-old football fan from Portsmouth who recently found his old 1996 Merlin Premier League sticker album while rooting around in his loft.

Of course, Adam stopped whatever he was doing and began to leaf through, and it was during said perusal that he recalled that his 12-year-old self had come perilously close to completing the entire album, with just six stickers left unaccounted for: Stuart Ripley and Lars Bohinen (both Blackburn), Philippe Albert (Newcastle), Keith Curle (Man City), Scott Minto (Chelsea) and Gary Penrice (QPR)…


(And, yes, before the pendants out there get their danders up, we know that’s a 1994-issue Gary Penrice. You try finding a ’96 Gary Penrice at this ungodly hour!)

Anyway, deciding that this would never do, Carroll-Smith decided there and then that he was going to complete his album come hell or high water.

However, he didn’t take the coward’s way out and simply take to Ebay to source his missing stickers, oh no. Instead, he decided that, in his words, “a great wrong had to be righted” and hatched a plan to track down all six ex-pros in person, take their photographs and then stick them into the vacant spaces in his book.

The four English players proved fairly ease to source but it took two cross-channel excursions for Carroll-Smith to hunt down Phillipe Albert, who now works in the fruit and vegetable trade in Belgium and Lars Bohinen, who is currently appearing on the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing.

After six months of intermittent graft, Carroll-Smith finally completed his album with the photos you see above you, though he chose not to frame it and hang it above the mantelpiece, but to rather give his White Whale a dignified Viking burial.

That’s right; he chucked it in the Solent at Southsea.

“It was a cathartic experience,” he told the BBC. “My wife and I have just had our first child, so this was a symbolic way of showing I’d grown up.

“The sticker album was then and this is now.”

*Golf applause*

(Image: BBC Hampshire)

Posted in Newsnow, Retro

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  1. Ross says:

    I remember sitting in my dinner hall at primary school and my cousin coming running over and handing me ‘Mike Hooper’, the NUFC keeper at the time…needed it to complete one of the albums, 94/95/96, can’t remember which one…what a relief it was to get it though! :D

  2. Ive a little keith curl in my pants says:

    Surely keeping it as some symbolic memento of “never giving up” or “pursue things till the end” would have been a better hand-me-down to his kid, along with the story of what his old man did before he was born..?

    PS: Philip Albert looks RIDICULOUS without his ‘tasche.
    PPS: I thought everyone had enough Lars Bohinen’s in their swaps to fill a hole in a dyke.
    PPPS: *fnarf*

  3. Kay says:

    Lars Bohinen is now the manager of Sandefjord in the norwegian equivalent to the Championship.

  4. Dusty says:

    Don’t like to moan, I know you folks don’t run this site out of charity, but the amount of different types of ads has been really off-putting recently.

    This is the sticker album I left out in the rain in my garden. Breaks my heart all over again to see it :'(

  5. ad says:

    Agree – when accessing by mobile ads become over bearing!

  6. Ali says:

    I dont mind the ads because i understand the business side of things, but i hate it when i have multiple Piers articles open and then the ads make noise and i cant turn it off without closing the tab.

  7. Javier says:

    Guys, if the ads are that much of a bother, use Adblock plus.

  8. patblue says:

    Just install an ad BLOCKER…

  9. syndex says:

    surely the sentence “Phillipe Albert, who now works in the fruit and vegetable trade in Belgium” requires a story of its own, for some reason in my mind I Albert’s rather chubby visage being set on by Peter Schmichel (you try spelling it)and being given a sound thrashing with a stick of celery the only clue to his vengeance being the faint smell of excellent bacon.

  10. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I’m sorry. Did I miss something? He tossed it all into the ocean? If so, am I wrong to think that is pretty lame?

  11. Per says:

    “That’s right; he chucked it in the Solent at Southsea.”

    …and how long did it take for him to start regretting that decision?

  12. tim says:

    Please can you squeeze another advert on the page.

  13. Straight Dave says:

    I can’t understand why he didn’t already have Stuart Ripley.. I remember having bloody hundreds of stickers with him on!

  14. Jurgen says:

    What a complete cock that man is.

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