Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Pack(et) A Day: 2007/08 Topps EPL Match Attax

APAD's new contributor, John in England (a.k.a. "jackplumstead"), sent along a care package stuffed with soccer cards. A couple of months ago, I spent two weeks in Ireland looking for some of these things, and was unsuccessful. A couple of months later, some guy in England who I've never met before, sends me a pack of Panini Euro2008, a pack of 2006-07 Magic Box Shoot Out Player Update, five packs of 2007-08 Topps Match Attax, and a Match Attax Fulham team set.

Damn it feels good to be an APAD contributor.

The Hobby over there is a little different than it is over here. For one thing, "sports cards" as we know them in this country don't really exist. There are no autographed cards, no game jersey cards, and no $100 lotto-packs. Instead you'll find a lot of what we had in this country 20 years ago: cheap base sets and Panini stickers.

2007/08 Topps Match Attax is actually a CCG; but despite this, it's pretty comprehensive -- which is more than what you can say about most baseball card sets these days. The set has 360 cards (18 players for each of the 20 EPL teams) with 40 of those (two for each club) designated as "Star Players." Each of the Star Players are printed on foil-board and are short-printed at the rate of 1:2/packs. In addition, there is a sixty-card (three per side) insert called "Man of the Match." MotMs are 1:5/packs.

There's also one other difference -- a big one if you ask me -- between European and American sports cards: cost. Each six-card packet (and that's what they call them over there, "packets") cost only 35p. That's about $0.65US.

Unfortunately, I opened all five packs packets and collated them without duly noting (as I usually do) what each individual pack packet had. So here's what I got in all five:

Base: 29 of 360 (8.06%)
short-set: 28 of 320 (8.75%)
Star Players: 1 of 40 (1:2) S. Bywater
1 Man of the Match (1:5) C. Ronaldo

I received, perhaps, the worst possible Star Player and the best possible MotM insert.

First, the worst: Stephen Bywater started last season as the #1 goalkeeper for newly-promoted Derby County. Derby finished the 2007-08 season with a record of one win, eight draws, 29 losses and a goal differential of -69 -- the worst in the 16-season history of the EPL. Bywater was loaned out to Ipswich Town during the January transfer window, which in footy-speak is the equivalent of being sent down to Triple-A. "Star Player?" Ha!

On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player on the planet. There is no better card to pull out of a pack, errr..., packet of Match Attax than a Man of the Match of Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro.


1 comment:

kevincrumbs said...

Ugh... Ronaldo. You mean the whiner who kept angling for a move to Real Madrid the whole summer only to have to come back to Old Trafford when the whole thing collapsed?

I won't deny that he's really good but it doesn't mean I have to like him.