Match Attax are not Topps

the dreaded binder

What do Man of the Match, Hundred Club and Limited Edition have in common?

They’re the only answer I ever get these days to questions like –

“How was school today?”
“What did you do for lunch play today?”
“What did you choose for Golden Time this afternoon?”

Match Attax cards seemed quite innocuous when Ben first mentioned them. Blog Fodder reassured my nagging misgivings with persuasive arguments like -

“They have to swap cards, so they learn to negotiate; they talk to each other about the players, so they’re communicating; the cards are sport-related, so they might one day do the thing they’re talking about…”

I have spent time trying to learn my John Terrys from my Joe Coles, and I was beginning to have limited success. But then I had to move on to names like Fabregas and Anelka.

Not only do I have to remember them, I’m cruelly mocked if I don’t know which one is Limited Edition and which is Man of the Match.

“And is a Man of the Match a Hundred Club as well, or not?” I ask, keen to show an interest in my son’s new hobby.

“Mu-um, if he’s as good as (insert one of many names I never quite get) then of course he’s going to be a Hundred Club.”
And this explanation is generally followed by a silent but withering look, before Ben turns to his father – now basking in the glow of an admiring son who likes football.

I suppose it was inevitable that at some point my little boy would abandon his Mum in favour of his football-cricket-rugby-anything-with-a-ball-crazy Dad. But did it have to be while he was still living in the same house as me?

When I was growing up Grandstand was sacrosanct on Saturday afternoons. Ever since, I have always associated the theme tune with having to sit quietly “or go and play outside, Grandstand’s on.”
I was determined not to live with a sports nut, and for many years I managed it. In fact I achieved this one small ambition with all my boyfriends – except the one I decided to settle down and have children with.

This may add weight to the theories of those who claim we all seek out the familiarity of childhood relationships when picking a life partner.
But what it means for me is that Saturday afternoons are again a no-go area.

Grandstand may have sprinted to a happy commentary box in the sky, but sport still colonises our low-tech, 4-TV-channel house. And I have to be out, or in another room if I am to avoid two people – one large and one small – yelling at the telly and comparing notes on the progress of their favourite teams.

My one consolation is the fast-approaching end of the football season. This will see off the Saturday night version of Blog Fodder when his team has lost (make that most Saturday nights), and it will also see the end of this season’s Match Attax.

You’d think this would also mean the end of my football education.
But no.
Ben the football fan has now given way to Ben the entrepreneur.

He is insisting that I help him to sell each card, one at a time, on e-bay.

So I now spend my evenings typing names like Fabregas and Anelka, together with detailed descriptions of their match status, rarity and mint condition.

There must be a reward waiting somewhere – even for a non-believer.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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9 Responses to Match Attax are not Topps

  1. Emma says:

    “My one consolation is the fast-approaching end of the football season.”… In your dreams, Cathy.
    The climax of the football season includes the FA Cup (semis and final) as well as league play-offs. Even if YOUR club isn’t featured, these are still major, major debating points. So, now we’ve reached mid-May. Ah, you think, quiet until August. Don’t you believe it. For a start, you have the glitz and glamour of the Muratti. Then there are pre-season training camps to follow and of course there’s bound to be some kind of transfer window, loan period, buying and selling spree; plus a few managers move around the chess board; “crucial” injury news upon which to reflect in an expert fashion and before you know it, it’s the Charity Shield and then we start all over again. Sorry to disappoint…

  2. Kari says:

    Or you could have what I have – a constantly rotating series of Boston teams: Celtics and Patriots and Red Sox. And the luck that since I have been going with my boy friend they have been constant top contenders. And this year he said “Maybe I will start watching the Bruins. They’re doing really well this year.” and I said “Oh god no. Not Hockey. Can’t we have one sport we don’t watch?”

    So instead he is into professional wrestling. But at least that’s amusing. Go Triple H! Ah well – at least he doesn’t yell at the TV.

  3. Beta Mum says:

    Emma – you are horribly well-informed. It must be your new i-phone.

    Kari – the only wrestler’s name I know is Big Daddy. And Blog Fodder tells me his first name was really Shirley.

  4. jimmy says:

    Hi, i love your post and is it very true of about 99% of children who love collecting things, they nearly all move onto the next fad before completing the present one, but throughmy own experiences and those of my son he can now collect cards at very little or no cost to myself. A hobby that pays for itself and with match attax, yu-gi-oh and pokemon cards easily available now through the internet and selling duplicate cards on e-bay we have even made some money :D
    thanks jimmy

  5. I have girls so we haven’t has this pleasure yet…

    My daughter is a great Go-Go trader. I saw her in the playground trading with the boys. A chip of the old block, she it!

  6. Highlighting your blog on British Mummy Bloggers this week…

  7. Oh god, we’re there too!
    I’ve had to write a list of all the players he needs and driven him 25 miles to our nearest Entertainer toy store where they do swop hours.
    I have a 100 Club double if you’re looking for a swop . . . !

  8. Claire says:

    Hi there,
    Sassy site! Just want to invite you to join a new social networking
    community…it’s global…mainly women from Australia & USA right now but wanting more from UK, Europe & Asia…join us at
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  9. Beta Mum says:

    Jimmy – Ben has made a bit of cash, but I find selling stuff on e-bay is so much trouble that the pennies I make seem hardly worth the endless packing, queuing at the post office and answering queries. I must be doing something wrong.

    AMM – My 2 have now moved on to Go-Gos. Ben has managed to trade all Hannah’s best Go-Gos into his own pockets.
    Thanks for the mention.

    Tara – Swap hours? OMG! I guess the population of Jersey isn’t big enough to sustain that kind of malarkey.

    Claire – thanks, will pop over and check it out.

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