The five stages of grief while filling in your World Cup 2022 sticker album

YOU’RE considering doing a Panini World Cup 2022 album even though this tournament barely counts. What stage of grieving have you reached? 


I’m just buying a few packs for fun, like when I was a boy in 1986 and I got Peter Shilton, Chris Waddle and Trevor Francis all in one pack for 8p. I’m not going to get the whole album or anything, not what they cost these days. It’s just a little bit of harmless nostalgia, that’s all.


I buy ten packs and I get 35 f**king swaps? And six of them are Hassan Al-Haydos? This is bollocks. I only did it because Steve in estimating’s got an album and he said it was filling up no problem. The only England player I’ve got is Harry Maguire. And apparently I have to get 670? Why did I do this? What’s wrong with me?


Steve says he hasn’t got a spare Jack Grealish but he has got a Karim Benzema which he’ll swap for my Kento Hashimoto then I could trade Benzema for Grealish with Jay down the pub, but apparently Hashimoto’s really rare? And I’d be better swapping it for Neymar with Chris then I could swap Neymar for Schär for Messi for Grealish?


I can’t believe how much this has cost me. I’ve sunk £600 quid into this f**king album and it’s still not finished, and my wife’s asked why I’ve been seen going into WH Smith on weekday afternoons. If she checks the joint account I’m in real trouble. It’s not even about football anymore. I just need to complete the Canadian men’s team to fill the hole inside.


The World Cup ended three months ago and I’ve still got 60 stickers to get. I’m never going to do it. I’ve got 65 copies of Alexander Dominguez and he didn’t even make Ecuador’s squad. This was a waste of time, of money and of my one life on this Earth. Now I remember why I couldn’t look at Glenn Hoddle for years without clenching my fists. I’ll never do it again until 2024.

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How to brace yourself for checking your bank balance

THINKING of checking how little money you have? Prepare yourself for the shock, trauma and grief with these tips: 

Set low expectations

Make a conservative estimate of your financial situation. Now cut it in half. Now deduct an additional £100 for every moment that gave you joy over the last month, to account for all the takeaways, eBay purchases and little well-deserved treats. It’s harder to be disappointed when you assume you have f**k all.

Have a plan of action

The process of checking your bank balance should run like a military operation. Don’t just saunter in. You need to have checked and quit so fast you’re only seeing the figure as a retinal afterimage  to minimise the shock of how poor you are. Ideally it will be days, if not weeks, until you can comprehend it.

Surround yourself with loved ones

Looking at your balance is an emotional ordeal, so surround yourself with friends and family. Don’t let them look at the screen; postition them on the other side of the laptop so they can only read your dire financial situation through your face. They’ll treat you to a meal for being so brave, and God knows you deserve it.

Ignore the minus sign

Covering up the minus sign turns a overdraft from a harbinger of ruin into a respectable fortune. A piece of carefully-placed masking tape should do the trick, or use your thumb if caught short. If the number still makes you sad, draw an extra couple of zeroes on the end.

Put it off

Preparation is vital. You don’t want to endanger your mental wellbeing by casually looking at it after a bank-breaking night out at Wetherspoons, where you had three drinks. Instead, put it off for a day, a week or a fortnight, to give it time to heal naturally. Ideally you should only look at your balance when payday then swear off it for a month.