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12th May 2015

21 Irish football stars’ Premier League careers illustrated in Merlin stickers

From Babb to Townsend

Ben Kiely

Premier League stickers, the only reality where swapping Bosko Balaban for Thierry Henry was considered a fair trade.

We’ve all squandered our entire life savings of pocket money (which usually amounted to a couple of weeks worth) on packets of those priceless little rectangles of paper gold in our youth.

Nothing filled our young hearts with more joy than happening upon a sticker we needed to fill another space in our precious book. It was another small step towards completing the Sisyphean task of filling every empty square in the album.

Although, more often than not we came up short, in the words of Arthur Ashe, “the doing is often more important than the outcome”.

To give you the opportunity to relive the glory days of your childhood, we’ve collated the Merlin stickers of 21 Irish internationals, past and present. There might be a few missing, but that’s just to give you the authentic Premier League sticker book experience.

Roy Keane

The most unsettling grin in football history.

Roy Keane Merlin career

Damien Duff

Varying degrees of seriousness.

Damien Duff Merlin career

Jason McAteer

In the 90s, McAteer was this close to becoming the sixth member of Boyzone. He still holds a grudge against Mikey Graham to this very day.

Jason McAteer Merlin career

Robbie Keane

The only thing that changed down the years was that the jerseys got progressively tighter.

Robbie Keane Merlin career

Richard Dunne

If the pose ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Richard Dunne Merlin career

Clinton Morrison

He almost achieved a serious demeanour in 2004… almost.

Clinton Morrison Merlin career

Dennis Irwin

A haircut you could set your watch to.

Dennis Irwin Merlin career

Gary Doherty

Believe it or not, Gary Doherty was always roughly 35-years-old.

Gary Doherty Merlin career

John O’Shea

When John O’Shea likes a hairstyle, he really commits to it.

John O'Shea Merlin career

Andy Townsend

Forced to leave Villa after the local wildlife began nesting in his mane.

Andy Townsend Merlin career

Kenny Cunningham

Definitive proof that Kenny Cunningham once had a full head of hair.

Kenny Cunningham Merlin career_edited-1

Lee Carsley

Definitive proof that Lee Carsley did not.

Lee Carsley Merlin career

Stephen Carr

Hi fledgling career as a Head & Shoulders model was sadly cut short in 2002.

Stephen Carr Merlin Career

Steve Staunton

Found being back in a Liverpool jersey an incredibly confusing ordeal altogether.

Steve Staunton Merlin Career

Gary Breen

Could never settle on one jersey.

Gary Breen Merlin Career

Shay Given

If you have all of the Lifford man’s stickers, you were probably too old to be buying stickers.

Shay Given Merlin Career

Phil Babb

The gift of the Babb.

Phil Babb Merlin Career

Graham Kavanagh

It’s worth pointing out there’s a decade between these two photos being taken.

Graham Kavanagh Merlin Career

Ian Harte

It took him a solid six seasons to work out the punchline of that joke you told him. He remembered it again at Sunderland.

Ian Harte Merlin Career

Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy had fun once, and it was awful.

Mark Kennedy Merlin Career

Niall Quinn

Just happy to be here.

Niall Quinn Merlin Career

A very special thanks to the wonderful people at Topps Football for supplying the fantastic images.

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