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Swap shop success at Portman Road

PUBLISHED: 15:43 27 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:38 03 March 2010

THEY queued in their droves, ready to swap their duplicate stickers to complete their sticker books – and they left happy.

Hundreds of children and their parents ventured to Ipswich Town's football ground yesterday to take part in the Merlin Swap Shop.

THEY queued in their droves, ready to swap their duplicate stickers to complete their sticker books – and they left happy.

Hundreds of children and their parents ventured to Ipswich Town's football ground yesterday to take part in the Merlin Swap Shop.

The aim was to enable everyone collecting stickers for the official FA Premier League sticker books the chance to get their hands on the footballers that remained elusive from their collection.

They patiently waited from early in the morning, some queuing for more than an hour before they were taken into the Portman Road Galleria where trays of the 428 stickers were laid out on tables.

Some had lists of the stickers they needed, others simply their books with the empty spaces but by the time they had swapped the pictures of footballers many more collections were completed.

Curtis Taylor, eight, eagerly scoured the collection of Manchester United players ready to swap his duplicates for the team members he still needed.

He said he needed a lot of stickers to finish his book but was glad of the opportunity to get his hands on a few more.

"I've been collecting them for four months but I still need loads," he said.

Many young football fans were also hanging around until about 2pm when two of Town's players were due to arrive to sign books and special stickers to stick in the back of their books.

Ross Heppell, 12, had managed to get most of the stickers he still needed and was looking forward to meeting the players.

"I'm hoping to see Matt Holland," he said, " but I don't think he is going to be here. If he comes I will be jumping up and down. I needed about 50 stickers but I've got most of them.

"This is great because it normally takes a year or two for me to finish the book."

The Swap Shop was organised by Merlin who produce the sticker collection. Their visit to Ipswich was just one stop on a tour of ten football grounds in England and Ireland.


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